Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: January 12th 2017
4 OUT OF 5 STARS
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Steffi has selective mutism, but this will be the year she proves herself. Determined to speak in school helped along by her new medication. When she meets Rhys, a new deaf student, she discovers an opportunity to use a different language. As Steffi’s new romance grows she has to deal with a family who is a little too protective and a best friend who’s romance is not going quite as planned.
As far as representation goes, I think that A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a beautiful picture of both a socially anxious and deaf character. This is not a book that ends in a magical cure, and in fact in the deaf character’s case erases the want for a cure at all. It does explore the difference between the hearing world and the deaf world and the communities that come with them and how deafness or mutism can become part of who you are. Barnard has clearly researched well and presents the characters as realistically as possible.
The actual romance aspect is gaggingly sweet. It’s important to note that romance is not written as a cure for Steffi’s condition, although Rhys does support her. This is an issue in many books dealing with mental illness. That said, the relationship is well written and adorable. The sex is VERY real but a little male focused, young adult novels tend to see female orgasms as a nice bonus and not something that should happen in any good sexual encounter.
All in all Barnard has produced a beautiful second novel that is relatable and an absolute joy to read. Her writing style keeps readers interested and her portrayal of BSL (British Sign Language) is enchanting. Barnard writes teens who are silly, lovable and realistic. She includes families and friends giving both of them large parts to play instead of shrinking the world down to the two lovebirds.
Of course, the relationship has issues. Both Steffi and Rhys have boundaries they have to deal with, family and friend issues, but even at the worst moments the book keeps a light and fun tone. This is a pure joy romance and certainly not a tear-jerker. Everyone needs an upbeat book now and again.
A little over the top and cheesy, but full marks for representation and feel good romance.