I wanted her to stay because I needed her, and I wanted that to matter. I wanted to be reason enough.
She’s the Worst
Sisters April and Jenn haven’t been close in years. Jenn’s too busy with school, the family antique shop, and her boyfriend, and April would rather play soccer and hang out with the boy next door.
But when April notices her older sister is sad about staying home for college, she decides to do something about it. The girls set off to revive a pact they made as kids: spend an epic day exploring the greatest hits of their childhood and all that Los Angeles has to offer.
Then April learns that Jenn has been keeping a secret that could rip their family—and their feuding parents—apart. With only one day to set things right, the sisters must decide if their relationship is worth saving, or if the truth will tear them apart for good.
It is the last day of She’s the Worst Blog Tour hosted by The FFBC and I couldn’t be more excited for my blog stop today! I’m always up for a good contemporary, and Spieller’s newest book seems especially interesting for me because of its focus on family and sibling relationships.
Spieller’s love and passion for LA was obvious in this book. As someone’s who never went to the city before, I really had a good time reading Jenn and April one day adventure as they’re trying to rekindle their sibling’s connection. Each place that both sisters visited was very well-written and the scene was vivid! So, I applauded Spieller and her writing for that.
The plot was simple enough and exactly how it was presented on the blurb. What I found to be the most surprising was, as a character-oriented reader, I found the plot to be very much entertaining. I was digging each destination and enjoyed the memories’ revealation between the dual perspective of both sisters. It surely feels overwhelming at times, because I couldn’t imagine how someone could go through so many places and activities just in one day, while also making life-changing decisions and dealing with so much dramas.
Oh my God, how do I start with all these characters?! Most of them had such a bold and strong personality. Now let’s combine that with years of family drama, ineffective communication, and self-oriented issue. Boom. A complete roller coaster ride from the beginning until the very last page.
As much as I enjoyed how Spieller wrote these characters and their multidimensionality, it was surely exhausting and overwhelming to witnessed them interacting with each other. I have no idea who to root for, as none of them was describe as that flawless protagonist. For someone so smart and perfectionist about almost every aspect of her life, Jenn was obviously not as perfect as she think herself to be. I couldn’t explain too much without spoiling the story, but I found it to be unbelievable that Jenn was capable of keeping such thing for so long. And I found April to be a bit more okay, since she’s a teenager yet she’s dealing with how her own family can’t trust and support her enough to pursue her ultimate dream. And please don’t get me started on both parents, because they were plain horrible. I didn’t find any good aspect from them and they were nothing but continuous loud action packs 24/7.
Thankfully, I found a bit of time to relax and lay back when it comes to Nate. The guy was super sweet and deserves all the good things in the world! I wish he got more screen time in the story because his perspective as someone who grew up with Jenn and April will be super interesting! As for other side characters, they were okay but definitely not stand out.
She’s the Worst was a fun family-oriented story. The dynamic characters combined with the adventurous one-day plot could be a huge potential if the writer didn’t use ineffective communication and manipulation as the ultimate source of the problems. There were many aspect that Spieller could use to spark more drama within this story without making everyone always screams at everyone.
Thank you to the author and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.
There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.
She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.
Trigger warnings: Blood magic, death of a child, death in battle scenes, mention of animal sacrifice (not on page), mind manipulation, parental abuse, an act of a sexual nature that occurs when a character tricks another character while disguising their appearance, and violence.
I’m not being overdramatic when I said this is one of my most anticipated reads this year. I’ve been mentioning this book on my two previous posts because I’m that excited. Ever since I read the premise and knowing the fact that it’s an #OwnVoices debut book, I know I need to read it immediately. But, from the trigger warnings above, it’s obvious that Kingdom of Souls is not going to be an easy read.
This aspect is the most amazing part in Kingdom of Souls. I’m always a sucker when it comes to not just a new universe, but also a detailed, magical, and very-well explained one. It was without a doubt that Barron poured her heart and Ka (tribal common tongue for “soul.”) within this universe and I’m completely blown away by how everything works. If you’re like me and you’re reading the ARC of this book, I’d suggest you to go to the book’s website to gaze over the beautiful world of the kingdom. I’m pretty sure the map will be included in the finished copy, so don’t worry!
