Beginner’s Guide to Alice Oseman

Alice Oseman is one of the most authentic and talked-about voices in contemporary YA. Her books are filled with strong friendships, self-discovery, and coming-of-age experiences, while the characters that populate them are both relatable and diverse. This guide can help you work out which Alice Oseman book you should begin with!


If you feel like perfect is the only option: Radio Silence

‘Being clever was, after all, my primary source of self-esteem. I’m a very sad person, in all senses of the word, but at least I was going to get into university.’

Radio Silence is my favourite of Alice Oseman’s novels. I adored the main character, Frances, and felt like I could really relate to her. Radio Silence shows that teens aren’t destined for failure and misery if they don’t make the grade and that they don’t have to sacrifice friendships or doing the things they love to be ‘successful’. I also loved that it was about friendship between a girl and a boy that doesn’t follow a romantic arc.

★ Frances has been 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 has to confront her past. To confess why Carys disappeared… Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.


For first love magic: Heartstopper

‘You like me?’ ‘Was that not obvious?’

Get ready to ‘awwww’ at the cuteness that is Nick and Charlie’s relationship in Heartstopper. Beautifully illustrated, these graphic novels will have you falling for all the characters and cheering them all on. Volumes 1-4 are out now.

★ Nick and Charlie are at the same school, but they’ve never met…until one day when they’re made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realised.

Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.


For a new-age coming of age: Solitaire

‘As far as I’m concerned, I came out of the womb spouting cynicism and wishing for rain.’

Solitaire has been described as The Catcher in the Rye for the digital age. Tori Spring (Charlie from Heartstopper’s sister) is struggling with undiagnosed depression and anxiety. Solitaire is a refreshing YA story that illustrates a first-hand experience of mental health issues and doesn’t romanticise them; I think a lot of teens will identify with Tori’s struggles in this one.

★ My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of exams and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now. Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden. I don’t know what Solitaire is trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden. I really don’t.


For the friendship seeker and those who know love takes many forms: Loveless

‘Give your friendships the magic you would give a romance. Because they’re just as important. Actually, for us, they’re way more important.’

Loveless is a beautiful story of self-acceptance, discovering your identity, and finding out how many different types of love there really are. It is about learning that platonic love can be just as powerful - if not more so, sometimes - than romantic love. This is another great story for anyone exploring their identity because there’s a whole spectrum of LGBTQIA+ representation in this one.

★ At eighteen, Georgia has never been in a relationship and she’s feeling loveless. Although she feels like an anomaly, she still loves romance and is desperate to have her own happily ever after. It’s Georgia’s first year at university and she is ready to find love. But maybe Georgia just doesn’t feel that way about guys. Or girls. Or anyone at all. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe she can find happiness without falling in love.


For the fandom friends: I Was Born for This

‘In an otherwise mediocre existence, we chose to feel passion.’

I Was Born for This is about the importance of friendships, both off and online. The story explores both the good and bad sides of fandom culture through a lens of teenage self-discovery. The story has a wonderful cast of intersectional teens who are represented with sincerity and a casualness that affords readers a true comfort to be who they are.

I was Born for This is a sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking story about the power of believing in something while discovering who you want to be. Told in a dual POV between Jimmy, the lead singer of internationally famous boy band The Ark, who is struggling with the level of fame he’s reached, and Angel, an extremely passionate fangirl of The Ark. I Was Born for This isn’t a romance, rather it’s a reflection of modern teenage life, and the power of believing in something - especially yourself.

Want more? Check out these novellas:

This Winter is set on Christmas day and is narrated by all three Spring siblings: Tori, Charlie, and Oliver. This one is about Christmas angst, a little bit of family drama and a boy who really just wants someone to play Mario Kart with him. It includes illustrations by Alice.

Nick and Charlie is set two years after Heartstopper Vols 1-3. Nick’s excited about going to uni, but Charlie’s scared about being left behind. Can their relationship survive long distance? This one also includes illustrations.

★ Feeling creative? Make sure to check out the Heartstopper colouring book too.

All of Alice Oseman’s novels are stand alone and can be read in any order, so there is something for everyone in her repertoire! Reading through multiple Alice Oseman’s novels, you will be rewarded with character cameo’s and may find some sneaky Easter eggs Alice has left for loyal fans. Happy reading!



Alice Oseman

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