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“A Quiet Kind Of Thunder”
Author: Sara Barnard
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Published: January 2017
Read: January 2017
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“People like explanations and recovery stories. […] Kids like me, who struggle through their childhood years, juggling various diagnoses that try to explain their silence to their frustrated parents, who graduate from ‘mute’ to ‘severe anxiety’ but still can’t speak to shop assistants or call anyone on the phone, just confuse things.”
Steffi has suffered from selective mutism in her childhood. By now, she can talk, but she still has a severe anxiety disorder, making it very hard to do so.
The little knowledge she has about sign language is the reason her teachers introduce her to Rhys, a deaf boy who has just changed schools.
Soon, both of them become friends – or maybe even something more.
This is such a heartwarming, feel-good-romance.
Normally, romance isn’t really my genre, but I was feeling up to reading something cute, so when I saw “A Quiet Kind of Thunder”, I couldn’t resist.
I was a bit afraid that the story would turn out to be the classical “falling in love heals me from all my problems”-story, but while it did sometimes go into that direction, it gladly never ended up there.
The portrayal of mental illness and disabilities was – in my opinion – fairly accurate and also pretty well integrated into both story and format.
However, Steffi’s anxiety wasn’t … that present, so to speak. It was more her thinking about it than it actually affecting her, which bothered me a bit, but that’s only a minor flaw of this novel.
What bothered me a bit more is that there is no clear golden thread throughout the plot. Things just kept happening very slowly, but there was no clear goal or direction at all, making it less exciting.
Anyway, if you want to read something cute and uplifting, this book is for you. It’s a feel-good-story, a fluffy little romance.
However, if you are suffering from anxiety yourself, you might want to be a bit cautious, as there are some scenes, like for example the description of a panic attack, that could be triggering.
A last thing I want to point out is that on the inside of the cover there are little drawings showing the alphabet and the numbers in BSL, which I think is really adorable.