Just before Pink Floyd move into "Comfortably Numb" on The Wall, Roger Waters' voice comes barreling through a filter asking, "Is there anybody out there?"
That sound, that droning melancholy flowing out of his voice followed me around as I read Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.
It's a great book.
There has always been two sides to Frances. There's school Frances who studies like a machine in order to take English lit at the best universities in the country. Then there's private Frances who loves to make art and listen to her favourite podcast Universe City.
When she meets the shy, stylish and mysterious Aled, both of those worlds start to overlap. Then she finds out that Aled is the creator of Universe City and her life changes forever.
For the first time she can be herself and has seemingly found true friendship. When Universe City becomes internet famous, and France's role in it gets exposed by those around her. The bond she had with Aled becomes fragile.
Throw in a friend who goes missing, a control freak mother and a couple of road trips and you have a great read about young people facing the pressures of success and the black void that is the question: "What do I want to do with my life?"
I really loved this book. Although my school / university experience was way, way different in Canada, anyone not sure what they want to do with themselves after high school will relate. The writing is honest and sharp, the characters speak like real teenagers which is a refreshing change in a world of YA literature where fifteen year olds sometimes talk like university professors.
Anyone that's ever felt like an outsider, that has felt the urge to create something while maintaining their integrity and not succumbing to the whims of public demand will feel something for this book and these characters. Don't miss it.
I recommend Radio Silence to Years 10 and up.