Reviews

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard | Book Review

I’m always on the hunt for a cute new contemporary – especially when the weather starts warming up and summer finally arrives.

There are few things in this world as satisfying as laying out on a deck chair with a good book and a cool drink as you slowly bake. Lucky for me, the week of #boutofbooks was glorious and so lots of reading was done in this setting, including A Quiet Kind of Thunder.

I’d heard such amazing things about this novel, and the concept seemed really interesting (a romance between a deaf boy and a mute girl had so much potential!) So, I gave it a shot, and was pleasantly surprised.

As a narrator, Steffi was a really interesting choice. As someone fighting with her selective mutism, it was really important that Steffi’s inner monologue was captured to dispel any idea that she was stupid because she was silent, and Barnard achieved that really well. Although the novel obviously addressed Steffi’s mental illness, it was done in a light way which made it a lot more absorbable. I definitely think mental illness should be discussed in this more casual manner more often in literature – it was very effective.

Then, there was Rhys… sigh… I really liked Rhys. Usually, I’d never push for a dual perspective narration, but a part of me really wishes we had gotten to see something from Rhys’ perspective (a novella from him would be really nice.) I think it would have helped to further capture Rhys’ problems, and give more of an appreciation for his own inner battles in a silent world. Ultimately, I’m just really happy that he was included and that sign language was presented as a cool thing to learn – I’ve wanted to take a course for years and this book has completely reinspired me.

I think, if I were asked, I’d place this novel somewhere between Young Adult and New Adult on the spectrum. Although it wasn’t explicit, there were some sexual references which may be inappropriate for a younger reader. However, I’m not going to stick an age on it, because everyone matures at different rates – just make sure you use your own judgment and do a bit of research.

While we’re still hovering around the topic of characters, let’s talk about Steffi’s parents. Am I the only one who hated Steffi’s mother? Her Dad was a complete legend, but her mother was crazy selfish and totally oblivious to Steffi’s needs and feelings. Normally, I’d say something more about the family dynamic of this story, especially because Steffi’s family was so completely messed up. However, Rhys’ nuclear family helped to offset it nicely, so I made my peace with it in this instance.

This definitely isn’t a plot driven novel, which makes sense for the characters, but might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s all about character development (both together and separately) and shows us how they can overcome their difficulties, meaning the plot is more subtle than some other YA contemporaries.

I feel like the layout of the book really helped to break up the plot and keep it interesting. The combination of messages, jackbyte conversations and lists, interweaved throughout the text really helped to move the story along and added a whole extra layer of personality to the piece.

Overall, I really liked this book (I so nearly gave it 5/5 that it hurts). However, when I compared it to Everything Everything (5/5) and Under Rose Tainted Skies (4/5)… it definitely fitted more with my feelings about the latter, and so sits with a comfortable 4.5/5 stars – still not bad. If you’re in the market for a cute, quick summer read I’d definitely check this one out, it’s a lovely one to fly through in the sun.

If you’ve read this novel, make sure to leave me a comment down below… how did it stack up for you? I want to hear all about it!

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