Monday, January 9, 2017
Book Shelf: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
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.
More info on Goodreads.....
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard is a beautifully told story of first love, personal discovery and powerful social issues woven together with an uplifting storyline and adorable romance.
Sixteen year old Steffi has selective mutism. Her whole life has been a struggle to communicate and overcome her inability to talk to those beside her family and best friend. With her best friend attending a different school for the first time ever, Steffi is facing the school year by herself. And then she’s introduced to the new boy. Rhys is deaf and Steffi’s ability to use basic sign language means she's automatically asked to show him around and help him adjust. Rhys is the one person who doesn’t care that Steffi can’t talk and as the two quickly become friends, romance soon blossoms, with Steffi beginning to learn that her voice isn’t as silent as she first thought.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder was a really beautiful book to read. Though this is my first book by Sara Barnard, I was really impressed with how she detailed the story. I thought A Quiet Kind of Thunder was the perfect blend of entertainment and thought provoking social issues. The romance within the story was so very adorable to witness with Steffi and Rhys awkward, sweet and very endearing. Barnard paints first love so sweetly and honestly with the two teens genuinely falling in love and experiencing everything that comes with that throughout the course of A Quiet Kind of Thunder.
As the story unfolds through the eyes of Steffi, I thought Barnard managed to capture Steffi’s voice perfectly. She felt like an authentic sixteen year old girl, and I was easily able to follow and enjoy her story as she navigated all the typical things in life teenagers experience; boyfriends, friendship, kissing, parties, sex, relationships, as well as her own unique issues that came in the form of her selective mutism.
And Rhys! What a cutie! As Steffi’s love interest, Rhys was a wonderful character to get to know within the story. Not even taking into consideration his deafness, Rhys was kind, shy, adorable and so very loveable. I loved being able to see his addition to Steffi’s life and how he helped bring her out of her shell and made her happy. Rhys was a happy individual who seemed to really embrace all the positive things in life, rather than bad things---and I loved that!
I have to give Sara Barnard props for so wonderfully exploring the social anxiety that comes from selective mutism and highlighting how uncontrollable it is in A Quiet Kind of Thunder. The word selective is almost misleading when you think of selective mutism as Barnard details how encroaching it is in Steffi’s life and how illogical it can be. Steffi doesn’t want to be that way, she doesn’t want to be unable to talk; she’s not quiet because she necessarily wants to be that way….she just can’t control it.
Oh, and can I just say how fabulous I thought Steffi’s support system was in this book! Steffi’s parents are divorced and are both remarried but throughout A Quiet Kind of Thunder, Barnard often brings all four of Steffi’s parental figures together to help and support Steffi. It was fantastic to see how this all functioned and I found it very commendable that an author would write such a well-functioning family unit. It’s such a nice change from all the broken and dysfunctional families you read about.
Rich and poignant, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a fantastic addition to the YA genre. There’s so many acts of growth and discovery throughout the story and Sara Barnard ends A Quiet Kind of Thunder in a simple, hopeful way that leaves me satisfied. Beautiful from beginning to end, I highly recommend this story.
Source: Sent for review by publisher (Thank you guys!)
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback ARC
Australian RRP: $16.99
Release Date: 10th January 2017
Purchase: Bookworld | Booktopia | The Book Depository | Amazon
Final Thoughts: Wonderfully written and brimming with honesty A Quiet Kind of Thunder is an adorable and satisfying YA read.