Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard



A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Published January 10, 2017 by PanMacmillan
Source: the publisher
Rating: 3 stars

From the blurb: 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 is Sara Barnard's second novel. I absolutely loved her debut, Beautiful Broken Things, but I didn't have the same intense feeling for AQKoT.

Sixteen year old Steffi Brons lives in Bedfordshire. She spends school terms living with her dad and step-mum, and holidays with her mum, step-dad, and younger half-sister. She was diagnosed with selective mutism aged 4 and also has severe anxiety, especially in social situations. Steffi talks to her family and to close friends, but is unable to talk in class or to strangers. She starts sixth form at Windham High School, minus her best friend, Tem. She's asked to show a new student around, Rhys Gold. Rhys is deaf and Steffi is assigned to him because she has some knowledge of British Sign Language.

The good thing about this story is how diverse it is. Steffi portrays life with severe anxiety, Rhys and Tem are both children of immigrants, and as already mentioned, Rhys is deaf. Steffi also juggles living between two houses since her parents are divorced and this felt very true to real life.

But though I loved the diversity, I never fully connected with the story or the characters, and therefore didn't have any strong emotional reactions to anything that happened. It's a very romance centered story, but that aspect was believable as it was Steffi's first first serious relationship. The relationship is very quick to start but the portrayal of sex for the first time was honest and realistic.

While A Quiet Kind of Thunder didn't capture my love, I definitely suggest reading Sara's first book, Beautiful Broken Things, because it is stunning.

Ableist language: dumb, gormless, lame, idiot, crazy.

Thank you to PanMacmillan for my ARC.


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