How in the heck was this written a mere two years after Solitaire!? They legitimately feel as if they were written by different authors, or at least by Oseman at polar opposite points in here career. Maybe it’s largely the subject matter informing that statement, as we don’t have the absolutely insufferable main character or outlandish side-plot or all the stuff that should’ve come with a content warning. It does make for a lighter read overall, more in line with the rest of her work. You know, as long as you ignore Aled’s mom. For a while, like Frances, I was wondering why Aled hated his mother so much. There were little things here and there that seemed questionable, but nothing glaring. Then that mask came off for real and I jumped straight to “kill it with fire” (pun intended). That poor child, and his sister, deserve so much better, and now I’m retroactively mad that Aled wasn’t in the Heartstopper TV series. Isaac was lovely and all, but I’d kill for Alec (and Frances) to appear. Oseman probably wanted to snip the tendrils that reach out to other stories, which does make sense, but just… please!
My embarrassing begging out of the way, Radio Silence does a fine job of showing the two extremes of parenting (Frances’ Easy A-esque mom on one end and Aled’s “parent governor” on the other), as well as that there are alternatives to going to uni or more traditional universities. Plus, more asexual representation! And plenty of Alec and Frances just being adorable together. In other words, it manages to tackle some serious subjects, all while being charming as heck. So maybe pretend Solitaire never happened if you’re doing a chronological read of Alice Oseman’s work and start with this. That is, unless you are touchy about anything happening to animals. I don’t want to say anything more than that due to spoilers, but you can find out what I’m talking about on Oseman’s own site if you go to “extras” and then “content warnings.”