Some people can pull magic from the fabric of the world. Some can coax magic to come with rituals and spells. Many can’t call magic at all.
Being the opposite of its extraordinary worldbuilding, the plot in Kingdom of Souls could be better. During the earlier chapters, the pace was incredibly dynamic and I feel as if everything happened so fast, in a good way that I found myself to enjoyed every second of it. But then it got slower. Too slow that I found it shocking. I’m not a fan of this atmosphere’s turnover and I keep flipping the page while whispering to myself, “Okay, interesting backstory of too many forgettable side characters… but what it’s gotta do with Arrah?”.
Don’t get caught in the shadows, for a demon waits to steal your soul. The younger the soul, the sweeter the feast.
As a character-oriented reader, I don’t mind with five to ten characters. The thing with big group of characters is… it’s either a hit or a miss. I’m afraid to say that Kingdom of Souls is leaning more toward the latter. I only engaged with a few characters and although I wanted to, I simply don’t care for the rest because I couldn’t relate to them. I also often forgot their names because there were too many of them. Hopefully, a characters list will be included in the final copy of this book, but since I only read the unfinished copy, that’s how I felt about it.
And as for the relationships among the characters, my favorite one is between Arrah and her father. It was genuine and pure. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same way with Arrah’s romantic relationship with one of the characters in this book. Although it took quite a big appearance within the story, I just couldn’t sense their chemistry, and at the end, it just felt unsettling.
But one thing for sure, I loved the diversity in this story. There was diversity within the diversity and I applauded Barron for that. Often times, a book considered as diverse when it featured one African or one Asian character. But the truth is, no one is just African or Asian. There are many sub-countries and sub-cultures within these countries that people often missed.
I once laughed at stories about demons, and now I know that one may walk in my shadows. She does not mean well.
Although I enjoyed this debut, I’m not going to lie that it felt overwheming at times. The intricate universe was definitely not easy to digest in instance. I’m thinking about picking up this book again in the future because I know there was many potential in it.
Thank you to the author and The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
about the author
Rena Barron grew up in small-town Alabama where stories of magic and adventuresparked her imagination. After penning her first awful poem in middle school, shegraduated to writing short stories and novels by high school. Rena loves all thingsscience fiction, ghosts, and superheroes. She’s a self-proclaimedspace nerd. Whenshe’s not writing, she can be found reading or brushing up on her French. Followher at @renathedreamer and renabarron.com.
Rena prefers not to be tagged in reviews to save her sanity.
She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
Once upon a time, a young girl lost her family and discovered a new one.
Woohoo, it’s time for another blog tour! But first of all, let me tell you how sorry I am to deliver this post in such late timing. Yesterday was my stop for The Black Veins Blog Tour which hosted by the lovely CW @ The Quiet Pond! Thank you, CW, for selecting me as one of this tour’s participant! The first time I heard about this book was when CW announced about this blog tour and I immediately knew that I 👏 NEED 👏 TO 👏 READ 👏 IT 👏 What makes this book a lot more wholesome is the fact that it’s Ashia Monet’s debut and she’s also publishing it independently! Say whaaat! We support badass, strong, and independent authors in this house! Okay, I’m going to stop rambling now and share more details about the book along with my review and of course, some free wallpapers inspired by The Black Veins from yours truly! ✌
The Black Veins by Ashia Monet
In a world where magic thrives in secret city corners, a group of magicians embark on a road trip—and it’s the “no-love-interest”, found family adventure you’ve been searching for.
Sixteen-year-old Blythe is one of seven Guardians: magicians powerful enough to cause worldwide panic with a snap of their fingers. But Blythe spends her days pouring latte art at her family’s coffee shop, so why should she care about having apocalyptic abilities?
She’s given a reason when magician anarchists crash into said coffee shop and kidnap her family.
Heartbroken but determined, Blythe knows she can’t save them alone. A war is brewing between two magician governments and tensions are too high. So, she packs up her family’s bright yellow Volkswagen, puts on a playlist, and embarks on a road trip across the United States to enlist the help of six strangers whose abilities are unparalleled—the other Guardians.
