Title: A Quiet Kind Of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Macmillan Books
Release: January 2017!
Genre: Contemporary, mental health, disabilities
Which animal is similar to this book? An owl is known to be wise, beautiful and elegant; all qualities shared with this book. The book is witty and intelligent and addresses everything in a mature and delicate but brutally honest way. The blossoming friendship and subsequent romance is beautiful and real and the way in which the story plays out is very elegant and not rushed at all. Owls are also considered funny since they have problems flying in the rain and they also look quite funny bobbing their head around too. This book is mainly serious but there are aspects of humor within the dialogue, including a lot of sarcasm and some awkward miscommunication.
The blurb says: 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.
The story follows Steffi and Rhys, each dealing with their own problems (although it’s told from Steffi’s perspective) and how they can actually help each other to deal with them. It’s a beautiful story of how love and compassion can influence the recovery of someone suffering with mental health issues. Sara Barnard writes it exactly how it is; friendship or romance (in some cases) can be really useful with mental health issues because it gives the sufferer someone to rely on as well as someone to try hard to recover for.
The characters are realistic and easy to relate to since they’re very serious but also very sarcastic and funny and actually I was reading it and realising I’m very similar to Steffi. She suffers with anxiety a lot worse than mine since she has selective mutism, but she wants to work with animals and is looking at training. Her dog also gives her confidence and she finds it a lot easier to talk about things that she’s passionate about (eg: animals) which is something I can definitely relate to. The way it’s written is so accurate and honest and there’s no “glamorising” it.
It’s also very emotional, I found myself actually crying at some points because I understood what the characters were going through and I knew how hard it would be for them. There are aspects of family issues, friendship and romance as well as the obvious mental health/physical health issues but everything links very well and it was an absolute pleasure to read. It took me under five hours to read and I stayed up very late to finish it (which doesn’t happen often!). It’s a real beauty of a book and I feel like more people should read it just so they can understand things like anxiety/selective mutism/deafness and the impacts they can have on someone’s life, because it isn’t as simple as they can’t go to parties, or they can’t hear. There’s a lot more to it and I think this book should be taught in schools or at least promoted in school libraries because reading this could maybe make someone feel less alone in their own struggles.
Overall, I loved it, so 10 out of 10 paw prints! I would love to read more about Steffi and Rhys because I feel somehow connected to them now, and I will definitely be buying the finished copy when it’s released!