Alice’s debut novel stormed the UKYA world last year and by the looks of things, she only seems to be getting better.
Darran of Shinra Alpha was so excited to receive an early copy of ‘Radio Silence’ that he “pretty much screamed. Out loud. On the shop floor. Which in a bookshop is frowned upon.”
Luckily, his excitement was warranted: “It’s better. ‘Radio Silence’ is better than ‘Solitaire’. I KNOW. Big words, but I mean them 100%.”
Jasmine, who writes at JassyFizzle, completely agreed and thought that “compared to Alice’s debut, ‘Radio Silence’ is much bolder and tackles the topic of diversity in a much more blatant manner”.
Darran agrees: “Not a single character is 100% straight, but no character is defined by their sexuality either, and she even touches on ideas of asexuality too. And it’s racially diverse too, proving that there really is no excuse to not write with inclusivity. AND it touches on mental illness with honesty and care.”
But Jasmine hastens to add that “despite containing such varied characters, it never once felt like she was ticking off a diversity checklist; every character felt rounded, and it felt like a realistic depiction of a modern multicultural society.”
In ‘Radio Silence’, Frances makes friends with Aled, the creator of the ‘Universe City’ podcast – and Darran loved these two: “Frances and Aled’s friendship is absolutely everything I want in a fictional friendship ever, and Alice deliberately allows their friendship to never bubble into a romance, which was SO REFRESHING.”
The relationships Alice wrote into the book were just a a general hit. Jasmine loved “the relationship between Frances and her mum. Often YA fiction depicts a negative relationship between mother and daughter which I can’t relate to so for me, it was nice to read about the positive and happy mother-daughter bond that Frances experiences. I also like that Frances’ mum is a working and loving single parent because the media has a habit of portraying single mothers as lazy and elusive which is, for the most part, completely untrue.”
But one of the biggest successes of the novel was the podcast itself. Darran is desperate for more ‘Universe City’: “the podcast theme was absolutely amazing! ‘Universe City’ feels dark, vibrant and perfectly crafted, the excerpts really breaking up the story beautifully with pieces of hugely lyrical writing. I want it to be a real podcast. Alice if you’re reading this let’s make ‘Universe City’. Please.”
Final words of praise from Darran: “This is Young Adult Fiction done flawlessly”. You can’t argue with that really, can you?
Have you read ‘Radio Silence’ yet? Tell us what you thought at @maximumpopbooks!
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