Reviews tagging Toxic relationship

Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman

31 reviews

mme_carton's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful inspiring reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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bitsandbobsdivination's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional mysterious sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

I love how deeply this book was rooted in friendship and creating true, real, and very raw connections with others. I really enjoyed the first half as well as was very nervous for the characters in the second as things blew up to the point I wasn’t sure which way it would go. 

Beautiful story as a reminder that we do have a choice in the end and there is always another way if we allow ourselves to seek it. 🗝✨

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colorful_lulu's review against another edition

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dark emotional sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

Content Warning: Dog murder, physically & emotionally abusive parent/mother, mental health

I loved how the main boy-girl friendship that doesn’t become anything romantic. Heck, this is addressed early on in the book that it gets annoying when anonymous Tumblr users and Frances’s so-called “friends” assume that because Frances and Aled have a boy-girl friendship, it’s romantic. Instead, the childhood best friend to lover trope between Aled and Daniel was the only lasting romantic relationship throughout the book.

This book has really an original storyline. You begin with drunk Aled admitting that he’s Radio and Frances trying to form a friendship without ruining it by fangirling, to Aled’s deepest secret splashed all over the internet ruining the trust between them, and ending with Frances, Daniel, Carys, and Raine driving 6 hours to find Aled in university and stopping him from going back to his abusive mother. Even from the beginning, I wanted to scream at how unpredictable, relatable, and just how original the story is. With little details building up to create the final storyline, truly like Universe City. 

A final comment: I’m surprised at how little the [b:Heartstopper: Volume One|40495957|Heartstopper Volume One (Heartstopper, #1)|Alice Oseman|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1541887843l/40495957._SY75_.jpg|62811229] characters are mentioned in the book. The characters never use their name but you know it’s Tori, Charlie, and Nick. And you know that the book takes place after [b:Solitaire|20618110|Solitaire|Alice Oseman|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1390416741l/20618110._SY75_.jpg|39901420] because of the girl’s school burned down in the prologue and it has been mentioned a couple of times.

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entityj's review

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adventurous emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted mysterious reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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crufts's review

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emotional sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.75

Frances Janvier is the perfect student. With straight A+s and a Head Girl badge pinned to her school blazer, she must be destined for the perfect university, the perfect career, and the perfect life - never mind that she would rather spend her time drawing fanart of her favourite podcast, Universe City. But when the mysterious Creator of the podcast invites her to join it as an illustrator, the cracks in that perfect plan start to show.

The novel had some positive points:
  • Particular scenes rang off authentically, like the lengths the students went to in finishing their assignments. The themes of Frances' obligation and duty, always trying to be what other people wanted of her, were laid down pretty well.

  • The story involves a couple of revealed secrets, but I liked how these are revealed promptly and not dragged out until the end of the book.

  • I also thought the textspeak and Tumblr-speak in the novel was believable.

  • As for minority representation, there are a few LGBT+ characters who are portrayed in a very mundane, unremarkable kind of way. These include the non-binary podcast narrator, a gay character, an asexual character, and the bi protagonist.
    Amusingly, there are also echoes of Alice Oseman's later novel, Loveless. For example, the protagonist comments
    Spoiler"I was getting used to the way people got off with each other without a second thought, even if it made me feel disgusting to watch it happen". Reminds me of Georgia's commentary in Loveless. And also how the protagonist was tired of the assumption that a boy-girl relationship must always be romantic. More about Loveless here: https://app.thestorygraph.com/reviews/87881108-8489-4051-bade-9fd47c8c8d16
    .

But I just couldn't gel with Radio Silence.
There were all these little chafing issues:
  • Frances describes another girl (Carys) as "the only queer girl I knew". But Frances doesn't know that! Carys never said she was "queer" - she described herself as "gay".

  • The main friendship of the novel goes from zero to a hundred in the space of one chapter. No buildup, just a sudden "Oh, they're best friends now, they watched four seasons of The Office in one week", etc.

  • I was straining to believe that Frances, who doesn't care about school and historically didn't make much of an effort, would suddenly get the highest grade on a test.

  • On the same note, I couldn't suspend my disbelief that Frances, who personally disliked school and wasn't under any familial pressure about it, would have developed this unexplained feeling of obligation and duty about getting into university.

  • Between the 50% to 75% marks of the book, the tone is miserable and there's no tone relief. This was exhausting to read for 100 pages straight.

