Title : A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author : Sara Barnard
Genre : YA Contemporary
Goodreads summary :
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.
What I Liked
Diversity : This book contains a MC who is selectively mute, and another MC who’s deaf. I know that I’m not the perfect judge of whether the representation of the deaf and the mute community is accurately done or not, but personally I did not find anything problematic or harmful in any way. One thing I really appreciated was how the book wasn’t just about the disabilities of the characters, and both the main characters were more than their personal disabilities. They had character to them, other dimensions to them, and their disabilities were separate from their personalities, which was interesting to read.
Realistic portrayal of teenage relationships : FINALLY. Do you know how many YA contemporary books I’ve read where a teenager falls in love and starts speaking metaphorically and all the problems in their life are automatically solved and apparently it’s the most serious relationship IN THE WORLD? TONS. SO many YA books portray such unrealistic teenage relationships, where sixteen year-olds are saying, feeling and doing stuff you cannot even understand till you’re an adult, and yet somehow these books are acceptable?
This book portrayed a sweet relationship, with all the hesitation, insecurity, confusion and desperation which comes with having a crush, and loving someone at such an young age. It takes you into the confusion felt by the characters, about whether they like each other or not, the confusion of whether they should call each other their ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ or not, of when the ‘crush’ becomes ‘love’ and how a relationship works out. These might seem trivial, stupid things, but this is what happens at sixteen! How much more realistic can you get than this?
Also, I loved how realistic the main characters’ physical relationship was. They’re both not experienced sexually, and watching them take things slowly and gain confidence was amazing. Also, the first time the main characters have sex is so different than what I’ve read in other YA books; it was much more realistic. [Sorry for using the word realistic ten million times.]
Fast-paced and easy-to-read : You can fly through this book; it’s short, fast-paced and easy-to-read. It doesn’t have long monologues or descriptions, has a lot of dialogues, and contains quite a few text messages too. It’s the perfect choice for a short summery read!
Not focusing on the romance solely : The romance in the book is sweet, but there is a lot of other things going on too. There’s an amazing portrayal of friendship, and the family aspect is very dominant in the book too.
What I Disliked
Rhys : Okay he was really sweet and nice in the beginning, but I really wanted to hit him by the end. He was so unreasonable and stupid in the latter half of the book, which led to the main conflict between him and Steffi. [Mild spoilers which to be honest, won’t affect your reading of the book.] Okay so in the end, Rhys voices his views about how it’s his duty and responsibility to protect Steffi, and when Steffi saved his life, he got really mad about how he was the one who should’ve protected her and it was his duty. I was so mad at him, because why does it always have to be the guy’s job to protect the girl? Couldn’t Steffi have saved him; I mean what is so wrong with that? It was real dramatic, what he did in the end.
The ending : Okay the ending was pretty abrupt. I literally turned the past page expecting to read ahead and bam! Acknowledgments. I just felt like the book needed a little more in the end, and though everything was resolved by the ending, it still was a bit rushed.