♡ This is a spoiler-free review.
♡ Book Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder.
♡ Author: Sara Barnard.
♡ Series: Standalone.
♡ Page Count: 307 Pages (Paperback).
♡ Genre: Young Adult Contemporary & Mental Health.
♡ Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
♡ I kindly received a copy from Pan Macmillan South Africa for review, this has in no way affected my opinion.
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.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder had everything that I generally look for in a good, fluffy contemporary. There was fiery romance, cuteness and best friend troubles, basically everything that makes me happy when reading contemporaries. But just like with Barnard’s first book – Beautiful Broken Things – I found the writing in A Quiet Kind of Thunder a bit lacking and the story fell flat towards the middle and end.
What I liked most about the book was the fact that it included a deaf character and that it focused on BSL (British Sign Language); I also loved that our main protagonist is a selective mute – it was interesting as these are two characters that I have not yet come across in YA books. I also found it refreshing that Steffi was open about her anxiety and mutism and that she was going to therapy for it, I think it’s really great when characters seek treatment.
Steffi’s character was interesting and I could definitely relate to her in certain ways (choosing so spend time with pets rather than humans). I just loved her character as a whole and especially her character growth and development. I wasn’t that fond of Rhys. I really liked him in the beginning, but as time went on I became irritated with his character and I thought that he was sometimes a bit immature. I really liked that family plays such an important role in this book – Steffi has divorced parents but she has healthy relationships with both of them and she also meets Rhys’s parents which I think is really great.
The friendship dynamics are also really great and uplifting. There’s nothing of this bitchy nonsense that we so often see in YA novels. Steffi and Tem are genuinely good friends and they really support one another, they have their ups and downs just like normal friends and I really liked how “normal” their friendship felt. Rhys also has some friends that we get to meet throughout the novel.
Unfortunately I had the same problems with A Quiet Kind of Thunder as I did with Barnard’s first novel; the story line becomes somewhat boring towards the middle and the end and I was just underwhelmed by everything including the characters. Another thing that kind of bothered me was the fact that Steffi hinted that she felt better because she fell in love with Rhys. I’m sorry, but love is not a cure for mental illness!
Overall I thought this was an average read, I only really loved it for the inclusion of deaf and selective mute character.