These trigger warnings below are written at the beginning of the book:
[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”] → Discussion of deceased parents, siblings, and potential parental and familial death → Description of mild bloodshed in violent scenes → Mention of drugs and drug use, primarily marijuana → Gun use Supernatural horror in the form of monsters, primarily found in Chapters 6, 12, and 25 → Car accident in Chapter 19 → Discussion of anxiety disorders and panic disorders primarily found in Chapters 22, 23, and 25 → Racial n-word slur, ending in-a, found in Chapter 21 (before you drag me, yes, I am Black) → Mild anxiety attack in Chapter 25 [/su_spoiler]
And while there lies a story in where the melody has come from, more interesting is the story of where it is going.
I recommend this book if you’re into: ⇾ Urban fantasy ⇾ Diverse and POC all around ⇾ Character-driven story ⇾ Adventureous quest ⇾ Teens actually act like teens ⇾ SUPERPOWER ✨
Things to be considered before picking up this book: This book contains a lot of triggering contents. Check trigger warnings above.
The Black Veins is an outstanding fantasy debut from the indie author, Ashia Monet, full of action packs and dangerous quests yet balanced with strong bonding and relationship among its characters. The story started with our main character, Blythe Fulton, controlled by an unknown voice in her head to sleep-walk to her roof. Lucky for Blythe, her father grabbed her at the very last second before she jumped. A little later, we get informed that the Fultons are a magician family, and Blythe was one of the seven guardians that hold a great power (even though she can’t do any magic yet). We also get informed that a war was about to happen between two governments, The Black Veinsand The Trident Republic. This war doesn’t really have any correlation to Blythe, whatsoever, but that was before she heard the voice inside her head that lured her to the roof and The Trident Republic was suspected to be the mastermind behind it. That was before her family got kidnapped and her best friend got hurt right in front of her eyes. Now, this war becomes personal and Blythe will do anything to save her family.
And while there lies a story in where the melody has come from, more interesting is the story of where it is going.
I rarely said this, but I found that almost all of the characters in this book to be loveable, yes, even the ones who were not being so kind.Each cast is so interesting and unique and even though it’s pretty obvious that Blythe is the lead in this story, it certainly didn’t feel like it because instead of solely focusing on her (well, the story is still focusing on her journey to save her family), we got many strong appearances from the other characters as well! And Monet did this so flawlessly. Each character got enough screen time for us to get to know them more, whether it’s their personality, backstory or just some random things that they like or dislike, and personally, it made me feel like I’m the part of the gang too! I could be… um, the Guardian of Books? Guardian of Ice Coffee? Where do I sign up to apply as one? Anyway, I love the fact that the relationships in this book are always changing. Someone can initially dislike the other but end up loving them and it was a great way to show how these characters developed along the process.
“Kindness is underrated. We’re all focused on being self-sufficient, on being ‘strong’, but people like you? People like you are the reason the world is a place worth living in. You’re not dumb. You’re kind. You help each of us. Without you, we’d go down from one hit when we’re inches away from the finish line. You’re the one that helps us get back up again. You’re Support.“
Also, not to mention the wonderful concept of the magical world in this story. The universe that Monet’s created was magnificent. I don’t think I would do justice if I have to explain it because you really need to read this story by yourself to understand what I’m referring to, but The Black Veins universe feels familiar yet brand new to me. Instead of throwing massive details all at once about how this universe works, Monet managed to reveal fun detail as we go through each page, which to be honest, I really enjoyed!
I was truly had a good time with The Black Veins. It was a dynamic and character-oriented story with excellent diverse representation in a well-crafted universe that won’t be so easy to forget. I’m definitely looking forward for the sequel and see where the story goes next!
Thank you to the author for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review and thank you CW @ The Quiet Pond for hosting this blog tour!
about the author
Ashia Monet is a speculative fiction author whose work almost always includes found families, diverse ensemble casts, the power of friendship, and equal parts humor and drama. Some of her favorite things are The Adventure Zone, Ariana Grande, and the color pink. You can follow her on Twitter @ashiamonet and Instagram @ashiawrites.
