my very first Alice Oseman! soft & awkward characters falling in (platonic) love: “Radio Silence”

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Radio Silence

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances is been a study machine with one goal. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside. Then Frances meets Aled, and for the first time she’s unafraid to be herself.

So when the fragile trust between them is broken, Frances is caught between who she was and who she longs to be. Now Frances knows that she has to confront her past. To confess why Carys disappeared…

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

Engaging with themes of identity, diversity and the freedom to choose, Radio Silence is a tor de force by the most exciting writer of her generation.

[Goodreads]

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“And I’m platonically in love with you.”

I feel v guilty about how long it’s taken me to talk about this book, because I finished it in two days & let me say I was put through the emotional turmoil of my life. I both adored and hated these characters! (excluding Frances, she is the one person I loved entirely & without any disappointment.)

So my review is basically going to be a rant about how beautiful platonic love truly is, how much I relate to Frances, and what a complex jerk Aled turned out to be.

IN OTHER WORDS IT IS A PARTY AND YOU’RE INVITED c:

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plot

High school student Frances fulfills the “studying forever” niche and school is her entire life (high school me, those wholesome days before school killed my soul); but she doesn’t actually *like* academics. When she’s with friends she feels alienated, as if she’s tolerating the people she’s supposed to enjoy. She using them so she doesn’t sit alone at lunch, let’s call it what it is.

But as far as close, dear relationships???? *loses control* DOE, A DEER, A FEMALE DEER all she has is her mohm (which is not a bad thing because her her mom is extremely cool! Another example of books ft. awesome parents, which i want to make an entire post about, because not all book characters are adult-fearing orphans?).

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Her one major passion in life is a YouTube podcast called Universe City & she draws fan art and listens to every show. She’s launched to my level of fangirling! SHE’S REACHED THIS PEAK? except I have no talent whatsoever, i’m actually failing my college drawing course pls comfort me

Then she meets Aled, the boy who lives across the street. They relate to one another hard and become friends! Some would even sayyyyy………*best* friends, but woagh let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  They never outright call one another best friend????? which disappointed me almost to the point of outrage.

BUT they redeemed everything when Aled announces “I’m platonically in love with you” & “I feel like you are me” or Frances says “you’re the closest friend I’ve ever had.”

fan art from tumblr!

But my absolute favorite part of this plot = it’s not a romance whatsoever. Instead, it’s the story of two people developing a deep platonic bond,,,,,,,,even if Aled continuously screws up said bond. BUT IT’S OKAY. Because I got my platonic love rep and I wish that more books gave me this, i’ve been STARVED for books like this.

(Sales Pitch: why can’t google include a “best friend” category whenever you google someone. For instance, whenever you google a celebrity, we get their age, height, spouse, parents, sibling…..but where ON EARTH is the category for their best friend??? This is important information that we’re lacking, due to google’s outright disregard of friendship. These are the real issues we need to bravely face.)

(this is not a spoiler) When Aled turns out to be the creator of Universe City, it means Frances + Aled’s friendship is threatened because Aled is mean person sometimes. 

What follows is a soft story about teens learning their place in the world & how to build genuine relationships.

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characters

Frances 

MY GIRL Frances is awkward & a people-pleaser & doesn’t know how to be herself in social situations. I have never felt more connected to a character in my life. The resemblance between us was uncanny.

Frances is also v quick to blame herself for things that are actually not her fault at all. She’s loyal, secretly a giant geek, and invests her energy into building a platonic bond w a boy!!!!! Frances outright says that she doesn’t get involved romantically w Aled, but their relationship is just as intense as any romance.

Also, Frances is a biracial & bisexual. This filled my heart w joy, bc I haven’t read this representation in a female character. my small heart?????? it was cause for celebration & triumph.

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Aled 

I’m not here to drag Aled through the cold wintry snow, thus making his face uncomfortably cold & unattractive and exacting my revenge for how he treats Frances. That’s absolutely not what’s happening. In fact, I’m going to start with positive things about him!

✨ He’s gay! One of the best things a person can be.

