Reviews tagging Alcohol

Radio Silence, by Alice Oseman

85 reviews

asexualandriod's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful reflective 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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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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finesilkflower's review against another edition

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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? It's complicated

4.0

My impression from the writing style of this book is that Alice Oseman was pretty close to the age of her characters (late teens/early 20s) when she wrote it. This is not a criticism. There is a genuineness to the teenage experience that you can't fake; this absolutely captures what I remember being the intense yearning of being 18, as well as the anxiety of high school seniorhood. I find it strangely charming how characters are blasé about big things (like their school burning down) but small things take on immense significance (an offhand comment, a Tumblr post, a character owning a particular jacket.) Narrator Frances has a true-to-live teenagerish way of being extremely blunt about certain home truths, while still being naive in many ways. 

The book takes place in a particular moment in time, circa 2013, and centers around the intensity of online fandom, juxtaposed with the intensity of new IRL friendship. I'm only ten years older than these characters but I feel like a totally different generation in terms of my technology use and pop culture references. The class of '13 may find this extremely nostalgic. 

<b>Queer Content:</b> Note that this is a friendship story rather than a romance. Most of the main characters are some flavor of queer. Some of them read to me as trans, but they don't come out specifically as trans during the course of the story (which tbh is also realistic to me). 

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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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chris_reads's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful inspiring reflective 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

4.25


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mpbookreviews's review against another edition

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emotional 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

5.0


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rowane's review

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dark emotional funny hopeful inspiring 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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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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octoberof2003's review

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emotional lighthearted 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? It's complicated

4.25


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glen3's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional hopeful 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? It's complicated

4.5


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