Author: Alice Oseman
Published: expected March 28 2017
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying.
Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As.
You probably think that they are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and she is a girl.
They don’t. They make a podcast.
In a world determined to shut them up, knock them down, and set them on a cookie cutter life path, Frances and Aled struggle to find their voices over the course of one life-changing year. Will they have the courage to show everyone who they really are? Or will they be met with radio silence?
A rather generic YA contemporary despite taking pains to be different, Radio Silence was my introduction to Alice Oseman. Though I have friends who have loved and recommend her first novel Solitaire, I can easily admit I was alternatively bored and disappointed by her second. The premise of it is rather good (nerds! Awkward friendship!) and the bare bones are interesting and reminiscent of Fangirl but... it all felt empty and I didn't emotionally connect to any of it.
Fandom and friendship are big themes for the diverse cast but Frances's first-person narration feels distant and disjointed from the outset. I can read and invest in a story for the character or for a creative plot/world but in contemporary novels it's hard to be truly engaged when the narrator doesn't connect. I wanted to love Frances -- I loved that her story wasn't the expected path for a contemporary novel with a girl MC and a boy playing secondary. I also loved the wide array of representation in the cast: admitted bisexuality in a MC! PoC make up a bulk of the secondary cast! Demisexual character! So while I loved those fantastic, inclusive parts of Radio Silence ... Frances herself felt hollow and her story is way way too long.