What’s it about?
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.
Real. Authentic. Cheesy.
Those are the first three words which come to my mind when I think of that story! The lovestory of Rhys and Steffi was just soooo adorable! Both were really likable characters with flaws – Rhys is deaf and Steffi has to deal with several diseases but her selective mutism causes most of her problems. It’s really hard for her to talk to other people except to her family and her best friend Tem. Tem is a real sweetheart! I couldn’t imagine having a better best friend. Tem has always held to Steffi even in times when Steffi’s selective mutism was that serious that she couldn’t even talk to her longterm best friend.
Steffi would love to go to university but her parents don’t really support her decision at first. They force her to speak more – but that’s the problem. Steffi doesn’t chose NOT to speak. She just can’t sometimes. There are words in her mind, many words, but none of them find the way out of her mouth. Easy to understand that this is really frustrating her!
And that’s something I really liked about the book. I’ve read several books about people with anxiety disorders but „A Quiet Kind of Thunder“ was the first one which really made me understand how people actually feel with such a disease.
Furthermore in this book you get to know a little BSL (British Sign Language) because this is the main way how Rhys, the deaf love-interest, communicates with other people. All the chapter headings are portrayed in BSL as well as in our common latin numbers. Best thing – interspersed throughout the story Steffi teaches us readers how to sign words like „I love you“ and „Sorry“.
The lovestory between Rhys and Steffi was a lovestory between two unexperienced teenagers madly in love. It was so good to read such a realistic story. This book showed how it really is when you’re holding hands for the first time, kissing for the first time, doing a handjob for the first time and having sex for the first time. All of those things ARE big deals for people who haven’t experienced them yet and struggle a little when doing them for the very first time. And that’s okay. That’s how it is in real life!
SPOILER ALERT! Mark the section down below! It’s coloured in white so you won’t even read a spoiler by mistake.
Talking about real life – I know that this what I’m now going to criticize is possibly something pretty normal. BUT it’s not okay for me.
So there’s this accident which happenes to Rhys. He trips on a rock and breaks his ankle – he isn’t able to get up by himself so Steffi needs to get help which causes a panic attack because – obviously – it’s a big deal for her to talk to other strangers to help her bringing Rhys to a hospital. After that Rhys and Steffi are having a kind of break – they don’t meet each other for some time. And you know why? Because Rhys has a problem with the fact that Steffi needed to help him and not reversed. Because he doesn’t like it to be in need. Because he thinks that he should be capable to help himself. Because he should be the one who should save her and not reversed. And THAT sucks. I mean it’s nice that he wants to be her saviour but honestly Steffi is strong. Steffi manages to save him which is a really big deal for her. She does it. He shouldn’t have left her alone after that!
END of the spoilery section!
All in all:
Steffi and Rhys were really likable characters. Sometimes I had to squeal because of the overload of cuteness and perfection of their relationship! And sometimes it was just way too funny to hold myself back from laughing out loud!
I’m not the one who can actually tell if deaf and mute people are correctly portrayed in this story but for me personally it felt really right and it was nice to read something like this because it is a lovestory which is diverse and definitely not bog-standard!
I don’t want to give away what actually happens so I’m not gonna say what annoyed me so much – but it has to do with the stereotype of men as the knight in shining armour of the damsel in distress…
If you are looking for an entertaining, romantic and realistic book – „A Quiet Kind of Thunder“ is the one you’re looking for!
ISBN: 978-1-5098-1098-7 | 13.90€ | Barnard, Sara: A Quiet Kind of Thunder