Book Review

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard

book-review-spoiler-free

22nd February to 11th March~ Physical ~ Link to Goodreads

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

Synopsis:

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.
From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.

Review:

This was a super cute, really quick read which also dealt with some interesting topics. Steffi is riddled with anxiety (mainly social anxiety) and this causes her to really struggle to speak to people. When she was younger her dad and step mum thought it would be a good idea for her to learn sign language so she had another way to communicate. This skill is what gets her paired up with Rhys on his first day at her school. Rhys is deaf and up until now he has been going to a school where his friends and his teachers are able to communicate with him.

In terms of plot I think it was a little too cliche and cheesy in places. I think I’d have preferred them to be friends rather than fall in love especially since the book is so short it felt rushed and a little convenient. That being said it didn’t really bother me as much as most insta-love stories do. Throughout the book we see both Steffi and Rhys dealing with difficult and sometimes frustrating situations for them both and this seemed to be more of a focus that the relationship as a rule.Untitled 1

If I was rating this book only on Steffi and her struggle with anxiety it would without a doubt be a 4.5. The only reason it would miss out on 5 stars is because I wish books would talk about what happens to your body during a panic attack not just what goes through your mind. There is a page in this book that almost brought me to tears (a difficult job in itself), the page was Steffi’s normal everyday thought process. I found it so relatable the page was pretty much full of “what if’s” and “did I’s” from did I leave the straighteners on to what if someone I love dies and everything in between. My mind is always in this kind of fast paced whirl and cycle and it is exhausting!

I think this book, though really short, really handled the struggles deaf people go through really well too. It brought to light so many things that I just take for granted and it made me want to learn BSL. Just imagining not being able to hear people approach me or being unable to keep up with a conversation because people are talking too fast for me to lip read or they’re facing away slightly so I can’t see their lips made me feel a anxious and jittery. I felt quite frustrated for him throughout the book and I just wanted to yell at people to face him and talk slower before realising that it is also is one of those things that I think I would slip up on too in that situation.

The handling of the mutism, anxiety and deafness is brilliant throughout this book but the rest was a little lack lustre in places. I think Rhys’ personality fell into the “mopey and bland” trope I really dislike in YA. I think that authors often fall into the trap where they think that male leads who are romantic and sweet also have to be dull. We never really find out what Rhys’ interests, hobbies or dislikes are in this book and this makes him a little one dimensional. Steffi too lacks a personality. Both of them seem to only be 2 things; their disabilities and the other persons partner.

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The middle was a little frustrating for me because it turned into one of those kind of books where the couple don’t talk to or spend time with anyone else and it’s just those two relying pretty heavily on each other. This was definitely redeemed by the end as Steffi was called out for doing this and had to suffer the consequences it leads to with friendships. Also both Steffi and Rhys seemed to take a step back and think about how they’d been acting and by the last few pages they were talking about how they needed to change and rely more on themselves going forward.

The best part about the end for me though was that Steffi still didn’t see how well she’d done or that she’d had many personal victories until someone pointed it all out for her. As someone who suffers with anxiety I think it’s really hard to celebrate the little victories because you always see how far you have left to go. I do think it’s important to try really hard to celebrate them though and give ourselves a pat on the back frequently.

Overall: I really loved this book I think it handled the topics really well and in a really accessible way. It was quick, fun and really easy to read. In terms of the plot and the relationship this book would be a pass and  only a 2 star rating as it’s all been done before but it is something I would recommend highly because of how well I think their struggles are written!

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Representation:

I think it’s pretty obvious from my review above that I think the anxiety was handled really well in this book. I have been looking for the longest time for books that talk about anxiety in an accurate way because I think that, sadly, it’s still something that isn’t talked about enough. I also think that it handled the difficulties deaf people face on a daily basis really well too. This is a topic that I don’t think I’ve read anything before that has a deaf character let alone someone who is featured heavily throughout so I think this will be a great book for people to read to get a good idea of the struggles. I think in places it seemed to hint that love is a cure for anxiety but by the end there are some realisations that you can only help yourself in the end.

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Have you read A Quiet Kind of Thunder?

What are some of your favourite books that talk about anxiety?

Is this book on your TBR?

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9 thoughts on “A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard

  1. I’m sorry this book (as far as plot is concerned) came up short, but yay for great representation! Ugh it would be nice to have both aspects though… great plot AND great representation. Did I ever mention to you that I thought Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin did a really great job of portraying anxiety? Or at least I think so. I am not sure if you would enjoy the plot would be the only problem…

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