✨ He’s demisexual! THIS REP IS SO RARE??????? I search high and low for my demi rep, and Aled launches into an entire explanation of what it means???????? My cheeks hurt from how much I smiled during this scene.

✨He’s got a beautiful mind! He writes & produces a popular lowkey podcast. & just when I thought I was impressed, he whips out a guitar! and performs the ending song. + even though he’s a prince of talent, he’s humble and very sweet.

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But even though Aled kind of special, he’s a crap friend to Frances & a crap boyfriend to Daniel. There’s a scene toward the end in which he insults and demeans Frances for things she hasn’t done??? and he never apologizes for the shitty things he says to her.

Frances, however, is constantly apologizing and asking for forgiveness, even though she’s an innocent angel. 

Then, his poor Korean boyfriend, Daniel, is given the seemingly indifferent shoulder 24/7???????? I understand that Aled is awkward af. But the way he treats his loved ones made me want to….spring forward and push him into the pool of disappointment. Aled cannot blame being an introvert/being scared/having a tragic childhood when he’s actively being mean & disrespectful & an asshole.

Frances and Daniel let him get away with a lot of drama & I would’ve been over it a LONG time ago. I’m just trying to hold onto my platonic rep and it’s become very hard because of Aled but i just have to keep trying when life gets rough, and say that i’m fine.

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overall

Even though Aled was annoying sometimes, and broke my heart, I mostly loved his relationship with Frances. I wish they would’ve explicitly acknowledged that they were one another’s best friend!!!!!! But they are still a cute platonic couple.

I can’t wait to read more Alice Oseman, I hope the friendships stay strong????????

Final Verdict:

four stars

TW: emotional & physical abuse (parent/child), death of a dog

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Do you love Alice Oseman?

What is your favorite book ft. soft, awkward characters?

Do you have a character that you both hate and love?

-malanie

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30 thoughts on “my very first Alice Oseman! soft & awkward characters falling in (platonic) love: “Radio Silence”

  1. Nimika @ wordhaven says:

    I read Radio Silence last month and it was my first Alice Oseman book, too, so high five on that sis.
    This is such a great review, I love you x infinity for actually expressing all these feelings so perfectly, I was just nodding my head throughout the entire thing.
    This book was SUCH a breath of fresh air. It’s truly a rare gem in the YA contemporary because it’s just,,, nothing like anything we’ve had before?? Everything in this book felt so real while reading it, like there’s no romanticization of reality and the characters are awkward and the way they talk and text is just. Real.
    The platonic love is the best thing about this book because OH MY GOD THE SOFTNESS, I CANT. I mean, just the thought of these two soft & awkward kids in their outrageously fashionable wardobe, hanging out in their bedrooms and making nerdy podcasts,,,,, im done™.
    I also ADORED the concept of Universe City. The whole goddamn creation of an indie podcast about a guy lost in a city overrun by monsters with no one knowing anything about the anonymous creator and all of it being one huge metaphor for a boy struggling w scary problems = me SOBBING.
    I just,,, really hate how the book made me feel SO ANXIOUS in the end. I was simultaneously mad and scared and also wanted to punch someone.
    Also, all of Alice Oseman’s covers are so beautiful and pastel and aesthetic, she’s winning that contemporary cover completion (that I just made up).

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      ldkfgj i’m so happy u loved Radio Silence tooooo + this review, reading it was such an Experience and I had no idea i’d love it this much and yet here we are ❤ it just felt SO REAL and i was like, yus this is how ppl really act when they're ///fundamentally awkward like me/// ALICE OSEMAN IS A TRUE GENIUS

      & When Francis hug tackled him at their Camping Adventure??? DEAR GOD IT WAS SO SWEET AND CUTE c: it hit me directly in my heart

      also their fashion choices were so PURE, i’m just *smiling fondly* as I write this bc they only wore their nerdy clothes around each other??? LIKE BEST FRIENDS &&& that was so special

      and agreed sm,,,Universe City was SO SAD but also so amazing, he put his entire soul into this podcast and I want to listen to the entire thing !!!! then when he *incorporated* her into the podcast?????? GOSH, IT WAS LIKE A PLATONIC MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. I nearly fell down. It was so intense

      sdkfljsldkjf I was so anxious in the end because “””””aled wtf??””””. He has sm trouble understanding how to be vulnerable w other people and it was so AWKWARD and SAD. looking at Alice Oseman book covers is the only way to recover, what a gift to us alllllll c: c: c:

