"What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
Frances is a study machine with one goal. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret - not even the person she is on the inside. Then Frances meets Aled, and for the first time she's unafraid to be herself.
So when the fragile trust between them is broken, Frances is caught between who she was and who she longs to be. Now Frances knows that she needs to confront her past. To confess why Carys really disappeared...
Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has."
The book is told from Frances' perspective as she lives through A Levels. Frances works very hard at school, is head girl and has her sights set on studying English Literature at Cambridge University, which means that she has a reputation for being clever, sensible and boring. This is just School Frances though - Real Frances is a massive fangirl who spends all her time (when she's not doing homework) drawing fanart for a fantasy YouTube podcast called Universe City. The novel begins when one day, Frances receives a message from the creator of Universe City asking her to become the new Universe City artist. This changes her life because (spoiler alert), she soon realises that this mysterious creator, the anonymous "Radio Silence", is, in fact, Aled Last, the boy who has lived across the street her entire life. Over the summer when Frances has just left year 12 and Aled year 13, they become close friends and bond with their similar tastes in clothes, TV shows, films and enthusiasm for Universe City. At the same time, Frances begins to doubt how much Aled actually wants to go to university September and question her own reasons for working so hard for school.
When Aled's identity as the creator of Universe City is uncovered by obsessive fans as a result of mistakes made by Frances, their friendship falls apart. Aled goes away to university and cuts off contact with Frances and with his boyfriend Daniel. On the day of Frances' and Daniel's Cambridge interviews, their friend Raine skips school to drive them, and they all reflect on the purpose of the education system and on why Aled might be refusing to talk to them. It's only when Frances is in the middle of her interview that she realises that she doesn't actually care about studying English Literature and it all goes horribly. When Daniel finishes his interview the two talk for a bit about Aled and Daniel tells Frances about how their relationship started and the fact that he doesn't think Aled ever really liked him that much.
Frances had stopped listening to Universe City for a while after Aled left, but after the interviews, she starts listening to one just to see what it's like and when she hears how incoherent and chaotic the latest episode is, she becomes more seriously concerned about Aled's well-being. It's the Christmas holiday so she goes over to Aled's house across the street to see when he's coming home for Christmas, but his mum informs her that he's decided to stay at the university over the break, then shows Frances up to Aled's room, which she has stripped of all its decoration and all the things that made the room feel like Aled's, which Frances is horrified by. She saves a box of a few leftover things and then at home for the first time in months, she tries calling Aled, and this time he actually picks up. Frances manages to convince him to come and stay at her house for Christmas, but when he arrives he goes over the road to talk to his mum and discovers that she has had Brian, Aled's Labrador, put down. Aled decides to go straight back to uni again because he can't stand to be near her, and before he goes he tells Frances about a time when his twin sister Carys had bought some clothes that she was really excited about and his mum burned them in front of her.
Frances receives a letter from Cambridge University a while later. She doesn't get in, and she feels like all the work she's put in to get to this point has been for nothing and that her entire life has been a waste. She tries to continue about her life after this and she tries to contact Aled again but he doesn't reply. She keeps listening to Universe City until one day at the end of January, Aled posts the final Universe City episode with the title "Goodbye" which is just nothing but white noise. This renews her concern about Aled and also allows her to work out the mystery of "February Friday" who is a Universe City character who doesn't appear in any of the plots but who is addressed by Radio Silence as though they are talking directly to this character. Frances works out that all these messages (known as the "Letters to February") are actually messages from Aled to Carys.
Carys ran away from home after her year 11 results day, perhaps because of her poor relationship with her mum and her mum's reaction to her terrible grades. Frances mentions throughout the novel that she blames herself for Carys running away because Frances kissed her and Carys reacted badly. Aled's story about his mum burning Carys' clothes is the piece of the puzzle that finally helps Frances to work out February Friday because of references to fire in Universe City. Because Frances knows that this whole time Aled has been trying to reach out to Carys, who he hasn't heard from since she disappeared, Frances decides that the best way to help Aled is to find Carys and get her to help him.
With the help of Frances' mum, she and Raine get hold of Carys' address, and Frances takes the train to London. She finds Carys living quite successfully with roommates and a job at the National Theater. Frances manages to convince her, gradually, to come with her to see Aled after she explains all about Universe City and Aled trying to reach out to her. Carys comes back to Frances house and stays overnight, and Carys kisses Frances to make up for reacting badly last time, but Frances admits she doesn't really have a crush on Carys anymore, so they stop kissing. In the morning, Raine drives them both along with Daniel to Aled's university. They manage to find his room and Frances goes in alone so they don't overwhelm him and she finds the room in an absolute mess with piles of hate-mail on his desk from fans who are angry at him for ending Universe City.
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- The main characters of Solitaire all have cameos in Radio Silence.
- Earlier titles for Radio Silence were ‘Universe City’, ‘The Academics’, ‘Young Adult Machine’, ‘Cosmic Noise’, ‘Nothing Left for Us’ and ‘Magic 18′. However, all of them were denied by the publishers.