Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying.
Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As.
You probably think that they are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and she is a girl.
They don’t. They make a podcast.
In a world determined to shut them up, knock them down, and set them on a cookie cutter life path, Frances and Aled struggle to find their voices over the course of one life-changing year. Will they have the courage to show everyone who they really are? Or will they be met with radio silence?
I picked this up from a list of books with Aro/Ace characters as it happened to be one of the few on the list that I could get from the library. I knew nothing about it until I collected it and despite not usually being a fan of YA Contemporary, I was immediately intrigued by the fact that it’s made clear straight away that Francis and Aled are not going to fall in love.
Now, I would disagree with that. They’re definitely in love with each other but a platonic friendship love rather than romantic. Indeed their growing friendship was the highlight for me as it was so nice to see such a nice, comfy friendship grow as I loved both of them and was just so happy seeing them happy. At it’s core, this is a book about friendship and growth and dealing with that awkward “What am I going to do now?” phase at the end of High School.
Reading this, with all the references to things like social media, reminded me so much of when I was a teenager on Tumblr and made me think of how much I would have loved friends like Francis and Aled at that age. I found them both very relatable, particularly Francis with her self-doubt and fear of not being good enough. I loved the idea of the Podcast and really enjoyed the snippets of it we saw throughout the novel.
The characters in this are also all very diverse – not only are the majority of the main and side characters Queer, but several of them are also varying ethnicities (Francis is half Ethiopian, Raine is Indian and Daniel is South Korean). It’s always great to see more intersectionality in representations of Queer characters.
If you are looking for a great book to read for Pride month then I highly recommend this. It’s an absolutely fantastic book and I just want to hug every single character in it.