A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard ~Goodreads~
Published by Macmillan Children’s Books 2017
Paperback edition 320 pages ~Book Depository~
Thank you to My Kind of Book and Macmillan for sending me a review copy of this fantastic book.
Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.
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.
Having read Beautiful Broken Things last year and managing to fall in love with Sara’s writing, I just had to get a copy of A Quiet Kind of Thunder and thanks to the lovely people at Macmillan/My Kind of Book I was able to.
The one way I feel I can explain our protagonist Steffi is that she has a voice (or not even) of a real teenager. She gossips with friends, has crushes, she doesn’t always get on with her family, but she loves them all the same. I think as a teenager we all feel these things. Sara is really great at writing about relationships, whether its friends, family, or romantic love. She just hits the nail on the head.
Steffi is a selective mute and finds it really hard to communicate with others, but not her close family and friends. Then she meets Rhys, who also has difficulty communicating with others because he’s deaf. They both struggle with mental health issues surrounding their disabilities, but what makes their relationship in this book beautiful is the way they accept who they are and find a way of making each other feel like they aren’t any different to anyone else. I want to squish them both because they really are adorable. I also found it really endearing where Sara writes in the BSL actions in the book too, so I was learning something too.
This book explores a range of topics that evolve around teenage life, whether its mental health, body image, romantic relationships including the pressures of sex. We see that it really doesn’t matter when we do things in life, only that we should feel ready to do them when its right for us and not others. I feel this is an incredibly message for YA readers to take on board, not necessarily a specific age group.
This is a steady going book in the best possible way, its a journey that with Sara’s storytelling is a red hot page-turner. Sara creates the most relatable characters I think I have ever read in YA fiction, and I feel a personal love towards them all as if they’re my close friends and I think that’s an incredibly special value to find in a book these days.
I’m now excited for what Sara comes up with next.