Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

“Hello. I hope somebody is listening.

Radio Silence is one of the best contemporary read I’ve ever encountered. Not maybe, not possibly. It just is. The story follows our protagonist, Frances, and her journey throughout high school. She’s a head girl, has perfect grades and wants to get into Cambridge. Little did people know, she’s also a fangirl who secretly obsesses with a sci-fi podcast called Universe City. And I think it’s incredibly clever of the author to had this particular name for the podcast, considering this is a coming of age story with major ‘I’m leaving high school and I’m going to university, I’m not sure if it’s the right thing for me but we’ll see.’ storyline.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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

Frances has 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.

Title: Radio Silence | Author: Alice Oseman | Genre: ContemporaryYoung Adult | Publication Date: February 25, 2016 | Format: eBook | Source: AnyBooks | Read for: Diverse Divers Book Club, Beat the Backlist 2019, Goodreads Reading Challenge 2019, PopSugar Reading Challenge 2019 (Current progress) | Links: Book Depository (Affiliate)

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Abuse, animal cruelty, animal death, depression, hateful language, mental illness, violence.[/su_spoiler]

“Being clever was, after all, my primary source of self-esteem. I’m a very sad person, in all senses of the word, but at least I was going to get into university.”

This story holds such a personal value for me. And I believe not just for me, but also for many other readers out there. I strongly relate to most of the characters in many varied aspects (which I will explain further in the next section). And although this is a character-driven story, I promise, the plot was not bad at all. In fact, it flowed easily (without losing its important value) and still very much enjoyable. I enjoyed the pace and how things lead from one to another. And my favorite part about Radio Silence is the matter of representation. The diverse characters, the mental illnesses, the stigmas. Alice Oseman did an amazing work by bringing up all of these issues without forcing it to be there just for the sake of it. And I truly appreciate that.

The Characters

➪ Frances — Biracial, bisexual, and believes her future lies in academia. When I said I relate to her character, I’m not implying to the head girl and the perfect grades aspect, but rather to the insecure and lost aspect. Society told us that we need a good grade, so we can get a good job and have a good life. And all of that is coming from one root: be a good student. What I was trying to say is even when you did decent in school and university, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll figure out what you want to do in your life once you’re graduate and step out of the building. And these issues portrayed perfectly by Frances. Even when she gets perfect grades, even when she figures out that she wants to go to Cambridge ever since she was a kid, things may go differently and it’s okay to feel insecure and lost once in a while. 

“I was going to be happy. Wasn’t I? I was. Uni, job, money, happiness. That’s what you do. That’s the formula. Everyone knows that. I knew that.”

➪ Aled — Gay, demisexual, shy, passionate, creative, and believes his future does not lie in academia, yet he gets forced into it. Throughout this book, I just want to hug Aled because HE DESERVES HAPPINESS. I can’t believe what he had to go through in his life and although I can’t relate to him as much as I can relate to Frances, his characters portrayed a classic situation of strict and controlling parents, which I believe that most of younger people nowadays can understand. The typical situation of ‘parents always right and kids always wrong’, kids are not allowed to share their opinion because they’re just kids, or maybe kids are allowed to speak up but it doesn’t matter anyway, again, because they’re just kids. Alice Oseman did an awesome job on describing this situation, and I just want to make people realize that just because it’s not happening to you or your family, doesn’t mean it’s not happening to others.

I wonderif nobody is listening to my voice, am I making any sound at all?”

➪ Daniel — Gay, Korean, Aled’s best friend, and believes he must get into university to make his family proud. Although in most books Asian describes as super-smart-it’s-almost-like-they’re-mutan-but-with-their-brain-instead, and usually follows by an explanation that their parents forced them to study 24/7, I’m glad that isn’t the case with Daniel. He’s actually, willingly, giving his best effort in school. Not because his parents force him or told him to, but because he wants to make them proud. As an Asian myself, this is something that I rarely find in YA books. Asian parents often described badly and didn’t care about anything but good grades, which is completely not true. I can’t speak on everyone’s behalf, but this is what I’m experiencing and so does most of my friends. But again, I’d like to appreciate and thank Alice Oseman for this beautiful representation of Asian students. 

“…it felt like we were friends. Friends who barely knew anything about each other except the other’s most private secret.”

➪ Carys — Lesbian, Aled’s twin sister, and describes as the coolest person in the (hi)story. I wouldn’t disagree, though. Carys is that badass chick that looks super-intimidating at a glance but actually has a soft and caring inner side. I think her character adds more layers into the story, as we saw everyone that everyone’s into academic, but not with her (and Aled, of course). I don’t know but I just kinda wish that she had more appearance in this story just so we can dig deeper into her personality.

“It must be useful to be smart,” she said and then laughed weakly. She glanced down and suddenly looked very sad. “I’m like, constantly scared I’m going to be a homeless or something. I wish our whole lives didn’t have to depend on our grades.”

➪ Raine — Pansexual, Indian, and everything you could wish for a best friend. Raine is also another character that I wish had more appearance in this story. But just from the few short scenes with her in it, you could already tell she’s the kindest, sweetest, most selfless person ever and the type of friend that you want to keep for years and years. 

“I don’t know. I think I did my best.” Raine looked at me for a moment. “Well… that’s good? That’s all you can do.”

The Plot

I’ve read this book over a month ago and I’m trying my best to recall my emotions about it. This book is obviously very character-driven, but it doesn’t mean it has a weak plot. I personally enjoyed the steady pace and a bit of mystery touch in it. It was predictable, but I think it adds more flavor and intensity. Aside from the obvious storyline that brought by the main characters, the additional part such as details about how fandom works or the casual text messages conversation was my other favorite thing, or types of different parents out there (I want to be adopted by Frances’ mom so badly!). These made the story more alive and relatable (as I believe so, especially for its target audiences).

