ARC Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard10:00
Author: Sara Barnard
Published January 12th 2017 by Macmillan Children's Books
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.
The stunning follow up to Beautiful Broken Things is a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.
This was the first book I read this year, but still it's taken me until the middle of April to write a review, whoops. However, that has nothing to do with the book, rather with how crap I've been at the moment with reviews. I hadn't read Sara's debut book, but had heard fantastic things about it, and her second book seemed right up my street, and it honestly blew me away as I was reading it.
In A Quiet Kind of Thunder, our main character, Steffi, has been unable to talk to people she isn't intimately comfortable with, for as long as she can remember. One day, she just stopped speaking to others, and no one has been able to work out why. She's starting sixth form, with the issue of new people, and having more pressure to talk than ever before. However, it is at her old school, and there's still people who are aware of her difficulties. When one of the new students is revealed to be deaf, she is asked to be his guide, as the only other person in the school who knows sign language, no mater how basic her knowledge is. As Rhys begins to help Steffi learn more with her sign language, and she helps him with navigate his way around sixth form, they grow closer, and soon depend on each other more than anything.
This book was so good! As soon as I picked it up, I knew that I would enjoy it. From the start, I loved Steffi, and how strong she is, even when she doesn't want to be. Barnard must have research the book well, as nothing felt off, or wrong, though I can't know for certain, having never dealt with anything like this. The relationship between Steffi and Rhys, though a large part of the book, wasn't all of it, and we saw more of Steffi's own recovery, and journey, rather than her being 'fixed', or whatever, because she's now in a relationship with someone.
I enjoyed reading about both the main characters, and learning more about selective mutism, social anxiety, and deafness. Everything about the book seemed to be needed, and there weren't really any parts of the story that were unnecessary. Yes, there are both cutesy and angsty bits in the book, that could rip you apart as you're reading, but, to be honest, it made the book more enjoyable. I definitely think I'll be picking up Barnard's debut shortly.