Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Alice Oseman
Frances Janvier has her whole life figured out. She spends all of her time studying and participating in student government, not because she particularly wants to, but because she knows it would look good on university applications. She also has a secret: she is majorly obsessed with an obscure YouTube podcast called Universe City. When the creator asks her if she would like to collaborate with him for the show, she thinks that it will totally change her life. Little does she know that the creator of Universe City is not a distant internet presence—he’s someone she has met before. Consequently, Frances and the creator’s relationship soon develops beyond just collaboration for the show. They become close friends, and their friendship allows Frances to discover her true self, separate from the person she is at school. But being friends with this boy has its complications. She never guessed how tortured he could be or how spending time with him could unsettle her perfect life plan so completely.
Author Alice Oseman does not flinch away from working with diverse and complex characters. Her characters are flawed in believable ways, and most display personal evolution as a result of the events of the story. Also, the book features people of color as main and supporting characters. The characters also have a variety of sexual orientations, and these orientations are discussed in open and uncompromising ways. Rather than writing diverse characters in order to exploit their differences for plot points, Oseman respectfully and honestly writes about their diversity. Fans of young adult writers Rainbow Rowell or John Green may enjoy this book. Radio Silence is an especially impressive book in its modernity. The writing features text chains between characters, tweets, and posts on Tumblr. These details could make the writing less accessible to readers that are not millennials, but it adds a certain value to the story. Though the experiences with technology and social media may not be universal to all readers, the internal conflicts are still the same.
*Contains severe language and mild sexual content.