SOURCE: ARC Sent By Publisher
TITLE: A Quiet Kind Of Thunder
AUTHOR: Sara Barnard
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children's Books
GENRE: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
RATING: 5/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- The diversity was by far the best aspect of this book because Sara Barnard became one of those few, rare authors who remembered that not everyone is white, straight and physically/mentally able. Steffi, the MC, suffers from crippling Anxiety and Selective Mutism. Rhys, the love interest is mixed race and deaf which has to be the first time I've read that in a story ever. Even side characters such as Tem (who is black) are diverse and it really gave the story much more depth.
- Barnard's ability to write good characters and gorgeous relationships is incredible. I knew this from 'Beautiful Broken Things' but didn't know that she could pull off romance just as well as friendship! She didn't let friendship go completely, and watching Steffi and Tem interact was just as heart-warming to read as following Steffi and Rhys' relationship. I liked that they started as friends, I like that their feelings grew over a longer time than is usually found in YA, and everything from the initial 'crush' to the development into love felt so realistic.
- Boy, did this author do some fantastic research. I already know from my own experiences about anxiety and I can safely say that Barnard was either pulling from her own experiences or went to town in nailing exactly what it feels like from other people because she got it so right. As for the inclusion of the deaf community, BSL and the hardships that come with being deaf, Barnard taught me so much and I'm glad she bravely decided to tackle the topic. Rhys, as I said before, was a great character with boyish charm and a adorable, fun nature. But even better, he came with his own insecurities and vulnerable moments which is important to be seen in a guy too.
What I Disliked:
- Honestly, I didn't dislike anything about this book. If I had to pick something I wanted to be improved I'd say that the ending seemed to cut off a little strangely, as if Barnard wasn't 100% sure how to finish her masterpiece. The pacing towards the climax of the book felt a little quick too, but I still really liked how the book ended and have 100% fallen for every one of those characters.
Gah! Everything about this book makes me want to squeal and I think I'll be having a book hangover for a few days after this one. I don't usually like romance but this perfectly and realistically portrayed how teenage romance feels, and I loved the inclusion of so many realistic scenarios such as first time sex (and hand job) in a way that doesn't normally get seen in YA or in fact most books. It was messy, awkward and yet still kind of hot, which is exactly what it is like. Especially the first time. I liked this book even better than 'Beautiful Broken Things' and I'm really looking forward to the next Barnard book!