A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard

SAVE THE DATE: 12th January 2017


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.

This is Sara’s second book. Her first book- Beautiful Broken Things- is a book I’ve been meaning to buy since it came out, but it wasn’t even until half way through this one that I realised it was the same author- and this has only solidified the fact that I need to get my hands on Beautiful Broken Things as soon as I can.

I loved so many things about this book.

  1. it’s a love story. And I may love my angst, death filled fantasy books, but I also adore well written romances. Added bonuses for happy endings.
  2. the main character has anxiety- its explained in the book that she hasn’t technically got selective mutism anymore, its more her anxiety that makes her struggle to talk. She has panic attacks, she struggles to even talk in school, she overthinks so much…and you know something? So many teens are going to read this book and understand. Here is a character they can all relate to- and some of them can read it and think ‘if she can try that, get through that, then so can I.’
  3. the secondary main is deaf. And it’s not just skated over- its a huge part of who he is, and the book is so well done in how he is treated by others, the differences between the hearing community and the deaf community. And the struggles he has to face every day. It kinda makes you realise how much we take our hearing for granted, and how difficult it would be without it- added in the fact that so few people know sign language. (I so wish it was taught at schools)
  4. at the end of some chapters, it describes some BSL which IS WONDERFUL. (this is in the proof copy, I’m hoping it stays in the finished ones next month)

The book isn’t out yet, which means I don’t want to stay too much about it and spoil it, so…

… It was really interesting reading the way the parents treated the two teens- the girls mum constantly almost…reminded her of her mutism. She worries that by her using BSL, she will want to talk even less. She worries that being with the boy, the girls world will get smaller, not bigger. I get it, I do. Parents worry and panic about their children, but often, with cases like this- they forget that if they don’t let their kids try something, it can be worse. (although, being visually impaired, I do think I aged my mother by 30 years while I was growing up, because I had a drive to prove myself. Sail around the UK? Learn Archery? So I do understand- especially with his parents. They just worry) 

It was also interesting seeing how she portrayed the how the two communicated. BSL was bolded, sometimes mixed with actual speech. Though he could lip read, the book brought up problems- a bearded man who’s mouth could not be seen, people acting like ‘deaf’ meant ‘stupid’ (this was like, one line, and my god I wanted to slap that character)

I just… it was just a good book- a brilliant book filled with real characters, relatable characters, and a pretty cute love story.


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