I got A QUIET KIND OF THUNDER rumbling in my heart and soul – by Sara Barnard


A Quiet Kind of ThunderTITLE: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
AUTHOR: Sara Barnard

RELEASED: January 12, 2017
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children’s Books
FORMAT: Paperback

GENRE: YA Contemporary

TRIGGERS: Social anxiety, deaf rep

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.


I’ve owned this book for a while, which caused me to forget what it was about. Since Sara Barnard is coming to YALC, I knew I had to read it before then so I decided to pick it up. Suddenly I remembered. Social anxiety, deafness, sign language. I was bound to love this book.

The good

Opening my copy of A Quiet Kind of Thunder, the first thing I saw was the alphabet in British Sign Language (BSL). That alone made me realize this was going to be an amazing book. Seeing all chapters were both ordinarily numbered and was accompanied by the sign for it… Sold!

Here are three separate but similar things: shyness, introversion and social anxiety. You can have one, two or all three of these things simultaneously. A lot of the time people thing they’re all the same thing, but that’s just not true. Extroverts can be shy, introverts can be bold, and a condition like anxiety can strike whatever kind of social animal you are.

The combination of writing and format felt truly unique. Written in first person, I completely lost myself in Steffi’s (our main character) head. Even though I don’t have any social anxiety and will never claim to know anything about it, it did feel like this mental illness was portrayed very realistically. I felt her anxiety, even related to her in some small ways that made me think we might all have a tiny bit of social anxiety.
As for the formatting… I fell in love with it. Bold fonts equaled Steffi and Rhys talking with each other by using sign language. Then there was the other font, a handwritten one, for when they were passing notes or simply talking by writing everything down. There also were chats and text messages. All these things made my reading experience that much more special. I could totally imagine two people sitting together, signing away. Talking, communicating in their own way, in their own world. And I loved it.

Little victories are everything in a world where worst-case scenarios are on an endless loop in your head.

As I said, our main character – Steffi – has social anxiety. When she was younger, she was diagnosed with selective mutism. I had no idea what that was before I started reading this book and I’m sure I still don’t know a great deal about it but… The way Sara Barnard created Steffi and tried to bring her social anxiety into words felt truly amazing.
Not to mention Rhys, who’s deaf. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I need more books with deaf representation. This is one of those. I love it. Absolutely love it. The way BSL is incorporated in this story is truly magnificent.

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.

five stars
I realize this is a pretty short review, but.. Honestly, I loved it so much it’s really hard to put into words all the things I adore about A Quiet Kind of Thunder. I just hope you’ll pick it up as well!

Have you read books representing ASL/BSL or deaf characters in the past? Which ones? I’d love some recommendations!



21 thoughts on “I got A QUIET KIND OF THUNDER rumbling in my heart and soul – by Sara Barnard

  1. Great review! I loved A Quiet Kind of Thunder so much! It made me feel all warm inside. I could only relate to the anxiety part but just to have that felt…well, amazing. Barnard described it so well! I saw that she’s coming out with a new book called Goodbye, Perfect?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I can totally imagine. Whenever there’s a rep I really relate to, it gets me all fuzzy and warm inside as well. It’s one of the biggest gifts authors can give us, after all.
      Yup, that one’s on my radar! I honestly need all her books now, haha.


  2. I love, love, LOVE when books deal with hard issues. (Wait, that sounds sad, but you know what I mean?) There are so many BIG issues out there, but if we don’t talk about them, they just stay this hidden thing that no one knows how to deal with or help. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you did an awesome job with this review, Kathy! ❤ As you know, I picked up this book and loved it as well. It was such a great read, the anxiety was portrayed so well and I really liked that we got a deaf main character, I had yet to read a book with a character like that and I am really glad I did. I appreciated the different formats with texts and sign languages and everything, too, made the story even more rich 🙂
    I can't wait to read more from the author 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you! ❤ I'm always sooo happy when people I know loved a book as much as I did, haha. I really want more books with rep like that. Anxiety is on the come up, but I want more of the minor ones, the "lesser known" ones.
      Same! Her other books are on my wishlist, hah. 😀 [Maybe at YALC. Maaaaybe.]

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved this book too and I think your review gets all the good points! What I loved the most was how obvious it was that they liked each other. Their relationship was so sweet and had such a solid foundation, you can see them lasting. I’m glad you enjoyed it too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      Oh, I totally agree with that! I loved how it was obvious what was going on without there having to be any overdone [and way too predictable in contemporary] drama or a huuuge dramatic twist / turn. It simply felt realistic and I love that!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome review!
    I saw this book around but never actually checked what it was about. Sounds pretty interesting. I know nothing about sign language. I had anxiety when i was a kid but they never called it that. I don’t think anyone realised. They just thought i was a wimp…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      Oh, I’m interested in anything sign language-related ever since I watched Switched at Birth a couple of years ago. I know a couple (like three or four) signs myself and that’s it, but still. It catches my eye every time I see something regarding it pass by.
      Boo, that sucks! But I guess that’s the problem with a lot of things.. Nowadays people are more prone to realize what’s going on than all those years ago. Or at least that’s what I’d like to believe..

      Liked by 1 person

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