Author: Sara Barnard
Genre: YA, Contemporary
FOR OLDER READERS
Release: January 2017
Steffi doesn’t talk. She has selective mutism, and avoids talking to people so much so that her step-mother started teaching her BSL. There’s only one person she is open to, her best friend Tem, who has always been there for her. But Steffi is starting Sixth Form and Tem has transferred school. Steffi hasn’t told anyone, but Sixth Form is not the only big change in her life: she also started taking medication. And on the first day, the principal decides to introduce her to a new student: Rhys. Rhys is deaf. She doesn’t talk, and he can’t hear. Little by little, they get to spend more time together, and Steffi realises she is comfortable around Rhys. And apparently, he likes spending time with her as well…
This book was a small ball of happiness, really. It was so cheesy and fluffy, and more importantly, extremely beautiful. I think I fell in love with it immediately. Steffi is an extremely relatable character for me. As a kid, I didn’t have selective mutism, but I never talked in class, I hated it. And it was always a struggle for my teachers. Even now, I always feel the need to mentally congratulate myself when I talk in class… And even when I get out of my room, for that matter. I know what social anxiety feels like, and it was wonderfully depicted in A Quiet Kind of Thunder. Truly, this book was really beautiful, and I believe it can really be an eye-opener if you have no idea what having anxiety feel like. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, as I find it impossible not to like it. And it really touched me personally.
The thing about this book, is that it really felt real. It’s not insta-love. It is cheesy, but not too cliché. It’s a relationship with ups and downs that is slowly built. You can see the struggles of high school – whether you have anxiety or not. How hard it is to talk to people. How hard it is to face your feelings, to confess, to confront someone. This book is about a character with mental illness, but also one with a disability. And it just shows how much like anyone they are. This books is about first relationships, about family, about growing up, about friendships. It is a wonderful, adorable love story, and also so much more. This book will give you confidence.
I especially liked the fact that it was clearly stated that Steffi did not get better because of Rhys. He obviously played some part in it, helping her get more comfortable in general. But she also put a humongous amount of work into it, with what of her therapy sessions, her medication, accepting herself and all of her efforts. And that is what makes this book so beautiful and amazing in my opinion. Because in reality, you don’t get better because you met a boy. The truth is, you need to take care of yourself before getting yourself into a relationship. That’s just how it works.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder depicts characters who are terribly human. They have flaws, they lack confidence, and they want to do better. And it’s extremely moving to read such a thing. Yes, I fangirled a lot while reading this book – as I said, it can get extremely cheesy – but it is also so much more than that. This book is not all about Steffi and Rhys, it’s also about her family and friendship, and that’s what makes it so real.
All these opinions are mine, obviously, and I could really relate to Steffi, in ways that some people may not understand. However, I will never stop thinking that everyone should read this book. I think so far, it is the best book I have read in 2017!
If you have read A Quiet Kind of Thunder, please feel free to share your opinion as – in case you hadn’t noticed – I would really love to discuss it with you! If you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?