A Quiet Kind Of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Genre/Themes: YA Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: January 12th 2017
Page Count: 320
Format: eARC via NetGalley
*Disclaimer* I was provided an ARC of A Quiet Kind Of Thunder by Sara Barnard through NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion in any way.
A Quiet Kind Of Thunder was the contemporary that I needed right now. I wanted something light and fun and fast-paced, but most of all, I wanted something new and diverse. A Quiet Kind Of Thunder achieved all of these things.
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.
What I Liked
A new perspective. I don’t think I had ever heard of selective mutism until I read this novel. Just by reading the synopsis and seeing it mentioned made me really want to pick this book up in hopes of learning more. After reading the novel and learning that Steffi’s selective mutism was brought on by her severe anxiety, I was extremely glad that I decided to read this novel. I myself struggle with anxiety, and while it isn’t nearly as sever as Steffi’s, it was still really nice to read about a character with similar issues as myself. The moments when we got to see in side her head and her thought process were extremely relatable for me. Thinking of every possible scenario that could happen as a result of one action until you feel like you’re going to be sick is something that I can relate too. I really enjoyed learning about a new form of anxiety and how Steffi was able to grow despite her condition.
Learning BSL (British Sign Language). I’m not saying I’m now fluent in BSL after reading this book, because that is hardly the case, but I love that A Quiet Kind Of Thunder took us through some of the sign language that makes up BSL. There were some things I knew from my VERY limited knowledge of ASL (American Sign Language), like how to say “I love you” and “thank you”, but each chapter header also included the sign for that corresponding number which I thought was a lovely addition to this novel. There were many moments from throughout the novel where the signs that the characters were speaking with were explained to the reader and I really enjoyed that aspect.
The diversity of characters. I feel like a lot of books, especially young adult, are finally making an effort to include a cast of characters that are diverse and it’s about damn time. A Quiet Kind Of Thunder not only features characters of many different races, but it also features characters with different mental and physical disorders. It goes without saying, novels containing diverse characters, ESPECIALLY in young adult fiction, are beyond important. To be able to find a character or a story that you can relate to is one of the most important things about reading in my opinion.
What I Didn’t Like
A little bit of insta-love. It wasn’t as terribly fast as some other stories I’ve read in the past, but the love definitely happened a little too quickly for me. I understand it was supposed to be that little bits of time had passed here and there throughout the story, but it didn’t really feel that way for me. I get that things like love at first sight may exist, and that these two characters definitely had an instant bond, but I kind of wish there was more of a build up to their relationship.
The arguments. There were a few moments where I thought, “are these characters really arguing/fighting about these things right now?”. Some of the problems and arguments felt a little juvenile for me and slightly redundant unfortunately.
While there were a few minor hiccups for me personally, A Quiet Kind Of Thunder was exactly the contemporary that I was looking for. It delivered everything that I had hoped for and it was a fun and fast-paced read. I highly recommend if you’re looking for something new and refreshing in the YA contemporary genre.
About The Author
Sara Barnard lives in Brighton and does all her best writing on trains. She loves books, book people and book things. She has been writing ever since she was too small to reach the ‘on’ switch on the family Amstrad computer. She gets her love of words from her dad, who made sure she always had books to read and introduced her to the wonders of second-hand book shops at a young age. She is the author of Beautiful Broken Things.
Thank you for reading!