Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (HarperCollins Children's Books, 25 February 2016)
To appreciate just how blown away I was by RADIO SILENCE, you may need to revisit the review I wrote about a year ago for SOLITAIRE, Oseman’s debut novel. I couldn’t figure out how I felt about that book at all. I wasn’t sure if I actually liked it—I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, I thought it was boring, I thought it was vaguely interesting. It was bizarre. But I did think highly of Oseman’s writing and I was hopeful that one day she might write a book that appealed to me more. And you know what? She did it right away, with her second book. RADIO SILENCE is just the most exhilarating and gripping roller coaster of emotions about a podcast (!!!), and I know exactly how I feel about it: I love it, 100%.
Meet Frances Janvier.
I was going to Cambridge, and I was going to get a good job and earn lots of money, and I was going to be happy.
Frances is in Year 12. She’s Head Girl at school and she does brilliantly in exams. She’s not good at or interested in much else—but she’s secretly a huge fan of this podcast called Universe City. Nobody knows who the anonymous Creator of the podcast is, but Frances posts fanart of the podcast on her Tumblr, and one day, the Creator messages her to ask her if she would like to work with them to produce art for the podcast. Frances is of course overjoyed. But soon she realises that the Creator is actually someone she’s met in real life: Aled Last, the twin brother of Carys Last, a girl Frances used to be friends with before Carys ran away a few years ago. Aled is a high achiever like Frances, a year older than her and headed for an elite university. Frances and Aled become friends very quickly, but when the podcast goes viral, their friendship is tested. After Aled goes off to university, Frances and Aled are even more isolated from each other and Frances doesn’t know what to do when Aled seems to be slipping away. But it all seems to come back to one thing: Carys, and what happened to make her run away.