Read: 14th November 2017 – 15th November 2017
Spoilers in review: No
Frances Janvier is determined to get into Cambridge. She spends practically every moment of her life doing extra reading and schoolwork in order to help make this dream a reality. She is also a massive fan of a sci-fi podcast, called Universe City, about an agender person called Radio Silence who is sending out SOS messages as they try to survive. One day, Frances discovers that the mysterious person behind this podcast is the boy who lives across the road, and the two quickly become friends. They do not fall in love.
I was supposed to read this book when it came out. I was anticipating it prior to its release but then just didn’t pick it up for some reason. I literally told someone at one point that I’d have read it by the end of 2016. This did not happen and I am a moron because this book is amazing.
It would be a lie to say there’s no romance at all, but it is not between Frances and Aled, or even a main focus. Frances and Aled become really close, but their relationship is completely platonic. It was honestly beautiful to read. More books should be like this.
This book focuses a lot on exams and university applications, specifically in the UK. I am currently in year 13, and have recently sent off my UCAS form, and am applying to Oxbridge, so this was very relevant to me. Yes, it is stressful. You can certainly tell that Oseman is writing from experience.
Another main focus is how people on the internet can behave. Once you’ve been online for long enough, you’ve probably seen instances of people being tracked down alarmingly quickly based on very little information. People in fandoms can also be utterly awful to the creators. Again, it was clear that Oseman was heavily influenced by events she has observed and possibly experienced. It was true to life which made the events even more hard hitting.
This book is really diverse!! Frances is mixed race and bisexual, Daniel is Korean and gay, Carys is gay, and Aled is demisexual. They all describe themselves as such. On the page. With words. This makes me very happy.
This book made me very emotional. I’m not an easy crier, but I came close and to be honest if I hadn’t read this at school then I probably would have been in tears at some points. Alas, I was in public, so I held it together.
If you’re thinking about what you want to do after school, or if you’re part of an internet fandom, then this book is extremely relevant to your life. Personally, the focus on friendship alone would have made this book worth reading. The addition of these other factors makes this book truly fantastic! I just wish I’d read it sooner.
Review originally written in 2017