None of these characters is what you would expect. Frances is an overachiever whose intense focus is entirely self-inflicted: her mother, though supportive, often seems baffled by her academic goals. Aled is painstakingly reserved but has an insanely creative, outgoing mind. Aled’s twin sister is just missing, and no one talks about it. And the more you learn about their mother, the more you dislike her. Finally, Daniel is competitive and academic, with more parental adversity than support. He’s rude and unlikeable and is somehow best friends with the sweetest, most gentle person.
I love that if you’re paying attention, you get cameos from many characters from both Heartstopper and Solitaire. Their names aren’t mentioned, so if you want to pick out appearances by Nick, Charlie, Michael, Becky, and Tori, you have to pay attention to their physical descriptions. Though their appearances were fleeting, it was still nice to see them within Radio Silence.
This may be my favourite novel by Oseman so far. While This Winter and Nick and Charlie are excellent, it’s undeniable that they are mostly enjoyable due to the perfection of Heartstopper. And where Solitaire was dark but shallow, Radio Silence seems to have found the right balance of important concepts and beautiful execution. I read this book in one sitting, and it felt much shorter than the page count suggests. The emotions really shine through – these characters very clearly care deeply for one another – and carry the narrative to another level.