Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Published by: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication date: 12th January 2017
Genres: YA Contemporary/Romance/Mental Health/Disability
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
If you liked Beautiful Broken Things then you will love this, because A Quiet Kind of Thunder is even better... and I didn't know that was possible. It's the best book I've read since Emery Lord's When We Collided, and I've read some pretty awesome stuff since then!
I'll get to the point.
Steffi is a selective mute and has a whole bunch of anxiety issues. She gets bullied, her parents don't think she'll be able to cope with university, and her world is getting smaller and smaller by the day. The only person she feels completely comfortable with is her best friend Tem, but having ended up at different colleges, Steffi is on her own...until Rhys joins the school. With him, Steffi has the opportunity to come out of her shell, try new things, and finally live like the teenager she is.
Needless to say, I LOVE Steffi and Rhys. They're real in a way that lots of characters just aren't, and I said (or thought) the same about the characters in Beautiful Broken Things, so I guess it's a rare and incredibly awesome knack that Barnard seems to have. I keep wanting to pick up the book to see what Steffi and Rhys are up to, and then I'm like... Amber, you finished this weeks ago. They are fictional characters. Chill your beans. Something I want to address, though, is the romance. Steffi and Rhys's relationship doesn't make A Quiet Kind of Thunder 'fluffy' or 'lighthearted'. It's rocky, real, and the progress that Steffi makes is all down to her own hard work.
Unsurprisingly, this book is incredible; so incredible, in fact, that it managed to pull me out from the depths of a two-month reading slump. Plus, it's the first book I've read about both deafness and selective mutism, and I found it so fascinating. I also really appreciated the amazing depiction, inclusion and exploration of therapy, medication, and different ways anxiety can manifest that might not be obvious to everyone. Barnard handles everything beautifully and respectfully, as always.
In short, I didn't want it to end, and... I'd love a short story or something in the future, just saying. A Quiet Kind of Thunder is going to take the YA world by storm, and I'd say it's perfect for fans of Holly Bourne and Jennifer Niven.