Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
UK Release Date: 12th January 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health
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.
From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
If you follow me on Twitter, or if you have read a few blog posts from a little while back (like this one before YA Shot, or this one on January releases), then you will know just how excited I was for this book. I really enjoyed Beautiful Broken Things, Sara Barnard’s debut novel, and my review of it was actually the first post I ever made on this blog, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on A Quiet Kind of Thunder, especially with the building anticipation and flood of positive reviews into the YA community.
An aspect that made this book distinctive was the fact that there were quite a lot of communication barriers which the main characters had to face. Steffi had social anxiety and selective mutism, and Rhys was deaf, and as you can imagine, both of these things caused quite a few problems across the book. However, what I loved was that it was not portrayed negatively at all – with the bad came the good, and on the whole there was so much more good than bad. Steffi and Rhys helped each other thrive, and it was a beautiful thing to read, as well as a learning experience for the reader (shout out to the mini guide to the alphabet and numbers in BSL which were on the inside cover of the book).
For me, something that made me love the book even more was the romance. I checked through the log I keep on my laptop, and I hadn’t read a book with a proper romance in for over a month before I picked up A Quiet Kind of Thunder. This book honestly had me squealing (literally squealing aloud!) over the sheer cuteness of the romance – although that’s not to say it wasn’t without its ups and downs for the couple. I think this made it better, as it showed that realistically things aren’t always smooth in a relationship, and seeing as their relationship was already rather improbable and from time to time seemed too good to be true, so the imperfections really made it work.
After the triumph for friendship that was Beautiful Broken Things, it was lovely to see that even though this next book from Sara Barnard largely centred round the romance between Rhys and Steffi, there was still a strong female friendship within it too. I loved Tem, and I loved how she and Steffi were such a crucial part of each other’s lives (Steftember, yes!). Similar to the romance, I liked how their friendships had its ups and downs too, and I loved how close their bond was.
Overall, this book is one that I will certainly be recommending. Despite one or two slightly less realistic aspects, like the almost too perfect relationship between Steffi and Rhys, and one or two reactions to things from Steffi’s parents, I think there was also plenty of harsher, realistic aspects to provide a balance. It was a beautiful romance, and there was so much you could learn from the characters about so many different things.