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A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard - Review

Friday, December 22, 2017

Where did I get it? I bought it for myself, I really liked Sara's book Beautiful Broken Things so I bought this one. It's ages ago though, but I've been meaning to get to the book!

What's it about? Stef suffers with acute anxiety and has spent most of her school life silent, a selective mute. That's been okay as she's had best friend Tem with her, but now it's the start of sixth form and Tem has gone to college, while Stef is left at their school. But she's determined to speak, because her parents aren't sure she'll be able to cope with university if she can't.

Then on the first day she meets Rhys, who's deaf. They're introduced because Stef can sign a little bit, and two become friends. They slowly start to fall for each other, and Stef slowly overcomes some of her major obstacles.

I really liked how it was clear that Stef didn't "get over" her illnesses due to her boyfriend or due to the medication she was using, but that both things helped her to feel more confident. I liked the relationship between Stef and Tem, and thought it was a really good portrayal of teenaged friendship with all the good and bad that can have. I liked the relationship between Stef and Rhys, although I did think Rhys was a little bit too perfect at times. I thought the portrayal of Stef's anxiety was really true to life, and I say that as someone who has lived with anxiety for almost twenty years now. I liked the supporting cast too - Rhys' family especially, but Stef's parents, step-parents, and little sister too. It's a really good book!

What age range is it for? 15+

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, Tem is black. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, of course. I really liked the look into the deaf world, I'd have liked to see more of Rhys' friends actually. 

Is there any sex stuff? Yes, quite a bit, and it's quite explicit. I thought it was great because Stef was very much like "Is that it?" once she'd done it. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Prescription ones, yes 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, it's not graphic though. 

Are there swear words? No I don't think so? Very few, if there are. 

What criticisms do I have? None, overly. Rhys was a bit too perfect, but Stef loved him, so I sort of forgive her for thinking that. 

Would I recommend the book? Absolutely

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? Well, oddly, I didn't mean to read it, but I went to the Turkish baths in Harrogate on Monday, and needed to take a paper book to read in there since my tablet might get damaged in the heat. I perused my shelves before I set off and was taken with this one. I read about a quarter of it while relaxing in the baths. 

What other books is it like? The main relationship between Stef and Rhys reminded me very much of Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield. It has hints of Holly Bourne's books too. 

How many stars? Eight and a half out of ten. 


Where is the book going now? I'm keeping it - look at that beautiful pink cover! 

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