Teen Book Review: Radio Silence

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Teen Book Review: Radio Silence

Sophia Hackett, MBSYEP employee, writes about identity and friendship in her review of this contemporary YA novel

Review written by Sophia Hackett, 2020 MBSYEP Employee

Alice Oseman’s Radio Silence is about a teenager named Frances, who is high achieving and convinced her future lies in academics, even though she has a passion for art and doesn’t care for going to university. She’s obsessed with a science fiction podcast, then coincidentally meets the creator of said podcast. Radio Silence follows their friendship, as well as Frances’s struggle to find out what she wants to do after high school.

The book has strong themes of friendship and self-identity. Frances struggles to make friends at school because she is seen as a purely academic person, when in reality she’s just a regular teenager. After she meets Aled, the creator of the podcast, she finally has a friendship in which she feels truly like herself. For once, she has someone that she relates to and who knows her well.

The way in which friendship is depicted throughout the book is accurate and realistic. Frances and Aled are not perfect, nor is their friendship. There are many raw moments in the book where their friendship gets rocky, which ended up making the book feel much more real. Too often, best friends in the media are portrayed as perfect people who understand each other completely. They never fight or get into misunderstandings. This book doesn’t do that. Despite them being close friends, their relationship is not perfect and things still go wrong.

The story was personally relatable, as I too have struggled with self-identity and finding people with whom I can be my true self. I think that these are pretty common problems for people my age, which is why I would recommend it to other high schoolers. The themes of friendship are also relatable, and at many points in the book I found myself comparing my experiences with friends to what Frances and Aled were going through. The book shows that friendships are not perfect, but they are worth sticking around for.

Radio Silence’s message is that it’s okay to not know who you are or what you want to do. I think that’s a powerful message, especially for teenagers who have to make important decisions regarding where they want to go to college and what they want to study. The book shows that school is not everything, and there are many options out there for what to do with your life.

Place a hold on a physical copy, audio CD, eBook, or audiobook of Radio Silence.