Realism is not my cup of tea. It isn’t that I don’t like it but rather that I haven’t experienced the genre further than the popularity of The Fault In Our Stars or The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. I know that after this read I will try to push myself further into its direction.
I picked this novel because of the numerous things I have heard about both Alice Oseman’s Solitare and her Radio Silence. The cover also partly influenced my decision; the shadowy face contrasting with the bright colors made it look rather intriguing.
Radio Silence is by no way Shakespeare but follows its Young Adult core. Even though I have criticized many novels for being too ‘mainstream’ whilst trying to cater for a teenage audience, Radio Silence is somehow far from it. The words may be simple and the pacing may be fast like traditional teenage literature, but Oseman somehow transforms an overused style into something new. By sticking close to being realistic, the words and the voice and the dialogue are all very real. I am yet to find one blip, one stone, where it becomes apparent that instead of Frances writing it is obviously Oseman. There is dialect and slang and culture references I know I, a teenager, would only understand. The obvious aim at young adults doesn’t bother me as much as I know it should. It doesn’t matter that I know the novel may not make much sense come 100 years because this simpleness in voice and words creates something very easy for me to lose oneself in, and a fiction that seems realer than reality.
That isn’t saying that the words aren’t far from it. The author, creates something great in few words, much like popular authors like David Almond or Julie Berry. Radio Silence is very quotable through its simplicity and exploration of its many important themes.
“I wonder sometimes whether you’ve exploded already, like a star, and what I’m seeing you is three million years into the past, and you’re not here anymore. How can we be together here, now, when you are so far away. When you are so far ago? I’m shouting so loudly, but you never turn around to see me. Perhaps it is I who have already exploded. Either way, we are going to bring beautiful things into the universe.”
Which leads me to my next point, the themes within the novel add to an overall very unique and heartfelt story. Radio silence is about many things; you could look at it from many different angles. On one hand there is the false and true friendship of Frances; there is also the child abuse suffered within Aled’s family; there is the issue of education and being drilled into university and the idea of YouTubers in the podcast ‘Radio Silence’, The novel is problem heavy, but that isn’t a bad thing. The problems that have been explored I do not see regularly in the little realism I have read, even though they are very.. real.
The characters were relatable too (as I have mentioned before)! Frances the MC was interesting, her false relationship with her friends striking me as the most insightful and thought provoking.
.“…it felt like we were friends. Friends who barely knew anything about each other except the other’s most private secret.”
I could see myself in Frances’ problems (especially the ones involving the school) and I spent the rest of the novel comparing each and every other character with other people I knew. That is not saying they were not original, rather that they were so unique that they were almost real human beings- not flat characters made from words and pages. The author also spends a huge chunk of the novel developing all the characters, so much so that the novel doesn’t really have a clear plot, but rather that it is a book of stories woven around the characters. I liked that.
I would recommend the book to any teenagers and adults, but I would be careful due to my fear that it won’t make sense to anyone but my generation.