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marie says:

    Ahh I’m so happy you read and enjoyed this book! It is one of my favorites and Alice Oseman is one of my favorite authors just as well. I can’t wait for you to read more from her ❤ ❤ Wonderful review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. may says:

    YOUR REVIEWS MAKE ME SO HAPPY!!! ugh can you like write a post on how to write exceptionally eloquent and entertaining, thoughtful reviews bc i need help

    i RELATED so much to frances as well. awkward and quiet and confused and not sure about what to do with my life?? wow this is a complete call out. i loved her passion for art and how REAL of a character she was gahh i love complex characters

    I SO AGREE about aled, he was tragic and scared and my heart hurt for him but he did and said some really awful stuff and i understand how alice oseman made his character flawed but frances and daniel deserved better

    I’M GLAD YOU ENJOYED IT THOUGH and i hope your future reads turn out to be amazing bc you deserve it ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      ahhh May??????? U HAVE MADE ME CRY BECAUSE ILY ❤ ❤ i'm going to carry this comment in my pocket and reread it whenever i'm v sad because it is literal pure happiness

      Frances was such a people pleaser, to the point where she forgot how to make herself fulfilled w life as a unique person and I DEMAND compensation bc Alice Oseman has copyrighted my personality.

      + u are so right, Aled was v scared of basically the whole world, except for Frances & Daniel. and then he somehow managed to screw up his relationship w them??????? and shut them out? i feel bad bc he isolated himself from all love BUT FRANCES REFUSED TO ACCEPT IT AT ALL and my heart was physically glowing?????? i want my very own Frances to nurture and hug dailyyyyyy

      + TYSM WHY ARE YOU SO AMAZING I JUST LOVE YOUUU

      Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      it’s the same with me, i haven’t read Alice’s other books but now I want to so much???? especially “I Was Born For This” everyone says it’s v cute c: c: c: also yes Frances is just a little precious DEAR and i want to befriend her

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dezzy @ The Thoughtful Voice says:

    wonderful review, malanie!! i’m glad you enjoyed radio silence overall. i related a lot to frances as well, haha :’) (and i agree, aled was a bit of a jerk at times…) i liked radio silence, but i absolutely LOVED alice oseman’s newest book, i was born for this!! 🧡 i hope you’ll love that as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    I love love love this book, and I also related to Frances SO HARD! It’s so rare to find books that portray platonic relationships as special and important as romantic ones, so this book is truly a gem. Now that you’ve read this, I hope you read all of Alice Oseman’s other books! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      ahhhh yay i’m so happy i read one of your favorites?????? reading other people’s favorite books is my favorite thing bc if it’s someone’s favorite, it has a strong change of being amazing and enjoyable ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ &&&& I NEED MORE ALICE OSEMAN STAT

      Like

  6. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I haven’t read any of Alice Oseman’s books but I have them all on my TBR list (I really want to read Heartstopper first because that looks like such a cute story), I’ve heard good things about Radio Silence from pretty much everyone who’s read it and that now includes you! 😀
    Already just based on your review Frances is a character I relate to so so much; I’m awkward and a people-pleaser and I don’t know how to be myself in social situations. Already I love her, but oh the fact that Aled is such a bad friend kind of sucks, seems like there was a good friendship in this book despite that though.
    I’m glad you enjoyed this book, I really want to try and get around to it soon, great review Malanie. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • malanielovesfiction says:

      oh gosh i want to read Heartstopper toooooo!!!! everyone says it’s SO SOFT and I read a sample on Alice Osemans tumblr and it truly was v cute c: c: c:

      + watching Frances attempt to make friends was so sweet and sad,, bc she both wants to be close to people, but literally doesn’t know how?????? & OH GOD, THIS IS MY LIFE.

      + I think Aled tries to redeem himself, bc he assumes everyone hates bc he’s a jerk, so at LEAST he’s self-aware XD

      ++tysm beth ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

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