Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Published: 12th January 2017
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Summary: Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.
*I recieved a free eARC of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
I was super excited to read this book after hearing the premise – a love story between a girl with selective mutism and a boy who’s deaf. I was worried that this would be a story where the romance fixed all the protagonist’s problems but I’m relieved to say it wasn’t. This book was a breath of fresh air and contained many adorable moments that I highly enjoyed.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder focuses on Steffi, who’s just starting Sixth Form and has struggled with selective mutism and anxiety most of her life. At the beginning of this story Steffi is scared of starting a new year without her best friend Tem who’s studying elsewhere. She’s soon introduced to Rhys, who’s deaf. She’s nervous about meeting him at first. But, Steffi has a basic knowledge of sign language so is able to communicate with him and the pair soon grow close.
I adored how Steffi was portrayed in this novel. Her anxiety was very realistic – focusing on how thoughts can accumulate then spiral out of control and how a quiet person can have a loud inner monologue. Steffi develops over the course of this novel as she tries to overcome her anxiety with the help of family, therapy and medication. It was really refreshing reading a book with such a positive representation of different treatments for mental health issues, like anxiety.
“I like to wear jumpers with long sleeves that go right down over my wrists and hands and fingers. Meekness is my camouflage; silence is my forcefield.”
Both Steffi and Rhys were lovely characters who encapsulated the joy and awkwardness of starting a relationship. They complimented each other well but that didn’t mean that things for them were all plain sailing. The two had their ups and downs, experiencing everyday new couple problems as well as issues specific to them.
I also loved that there was a strong friendship in this book between between Steffi and Tem, who she’s known since she was a child. They understood each other well and this story highlighted how important it is to have someone close to you for support.
The story flowed well and was engaging from the beginning. This is a story you will fly through! My only (small) issue with this story is that the ending felt sudden to me. This was because I wanted to follow these characters further to learn more about them and I was sad to let them go.
I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read this. If you love sweet romances I recommend you give this book a go. It was wonderfully written and featured realistic characters that you will quickly become attached to.