My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
This was my first book from Sara Barnard and it won’t be my last. It’s a very sweet coming of age story and is absolutely packed full of feels. I was worried it would be an angsty and depressing story but it couldn’t be further from this. Yes I did shed a couple of tears but mostly it just made me smile and laugh. I loved it.
The Blurb (from GoodReads)
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.
As Steffi seems to be a lover of lists such as “The 10 stupidest things people say to you when you don’t talk” and “The Top 5 Worst Times to be Mute” I couldn’t resist creating my own list of the 7 Things I Loved about A Quiet Kind of Thunder:
- The lists – I’m a lover of lists and Steffi’s lists are used to great effect. They’re often funny (as you can probably tell from the previous examples) but the author makes great use of them to demonstrate a number of different things including Steffi’s previous experiences, the attitudes of others and sometimes whatever she’s thinking about what’s going on right at that moment. Beware there are a couple of lists which made me laugh out loud (thankfully I was at home at the time).
- Steffi – I loved Steffi from the very first few pages. She’s been struggling with selective mutism for years but rather than giving up she keeps trying. She wants to get better, to fit in or at least be included and accepted and to be able to do what others her age can like speak to a shop assistant, ask for help and go to Uni. She’s also just a genuinely nice person, with a tendency to think the worst of herself (something I can definitely relate to).
- How it portrays living with anxiety – it’s so realistic at times I found it scary. As someone who has suffered from anxiety since my teens I was impressed with how well the author reflected those feelings. You’re inside Steffi’s head so you get her stream of consciousness as she worries about things, panics over nothing and becomes frozen and unable to move or speak. While I have never been mute (although I am quiet) I can honestly say her thoughts at times were a mirror of my own.
- Rhys – OMG Rhys!!! (yep I OMG’d), he’s just sooo cute and sweet and just loveable. He’s deaf so is almost the opposite of Steffi in that she struggles to be heard and he can’t hear but they have a surprising amount in common. He’s also just so lovely and understanding and funny and a bit mischievous. One of the highlights of this story for me were the text conversations between him and Steffi. I loved how he teased her.
- The romance – sorry romance haters but there’s a really cute (I seem to be using that word a lot) romance between Steffi and Rhys. It’s not lightning bolt, insta love but a slow building, realistic and healthy relationship. They just seem to instantly click and have some real chemistry. I was rooting for them to get together and make it even though they do have some issues. Even if you don’t like romance I think you will like this one.
- There’s no magic cure – I hate to tell you this but meeting a boy doesn’t result in Steffi suddenly becoming happy, confident and outgoing (if only it were that easy). She works at it and she gets professional help and support.
- The feels – there are just so many feels in this book and most of them were happy. I did have a little cry at one point (only a couple of tears, I promise) and I got frustrated and angry but mostly I found myself smiling and laughing.
Overall this is just an easy, enjoyable and fun read that I couldn’t put down. I did have a little niggle about the ending but it’s fairly minor. I’d recommend this book to everyone and I will be hunting down Beautiful Broken Things as I loved this author’s writing and want to read more.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. All gushing is my own 🙂