Published by Macmillan Children's Books on January 12th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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.
From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
“My name is Steffi Brons and I don’t speak, let alone yell. I move slowly so people won’t notice I’m there, because running in public is as loud as a shout. I like to wear jumpers with long sleeves that go right down over my wrists and hands and fingers. Meekness is my camouflage; silence is my force field.”
A Quiet Kind of Thunder started out really strong and kind of fizzled out near the ending, but I still really enjoyed reading it. The romance was stinkingly cute and I loved the addition of sign language and the accurate portrayal of anxiety.
Let’s start with the sign language. I have zero knowledge of the language, so I don’t know if all of it is accurate. But there’s a heavy emphasis in this story. The conversations between Steffi and Rhys became mini lessons on how to say certain things, which I found really interesting. I also really liked the additions of the BSL alphabet at the beginning of the book and the signs for numbers above each chapter. It’s tiny things like this that really add to a book.
Then there’s the anxiety representation, which I have more experience with and was personally really happy with. Steffi has selective mutism along with a small list of mental health diagnoses, and there was one page in particular that really spoke to me, namely the one where she shows the inside of an anxious brain:
I also really appreciated the fact that the book shows Steffi taking medication and going to therapy and actually benefitting from these things.
“Panic attacks are a lot like being drunk in some ways: you lose self-control. You cry for seemingly no reason. You deal with the hangover long into the next day.”
The relationships were well done, too. Rhys can’t hear, Steffi doesn’t talk, and that forms a bond between the two that is hard to beat. I also really liked Tem, Steffi’s best friend, who was good fun and very supportive.
Also, THEY WENT TO EDINBURGH. It was a very short trip but really sweet, and it made me smile like a loon. I’ve never actually been to Scotland, but the country sings to my heart and calls to my soul.
To finish up, A Quiet Kind of Thunder has a few moments where it kind of drags, but is overall quite a strong book. Also, it has solidified the idea of me wanting to learn sign language, even if it’s just a basic understanding of things. I’ve always played with the notion, but never did anything with it. Let’s hope I don’t turn out like John Watson.