I was having so much fun designing these two wallpapers! I really wanted to include a portrayal of every Guardian, but soon I realized it’s going to be impossible without the wallpapers turning into a chaos design! This one is inspired by Blythe Fulton and her endless courage to save her family. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
My whole life, I’d been told what I couldn’t do because I was a girl. Well, this was my chance to find out.
It’s finally here! Today is my stop for #SpinTheDawnTour that hosted by Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea on Caffeine Book Tours! Thank you, Shealea, for selected and trusted me as one of the lucky bloggers that got to participate in this wonderful tour! I’m so excited for my stop because today, I’m going to e̶m̶o̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ share my review (well, more like a gush), some excerpts from the book (that will make you add it immediately to your own TBR), some wallpapers that I designed in honor of this debut release and of course (🥁🥁🥁) the international giveaway! So, stay tuned ’til the end of this post!
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Death, death of loved ones, sexism, violence.[/su_spoiler]
Ask me to spin the finest yarn or thread, and I can do it faster than any man—even with my eyes closed. Yet ask me to tell a lie, and I will stumble and falter to think of one.
One of my immediate reaction when I finished Spin the Dawn is that it was truly a magnificent fantasy retelling, even for someone who doesn’t read as much fantasy such as myself! So, if you’re usually not a fan of fantasy tale, but you’re looking forward to expanding your reading and going out of your comfort-reading-zone, I couldn’t recommend this enough!
Spin the Dawn is a mesmerizing fantasy retelling of Mulan mixed with Project Runaway from debut author, Elizabeth Lim. Starring Maia, a young girl who born into a family of tailor and aspired to be one. Not just any regular tailor, but the best tailor in A’landi and eventually become the imperial tailor. Here’s the deal. Girls are not supposed to be tailor, just because. So, fighting this sexist tradition while also trying to save the remains of her family after the war, the day an imperial messenger came to her house to invite her unwell father to become the imperial tailor, Maia stepped in and disguised herself as her only remaining brother, Keton and her journey started.
This is where it would begin. Where I would restore the honor to my family’s name. Where I would prove that a girl could be the best tailor in A’landi.
Oh my gosh, how do I even started? I just freaking love everything about this book! Starting with the plot itself and how this book pitched, I’m always in for everything competition and quest-related, especially when it involves a badass female protagonist with a noble mission. This book divided into three main parts, the trial, the journey, and the oath. All three delivers a very different atmosphere and intensity, yet everything blends in and completed each other perfectly.
During the first part, I couldn’t help but amazed with the incredible worldbuilding, thanks to Lim’s magical hands. As I mentioned previously, fantasy is not something I usually read because I often stuck just when the story started, because I was getting overwhelmed with every little detail thrown in my face in such a short amount of time. But with Spin the Dawn, Lim really took her time to build a realistic yet magical universe. I can practically imagine everything so vividly, while also take pleasure in Lim’s enchanting proses and words. Character-wise, Maia is a strong main character that you couldn’t help but root for. Her tragic past and her pure ambition turned her into a character that won’t be so easy to forget.
Although I wish that the first part could be longer, as I found myself to enjoy the competition between Maia and the other eleven tailor master, the initial encounter between Maia and Edan, and the glimpse of interaction involving Lady Sarnai and Emperor Khanujin himself, the second part delivered more action pack to the story and it was intense. I enjoyed Maia’s journey and how her relationship with Edan started to grow stronger. My favorite thing about this part is that we got to learn how the magic works in this story, including how it works on Edan. The back and forth witty banter between these two made me swooning too hard!
“Will you be able to find your way back?” “To you, always.”
The third part is obviously the hardest to read, that lead us into the ending that made me internally scream “I need the second book right at this very second!!!”. Overall, I just had a freaking good time with this book and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The compelling and magical universe of Spin the Dawn combined with such strong characters and even stronger plots mixed with a solid #ownvoices rep, will give you a one of a kind reading experience.
About the Author
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.
[su_spoiler title=”→ Read excerpts!” style=”simple”]I had three brothers once.
