Book Review | A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard


Genre: YA Contemporary

Publishers: Macmillan Children’s Books

Publication Date: January 12th 2017

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Our author has done such a great job with this one. A Quiet Kind of Thunder is one of those books that when you think about it, it warms your heart and you feel this glorious feeling that resembles something like pure happiness. I loved it, and I’m so glad I read it.

First off, I’d like to talk about the diversity of this book. We actually have a realistic bunch of characters – people of different races, abilities, and states of mental health. Representation like this in YA novels is becoming more and more frequented, but there’s still such a long way to go.

‘Here are three separate but similar things: shyness, introversion and social anxiety. You can have one, two or all three of these things simultaneously. A lot of the time people think they’re all the same thing, but that’s just not true. Extroverts can be shy, introverts can be bold, and a condition like anxiety can strike whatever kind of social animal you are.’

Something I’d like to delve into more is the anxiety aspect within this book. Our main character Steffi was a selective mute, which was caused by anxiety. I was so impressed by the accuracy of the struggles Steffi had gone through and was still going through. I could relate to Steffi, and it was reassuring to see her confidence grow and watch her overcome certain things (or at least have a go at tackling them).

I’m not sure if Sara Barnard has experienced anxiety herself or did in-depth research for this novel, but how she’s expressed anxiety through words was very truthful and skillful. The prose was beautiful – it flowed nicely, and I found myself speeding through page after page.

Our characters were a joy to read about, and the reading experience was really rather unique from anything else I’ve read. Due to Rhys, one of our MC’s and the love interest, being deaf, they speak in sign language quite a lot through-out the book. It was really cool how it was set out when they were signing, and also with the inclusion of text messages between characters, too.

‘Little victories are everything in a world where worst-case scenarios are on an endless loop in your head.’

Steffi and Rhys’ relationship was so sweet (have I mentioned yet that I love Rhys?)! And the friendship between Steffi and her best friend Tem was great (and hilarious) to read.

Overall, this was a nice contemporary read – it discussed some hard hitting subjects, and there was some slight drama, but it wasn’t over the top and fit in with importance to the story line and our MC. I recommend reading this book on a sunny day outside whilst some of your favourite tunes are quietly playing beside you.

Topic Awareness:

  • Mentions of death
  • Injuries
  • Anxiety


– Emma

Read On!

5 thoughts on “Book Review | A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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