  • The descriptions of Frances' sadness came off as very clichéd and hollow, e.g. literally saying "I felt very sad about that". Some descriptions doesn't even express internal sadness at all, e.g. describing how her eyes were wet, or how she wiped her eyes, or how she went to sit in a bathroom cubicle, but without any description of the internal experience of sadness.

  • A particular character (
    SpoilerRaine
    ) who seems "cool" suddenly becomes obnoxious during a text exchange with Frances. The character asks about Aled's wellbeing, only to then insult him, e.g. "Kinda wanna say [to him to] 'check your privilege' tbh... Why you so obsessed with that white boy anyway lol... He has no right to complain about anything... Your fave [Aled] is problematic lmao"
    But not only does Frances not notice that the character is being obnoxious, she then proceeds to go out and join the character at a nightclub. What?? Why?!

  • Too many floaty, vague scenes where it's unclear what's happening, presumably for poetic effect. This was especially frustrating when the scenes didn't seem to have any point; it seemed like you could cut the entire scene without affecting the overall path of the book.

  • Universe City is inspired by the real-life podcast Welcome to Night Vale (explicitly confirmed by the author). It occupies the same podcast niche that Night Vale does in the real world.
    But although Night Vale also exists in the setting, Frances has no interest in it and only listens to Universe City. This was distracting and hard to believe, even though there was an attempt at handwaving why Frances wasn't interested in Night Vale.
    I also found it hard to believe that the Creator of Universe City never mentions Night Vale as an inspiration, when the two podcasts are so obviously similar. Even if the Creator had never heard of Night Vale, I would have expected other people to be accusing them of imitating Night Vale, which was created in 2012 (while the story is set in 2014).
    This is similar to how Rainbow Rowell handled a fictional book series in Fangirl (review here: https://app.thestorygraph.com/reviews/b3feaa7e-0392-4e23-8d4e-71cdfa4e71ee). In both cases, I think it would be better if the fictional series replaced the real series in the setting.

  • The main theme (not wanting to go to university) is just not relatable to me. I did relate a little to Aled's situation (university offering an escape), but even then the narrative decides that the right thing for Aled is to
    Spoilerleave university and instead fall on the generosity of his friends
    . I also thought that the message of disregarding income prospects was an effective way to get yourself stuck in an abusive situation. It seemed like a heavy dose of selection bias from a 1% author who wrote a hit debut novel and makes a liveable wage.

The biggest problem I had was that no serious stakes are introduced until halfway into the book, which is when the main villain appears. (It is literally at the 49% mark of the book.) This villain is actually written fabulously and is so realistically evil, I just wish they turned up earlier.
Even after the villain turns up, we only see the stakes from a distance, because this villain is much more of a problem for Aled (the deuteragonist) than for Frances. So I didn't find Frances compelling as a protagonist. I couldn't help but feel that she was outshone by Aled, and it would probably be a more interesting story if Aled was the main character.
But even with that, there were so many shenanigans and plot points based on the characters getting drunk, I felt like the real villain of the story was alcohol. Heck, the entire inciting incident is an alcohol-fueled mistake! This was never addressed in any way - nobody took the slightest responsibility for the problems they were causing by drinking, or even acknowledged "Hey, you know, we're in this mess because we can't control ourselves around alcohol".

Overall, I really wanted to like Radio Silence, but I just don't. That said, the author's other books are great and I would definitely recommend looking into those.

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arabellaruby's review against another edition

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fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5


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tomoonarmy's review

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dark emotional inspiring mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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billi3louise's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

I was so excited to be able to read more about Aled and get further insight into his life after meeting him in Heartstopper. 
I am still really glad I did but I was not ready for the heartbreaking story I just read. 
I thoroughly enjoyed the book nonetheless and am happy to have met all these new characters. 
Spoiler I have a lot of things to say about Carol Last but I won’t go too deep because I’m sure you all understand if you’ve read it. It’s just the hair snip. The room rearranging. The dog???!!?! I have never been so angry with a character before. 
Also February is such a pretty middle name.
 

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lectricefeministe's review against another edition

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emotional funny medium-paced

3.0


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nojerama's review against another edition

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challenging emotional funny hopeful inspiring lighthearted mysterious reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I have never seen myself in a character more than I have with Frances. Her and Aled's friendship is my favourite thing in the world. 

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