Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pub Date: January 12, 2017
Format: Kindle eBook
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon
Synopsis from 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.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
“It’s not up to you to make my world smaller or bigger,” I say. “That’s up to me. But I want you to be in it. And I want to be in yours.”
You might think that you have this book all figured out. Steffi and Rhys. Mute and deaf. Bronze and Gold. But there is so much more to it than that.
The representation in this book is phenomenal. The main characters (and their friends) are all either mixed-race or POC. And as if that isn’t amazing enough, our two protagonists are selectively mute and deaf. The diversity is commendable, but I certainly hope this was written for people who can identify with these characters, as opposed to being written with the intention of coming across as “something different”.
Others have said this better than myself, but it goes without saying that I am neither deaf nor mute. Although I loved the diversity and representation in this novel, I have no right to say whether or not these circumstances are handled accurately and respectfully. I can, however, say that the depiction of anxiety and panic attacks are very accurate and portrayed authentically (speaking from personal experience). Besides that, I would really like to know how other readers (who are represented in this book) feel about the portrayal of selective mutism and deafness. I feel like it raised some very important issues about how people are treated by society when they do not communicate like the majority. It has also rekindled my love and appreciation for sign language. We can speak our thoughts without using our voice. We can listen and understand without using our ears.
So, yeah, you could say that this book is about a lot more than selective mutism and deafness. It is about love. Love is loud and explosive and quiet and soft.
Steffi and Rhys are all of the above. They want to take care of each other so badly that it hurts my heart. It’s so cute. But do not be mistaken, they don’t fall in love because they are both different. Being deaf or selectively mute is just a part of who they are. Falling in love just happened naturally because they are both lovable people.
I feel like it’s also worth mentioning that the romance did not overshadow the important issues discussed in this book. Instead, it highlighted them. Both Steffi and Rhys questioned why they were attracted each other, and they raised some very important thoughts in the process. It’s very enlightening. I personally thought it was fantastic.
Basically, I just really loved this book. It’s insta-love and fluff in all the best ways. And it’s diverse as heck! Does it get any better than that?