By Alyssa Cole
The books are Radio Silence, Signal Boost, and Mixed Signals.
I’m not even sure how I came across these books, but I devoured them, haha. I mean, a black girl and an Asian boy meeting and finding loooove during the apocalypse? Then Asian boy’s gay brother and random Scandanavian? Then Asian boy’s cool sister finding more loooove in childhood Latino family friend? I mean, the author was ticking all the diversity boxes. I’m not sure whether I’m too used to characters being mainly white, particularly in the US context which is where they’re based in this series, but the level of diversity almost felt forced. So I’m not sure if that’s the author’s writing or my difficulty changing my paradigm to one that actually accepts diversity as the status quo. If the latter, it’s okay, because that’s why we’re doing this, right? To change that mentality and start to accept that, hey, why can’t a family just have a bunch of different coloured people who fall in loooove.
I keep writing looooove, mind you, because that’s what happens. This is a traditional teenager/young adult series. It has them meet, sparks just flying all over the place (and I think back to when I met my boyfriend, and just, nah, this did not happen haha) and the relationship immediately takes root, drama drama, but all things are solved in the end because, no matter what, they have looooove.
I mean, the plot itself is pretty interesting, but that might be because I love a good apocalypse or alternate universe, and here the cell towers or satellites have messed up, there’s no signal (get it? Radio silence, signals?) so no internet, no phone calls, etc. People are losing it, everyone’s Izzy-level “survival of the fittest” and the main black girl and her gay Asian roommate decide to go to his family’s cabin in the woods where his family are supposed to be. It’s quite clichéd. The way they describe these characters, they’re caricatures of beauty and intelligence and insert-positive-adjective-here; like the Asian sister’s “spunky” and “fierce” and “independent”, the way the rebel Asian girl is supposed to be. But that’s what makes a good teen book. Easy characters, easy plot, easy reading.