“I stopped speaking. There was no point trying to argue. There was no way she was going to even attempt to listen to me. They never do, do they? They never even try to listen to you.”

The Verdict

Radio Silence was such an amazing contemporary, but it doesn’t leave the important representation of diversity and mental illnesses. I do believe that everyone should read this book, and not just young adults. There are so much more in this book than fandom talks or classic coming of age bits.

Book Review of Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Have you read Radio Silence? What do you think of it? If you haven’t, are you planning to read it in the future?

Losing Normal by Francis Moss

Hey everyone! I’m back with another book review post. This time, I got the opportunity to be a part of Losing Normal by Francis Moss blog tour, which organized by Xpresso Blog Tours. This blog tour will be consist of author interviews, excerpts, guest post and also review post and you can check out the post from the other hosts hereI received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. When I read the book summary, I knew I can’t resist it since I’m a big fan of dystopian fiction. And here’s my review!

Losing Normal by Francis Moss

Everyone we love, everything we know, is going away… and only an autistic boy can stop it.
 
Alex knows exactly how many steps it takes to get from his home to Mason Middle School. This is normal.
 
Alex knows the answers in AP math before his teacher does, which is also normal.
 
Alex knows that something bad is coming out of the big screen in his special needs class. It’s pushing images into his head, hurting him, making him forget. Alex pushes back, the screen explodes, and nothing is normal any more.
 
Giant screen televisions appear all over the city. The programming is addictive. People have to watch, but Alex cannot.
 
Sophie, the sentient machine behind all this, sees the millions and millions of eyeballs glued to her and calls it love. To Sophie, kids like Alex are defective. Defectives are to be fixed… or eliminated.

★★★

Title: Losing Normal | Author: Francis Moss | Publisher: Encelia Press | Genre: DystopianScience Fiction | Publication Date: October 23, 2018 | Format: eBook | Source: Xpresso Book Tours | LINKS: AmazonBook Depository (Affiliate)

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Abuse, death, fertility, violence.[/su_spoiler]

If you know me, I’m always all in when it comes to dystopian/post-apocalyptic story. If you don’t, well… know you do, right? 💁‍♀️ Losing Normal is not quite a post-apocalyptic story. It’s rather a toward-apocalyptic story if that makes sense? Apparently, our technology keeps evolving and it’s about time where the sentient machine (in this case, an artificial intelligence called Sophie) is taking over the world by controlling the human mind through screens. Little did she (or it?) know, not every human being can be controlled the way she wanted to. And here comes Alex, the autistic teenager that fights back this technology.

Few things that I like about this book:

✅ Autism representation. I’ve been trying to do more exploration with my readings and that includes to read more diverse characters. This book has a good representation of autism on Alex, its main character. We are able to see how Alex mind works and how his autism affected his actions. And not just his actions, but basically the whole story.

✅ A super dynamic story. Everything happened really fast and full of actions. This is the kind of book that will bring you from one scene to another without really allowing yourself to take a breath. It’s that intense.

✅ Solid messages and values. This book illuminates current issues that have been happening in our society. The using of technology might be very useful in our life at the moment, but we can’t deny that we are also experiencing side effects like technology addiction. The AI take-over is something that can happen to use in the future and I think it’s great for the author to increase awareness on this particular area, even when this book is labeled as a work of fiction.

Few things that I don’t like about this book:

❌ Too fast + technical. This is probably just my issue, but I was struggling to follow the story as the writing is full of computer-based and technological terms that I’m not completely familiar with. This becomes even harder because the story went super fast and I feel overwhelmed to keep up with everything that happened.

❌ Lack of characters depths. Because this story is very plot-driven, it didn’t give as much attention to its characters. With its multiple POVs, which I usually have no problem with, it was a challenge to follow the story, because there are no particular differences between these two characters/POVs. I can’t really sense their personality differences since the writing made them sounds like almost the same person.

However, if you’re a fan of technology gone bad & taking over the Earth, or just a binge-watcher of Black Mirror, I believe you’d enjoy this story. It’s a decent piece that will constantly put you on the edge!

About the Author

Francis Moss has written and story-edited hundreds of hours of scripts on many of the top animated shows of the 90s and 00s. Beginning his television work in live-action with Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, he soon starting writing cartoons (“a lot more jobs, and also more fun”), staff writing and freelancing on She-Ra, Princess of Power, Iron Man, Ducktales, and a four-year stint on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, writing and story-editing more episodes than you can swing a nuchaku at.

One of his TMNT scripts, “The Fifth Turtle,” was the top-rated script among all the 193 episodes in a fan poll on IGN.COM. A list of his television credits is at IMDB.COM.

Francis, in partnership with Ted Pedersen, also wrote three middle-grade non-fiction books: Internet For Kids, Make Your Own Web Page, and How To Find (Almost) Anything On The Internet. Internet For Kids was a big success, with three revised editions and twelve foreign language versions. He’s the sole author of The Rosenberg Espionage Case.

After high school where he grew up in Los Angeles, Francis had one dismal semester at a junior college, and then enlisted in the Army. He became a military policeman and served in Poitiers, France, falling in love with the country, taking his discharge there and traveling around Europe (including running with the bulls in Pamplona) until his money ran out.

He attended the University of California, Berkeley and became active in the civil rights and anti-war movements, still managing to earn a BA and an MA in English lit (“the major of choice for wannabe writers”).
Francis is married to Phyllis, a former music teacher and active viola player. They have a son, a daughter and one grandson. They live in Joshua Tree, California.

Website | Goodreads

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Are you a fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic book? Have you read Losing Normal?