Star Rating: 5/5
Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Genre: Young Adult
Steffi doesn’t talk.
Rhys can’t hear.
They understand each other perfectly.
Love isn’t always a lightning strike. Sometimes 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.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder is the second novel that Sara Barnard has released and is available to buy starting from the 12th, which is this Thursday! Her Debut Novel, Beautiful Broken Things, took the internet by storm with thousands of bloggers, including Zoella, praising it as a must read book. I am yet to read her debut, even though I do own it. When I had the opportunity to read and review her second novel, I jumped at the chance! I wasn’t sure what to expect from the author, there is often times where the Debut novel of an author is their biggest success and I think that I am unique in the fact that this is the first time I have experienced Sara Barnards writing.
Just a quick mention to the beautiful cover. It is definitely one of those books that someone is likely to pick up just because the cover looks pretty. The same is true for a beautiful broken things. I think you can tell from the style of the cover that it is from the same author. I really like this kind of consistency with book covers as it takes me back to the days of Jacqueline Wilson where I would see Nick Sharratt’s illustration and instantly know it was her.
I have always really enjoyed books that have a first person narrative; I feel like this allows me to connect to the characters more and to understand their thoughts and feelings. I really loved the main character, Steffi. As someone who has struggled with social anxiety I really felt for her in her daily struggle to just be able to talk without feeling like the centre of attention.
Perhaps my favourite part about this book, and something which a lot of other books don’t touch on in topics like these is the attitude of Steffi’s mum. She didn’t quite understand how big of a deal some of the small things were to Steffi and when Steffi had originally become mute at a very young age, I thought her mother handled it in a very selfish way. She cried and shouted at Steffi as though the anxiety was something she was doing on purpose. These kinds of attitudes is something that people with anxiety struggle with day to day and it’s something that can even make things worse as you feel guilty for what your loved ones are feeling even though you can do nothing about it.
Rhys was the best character anyone could hope to come into Steffi’s life. He didn’t care that she doesn’t talk and he helped her to communicate in ways that she felt more comfortable and in a way that she felt entirely normal.
I don’t want to give any more away about the story in general. But I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend that if you are thinking of giving Sara Barnard a try, that you do!