{Blog Tour} A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard - when there is wonder in more than words

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Released: 12th January 2017
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 320
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Steffi doesn't talk. Rhys can't hear. They understand each other perfectly. Love isn't always a lightning strike. Sometimes 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.

The stunning new novel from the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things is a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

If there's one word I would use to describe this book, it would be honest. From its portrayal of anxiety to the thrill of a first love, Sara Barnard has addressed these ideas with both sensitivity and an impression of tangible reality. When communication is considered one of the cornerstones of any successful relationship, this novel explores how it reaches far further than just the spoken word.

From the beginning of the book, Steffi comes across as a complex and endearing character. With selective mutism driven by her anxiety, she often felt isolated from the rest of her peers, aside from her best friend Tem. Her parents also had a role to play in the novel, and their presence in the story made it all the more realistic. I really appreciated how Steffi's anxiety and mutism wasn't 'blanked coated' at all, and instead broken down into things like the separate diagnoses. Even the internal conflict about using medication to help was mentioned, as well as the significance of talking things through with her therapist. Snippets of her mindset at different points in the book helped me to empathise with her character, and overall the consideration which the author gave this as a whole added to its authenticity. 

When Rhys and Steffi came together as two people who couldn't properly 'speak' for different reasons, it was clear that they could at least find companionship in each other, if not something more. The progression of their relationship from the early awkward phases, to the cute messages, and yet questioning the real motives behind being together, was well written and believable. Even having some explanations on how to communicate in some basic BSL phrases was an eye opener for me, and I could tell that Barnard had done her research into it. It was clear that Steffi didn't need to be defined just as someone 'clinically shy' or Rhys only being noticed as someone different because he was deaf. What was achieved here is the triumph of someone's personality, which is what can really make them heard. What all the relationships in this read demonstrated is the importance of kindness, understanding and open communication, in whatever form that may take. 


Sara Barnard has certainly impressed me, so I'll definitely get to reading Beautiful Broken Things which has also reached high acclaim. I will no doubt be recommending this beautiful book to any YA reader! Genuine and engaging, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a story about finding your voice, while realising it's what lies in your heart that truly counts.

QnA from Sara Barnard

What are some of your all-time favourite reads? And what are your must-haves?

Station Eleven is my favourite book of all time. My go-to recommends are Slaughterhouse 5, The Poisonwood Bible, Oryx & Crake and On The Jellicoe Road. I recently read the YA book Girl In Pieces and it absolutely blew me away.

Was there a specific inspiration that brought A Quiet Kind of Thunder into life, or was it a multitude of things?

A few years ago I watched a documentary that featured a young girl with selective mutism, which was something I’d never come across before. The documentary showed all the work that the school and the girl’s parents were putting in to try and help the girl, and it made me wonder what would happen to a child who didn’t have that level of support. What would become of them when they became a teenager? That’s where Steffi came from.

You’ve dedicated this novel to ‘the quiet ones’. Could you elaborate on that?

I’ve always been shy, one of the designated “quiet ones”. It can be tough. It’s easy to be overlooked or dismissed, because a lot of the time people assume that if you don’t talk a lot you don’t have anything to say. But you don’t have to be a chatterbox to have a voice, and that is what Steffi represents. I hope this book resonates with other people who have had these kinds of experiences in their own lives.

What are some of your favourite diverse YA reads with characters who have a mental illness or disability?


  1. I'm reading this now - I absolutely LOVED Beautiful Broken Things so I'm excited :D And I do love that it's dedicated to the quiet ones ;)

    1. Great to hear you loved Beautiful Broken Things - I'm definitely looking forward to reading that one ASAP!

  2. I've heard so many great things about this one so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it too! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    1. It's definitely worth a read Zoe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)


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