Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from Pansing Books, a regional distributor, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard • contains 320 pages • published January 12, 2015 by Macmillan Children's Books, Macmillan Publishers • classified as Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult • obtained through Pansing Books • read as ARC • shelve on Goodreads
Steffi doesn't talk.
Rhys can't hear.
They understand each other perfectly.
Love isn't always a lightning strike. Sometimes 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.
Mixed Thoughts on Premise at First
Before A Quiet Kind of Thunder, I had never read a book involving a character with selective mutism, nor a character who is deaf. It didn’t occur to me previously that I hadn’t until I had the opportunity to review this book. I was a little unsure if I would like it because it’s primarily a romance novel. On the flip side, Sara Barnard wrote this and I really enjoyed her debut, Beautiful Broken Things, so I was still curious.
As I said, I was apprehensive that A Quiet Kind of Thunder was pitched as romance, especially because romance often turns into the solution. While that certainly wouldn’t work for a deaf character, it could theoretically be used as a trope to overcome selective mutism. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case for the most part, and I am very glad for it.
What I didn’t expect was that there’d be a lot of kissing involved. If you’re into young love, honeymoon periods, and basically couples who are bliss personified, then A Quiet Kind of Thunder is perfect for you. It definitely fell high on the cute romance spectrum. The characters had great respect for one another, and didn’t take each other grated, which I appreciated.
What mattered above all else were the characters and their relationships. Things happened, there were twists, and such but they didn’t take centre-stage. The characters did. Given that insight into their lives, the Deaf community, anxiety and selective mutism were the main focus besides the romance, I didn’t mind. There was a lot of depth in developing their individualities, their friendships, their families, etc. Instead of going for surprising twists, the plot was given a lot of space to breathe.
Although a lot of time was spent unpacking social anxiety and selective mutism, I still felt like I got to know Steffi as the person she was in her entirety. She had dreams and ambitions that she worked hard towards, and she was bent on proving that she was capable.