Finlei was the oldest—the brave one. Nothing frightened him, not spiders or needles or a flogging from Baba’s cane. He was the quickest of us four children, fast enough to catch a fly with only his thumb and a thimble. But along with his dauntlessness came a craving for adventure. He despised having to work in our shop, having to spend the sun’s precious light sewing dresses and mending shirts. And he was careless with the needle, his fingers constantly bandaged from pricks and his work marred with uneven stitches. Stitches I would unpick and redo to save him from Baba’s lectures.
Finlei didn’t have the patience to become a tailor like Baba.
Sendo had patience, but not for sewing. My second brother was the poet in the family, and the only weaving he loved was of words, especially about the sea. He would tell stories about the beautiful garments Baba could sew, with such exquisite detail all the ladies in town clamored to buy them—only to find they didn’t exist.
As punishment, Baba made him sit on the pier behind our shop, unraveling thread from silkworm cocoons. Often I stole out to sit with him, to listen to his tales of what lay beyond that never-ending horizon of water.
“What color is the ocean?” Sendo would ask me.
“Blue, silly. What else?”
“How will you be the best tailor in A’landi if you don’t know your colors?” Sendo shook his head and pointed at the water. “Look again. Look into the depths of it.”
“Sapphire,” I said, studying the ocean’s gentle crests and troughs. The water sparkled. “Sapphire, like the stones Lady Tainak wears around her neck. But there’s a hint of green … jade green. And the foam curls up like pearls.”
Sendo smiled. “That’s better.” He wrapped an arm around my shoulders and hugged me close. “One day, we’ll sail the seas, you and I. And you’ll see the blue in all the world.”
Because of Sendo, blue was my favorite color. It painted the white of my walls when I opened my window each morning and saw the sea glittering in the sunlight. Sapphire or cerulean. Azure. Indigo. Sendo trained my eyes to see the variations in color, to appreciate the dullest brown to the brightest pink. How light could bend something into a thousand possibilities.
Sendo’s heart was for the sea, not for becoming a tailor like Baba.
Keton was my third brother, and the closest to me in age. His songs and jokes made everyone laugh, no matter what mood we were in. He always got in trouble for dyeing our silks green instead of purple, for carelessly stepping on newly pressed dresses with dirty sandals, for forgetting to water the mulberry trees, and for never spinning yarn fine enough for Baba to knit into a sweater. Money slipped through his fingers like water. But Baba loved him best—even though Keton didn’t have the discipline to become a tailor.
Then there was me—Maia. The obedient daughter. My earliest memories were of sitting contentedly with Mama as she worked the spinning wheel, listening to Finlei, Sendo, and Keton playing outside while Baba taught me to roll Mama’s thread so it wouldn’t tangle.
My heart was for becoming a tailor: I learned to thread needles before I could walk, to make a line of perfect stitches before I could talk. I loved my needlework and was happy learning Baba’s trade instead of going out with my brothers. Besides, when Finlei taught me to spar and shoot arrows, I always missed the target. Even though I soaked up Sendo’s fairy tales and ghost stories, I could never tell one of my own. And I always fell for Keton’s pranks, no matter how often my older brothers warned me of them.
Baba proudly told me I was born with a needle in one hand, a pair of scissors in the other. That if I hadn’t been born a girl, I might have become the greatest tailor in A’landi, sought after by merchants from one coast of the continent to the other.
“A tailor’s worth is not measured by his fame, but by the happiness he brings,” Mama said, seeing how disappointed Baba’s words made me. “You will hold the seams of our family together, Maia. No other tailor in the world can do that.”
I remembered beaming at her. Back then, all I wanted was for my family to be happy and whole like this— always.[/su_spoiler]
It’s only Day 3 of #SpinTheDawnTour, so don’t forget to check other’s fun posts! You can see the completed schedule below! There will also a fun Twitter on the last day of the tour, so make sure to join if you want to have a fun, spoiler-free discussion with the others!
Are you planning to pick up this book for your next read this summer?
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.
“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.
➪ 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 wonder — if 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.”
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.”
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.
Have you read Radio Silence? What do you think of it? If you haven’t, are you planning to read it in the future?