It’s the kind of book I think young people should read. Older teens and young adults in the middle of the scholastic academic rat race. The competition for highest grade and places at the best universities.
The build-up towards the decline of Aled is really well done. I think a lot of parents and students underestimate how lonely and vulnerable it can be at university or college.
Up until that point most young people are kept cocooned in the bubble of home and school. Gifted academics are fooled into thinking that because they are the smartest in their school that they are the smartest overall. Of course this particular bubble bursts when they find themselves in lecture rooms full of smarter and equally intelligent students. They go from being rock stars to one of many in the galaxy.
Not everyone is an academic though, and both schools and parents need to be mindful of students with other skills and talents.
In an effort to appear independent and strong Aled doesn’t reach out for help when everything takes a downward spiral. His only cry for help is Radio Silence.
Another important theme in the book is discovering sexuality and preferences or lack of them. Oseman does this without trying to strong-arm the plot or the reader.
Aside from the friendship between Frances and Aled I think the relationship between Carol and her children is one of the most interesting. In a world of Tiger moms, pushy parents and an ever rising number of children being abused, she was a small character, but a pivotal one.
Carol is the type of parent that flies under the radar when it comes to her behaviour. Outside her four walls she is the epitome of the perfect parent. A helpful respected member of society, who has an entirely different persona for those who know her privately.
I really enjoyed the read, perhaps because a lot of the scenarios rang very true for me.