A giant thank you to Pan Macmillan South Africa for sending me A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, along with The Gilded Cage by Vic James and Freeks by Amanda Hockings in exchange for an honest review.
Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Date: January 2017
Rating: 4.3 stars
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.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard was all kinds of cute! I loved the fact that the cast was so diverse. The topic of social anxiety and mental health was explored in a very authentic way that made the protagonist realistic and relatable. It wasn’t glamorized but rather complicated and not always rational and that was something I could appreciate. I’ll be posting a detailed review on my blog next week. Thank you @panmacmillansa for sending me a copy!
I went into this novel expecting to enjoy it. It looked like a sweet, fluffy romance; one of those quick palette cleansers you read between high fantasy novels, like a little breather in between hectic series.
I was pleasantly surprise by how much I loved this novel. As a person who has dealt with anxiety and depression I can relate to a certain extend with Steffi, who suffers from severe social anxiety and as a result is a selective mute. However, I would love to know how the deaf community feels about the way in which Rhys was portrayed. I personally feel that Sara Barnard did a great job at researching and trying her best to be extremely respectful to both the deaf and mute communities. These portrayals felt authentic and weren’t filled with harmful tropes.
Getting back to the plot and characters, both Steffi and Rhys are instantly lovable. They’re these two teenagers who feel isolated from the world and have created their own little worlds in which they feel most comfortable.
On the one hand you have Steffi, who suffers from severe anxiety and is unable to talk to strangers. She’s given herself this year to prove to herself and her parents that despite being a selective mute, she can look after herself and go to university on her own next year.
On the other hand we have Rhys, who feels out of place in the hearing world and decides to challenge himself by taking 6th form in a main stream school. Much like Steffi, he would like to prove to himself and his parent that he will be able to take care of himself in the hearing world.
These two are introduced to each other at the start of the school year because they are able to communicate using BSL (British Sign Language). Soon their friendship begins to bloom and they find themselves falling in love with each other, but neither of them believes that they are good enough for the other.
This is a story of love and self discovering in a daunting world. A must read if you’re looking for a story that will make you grin like an idiot because Steffi and Rhys are just so cute together, while simultaneously breaking your heart and putting it back together for the heck of it.