A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Book Review

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(image via http://www.pexels.com)

Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sarah Barnard
Paperback: 307 pages
Published: January 12th 2017 by Macmillan Children’s Books
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

Whilst I loved this book, I’ve found myself knocking off a star for unresolved subplots and minor characters who only appear once.

Rhys’s friends, for example; they appear once, and are then never spoken of again. Also Meg. She seemed pretty cool and I wanted to see more of her.

Sadly, we didn’t get that.

What we did get though, was some brilliant character development through Steffi. Before reading this book, I only had a basic idea of what selective mutism is. It was interesting from that perspective; mutism isn’t a widely spoken of disability, and this book did a great job of explaining it.

She starts out shy and ends up still being shy and having social anxiety – however, she has found her voice. She can use her voice when she needs to. And that’s the main plot.

Also, I loved the relationship between Steffi and Rhys. Not gonna lie, it did feel a little bit like insta-love, but it was adorable and I felt that they genuinely loved each other. The love also started out as friendship, which earns bonus points!

At points, I did feel like the book revolved around the relationship – it felt like Steffi and Rhys were only interested in one another, and all of the other characters faded into the background. I get that in the early stages of a relationship, the couple do tend to focus on one another; this one felt like it was going a little overboard, but that’s just my personal feelings.

Steffi has a best friend, Tem (short for September), who feels a little bit like a token character and makes up the racial diversity of the novel. Actually, she does have a boyfriend, Karam, for a bit and he’s Asian, which is a little bit more diversity, but honestly, there wasn’t a whole load.

Steffi and Tem speak about things other than boys, I think – I don’t remember very well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I read the book! The conversations that I remember were about Rhys and Karam, however they did talk about other things – they pass the Bechdel Test!

Plenty of themes are explored in this book – I just think that maybe too many were taken on. Disability, racism, broken families, death, sex; a lot was covered in what is a relatively short book. It does all link together quite well, but I felt rushed when reading the novel.

In all, I did really enjoy this book – it just didn’t tie up enough loose ends for me. I will admit, I cried in the final scene at the graveyard, and smiled at parts and laughed out loud at parts. It just isn’t quite up there on my all-time favourites list (But it’s probably in my Top 30).

Any other thoughts on this one?

Holly xx

Holiday Haul!

Basically, I have no self-control and a bunch of book shop gift vouchers left over from Christmas, so I came home with a much heavier case than when I went. Whilst I was away, I picked up quite a few books…

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I’m actually already part way through one of them, and so far I am really enjoying it. The others are by recommendation or because I loved the cover.

Here we go!

Plague by Michael Grant
Series: Gone series
Obtained: Bought from Oxfam (charity shop that specializes in books)
Genre: Sci-Fi dystopia
Right, so technically this one is cheating because I’ve already read it, but I’ve been looking for my own copy of this book for AGES. I read the series a couple of years ago by borrowing from the school library, but since then I’ve been collecting the set for myself by finding them in charity shops for £2 each. This holiday, I finally found Plague, my favourite book in the series, and the last one I need!!

Kid Got Shot by Simon Mason
Series: The Garvie Smith Mysteries
Obtained: Bought from Waterstones
Genre: Crime/Mystery
I loved Running Girl when I read it and so far I am loving the sequel. Garvie remains as sarcastic as ever and already I’m caught up in the twists and turns of the mystery.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Series: None
Obtained: Bought from Waterstones
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
I am so excited to read this one. Again, I’m a sucker for a good retelling and even if Cinderella isn’t one of my all time favourites, I still love reading something with a bit of magic. The fact that it’s nerd-based is just an added bonus.

The House of Mountfathom by Nigel McDowell
Series: None
Obtained: Bought from Waterstones
Genre: Fantasy
…so maybe I picked this one up because of the cover. It reminds me strangely of The Lie Tree (which I am yet to read) and The Grimm Legacy (which I love). Hopefully the story is as good as the cover!

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Series: None
Obtained: Bought from an independent book store
Genre: Historical, WW1
My Lit teacher goes on about this book and how it links to the texts I’m studying, which got me curious. I’ll admit, this isn’t my usual choice, but I do enjoy a historical novel now and then.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Series: None
Obtained: Bought from Waterstones
Genre: Contemporary
Again, wanted to read this one for a long time, it seems like a light-hearted enough book so I’m looking forward to it. I adore the fact that it has the sign language alphabet on the inside of the cover (and counting to ten in the back) and it looks like such a sweet read.

I reckon Kid Got Shot and Geekerella will be read quite quickly – the others, I’m not so sure about, but hopefully once my exams are over (under a month now! Eek!) I can power through them.

That’s all for now!

Holly xx