A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Written by Sara Barnard
To be published by new brand.
Page Count: 402 (according to Adobe Digital Editions. GoodReads reports the page count as being 320).
High school student Steffi suffers from selective mutism, an affliction which often keeps her isolated from her peers. Her parents are overprotective of her and even consider keeping her from attending university. It isn’t until a new boy named Rhys attends her school that she finds out how courageous she can be. However, Rhys is deaf. Can they make a relationship work and depend on each other when they need each other most?
Thank you to NetGalley for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review.
This book is a cute read. I found myself looking forward to it at the end of the day. The characters are diverse and intriguing and the plot is very original which is what drew me to this story in the first place. A girl with selective mutism and a boy who is deaf moving past friendship into a deeper relationship. I had never encountered a story like that and so, I was instantly interested.
However, I found the book to be a little too convenient for my taste. Instead of her selective mutism being an affliction, I found it to be nothing more than a plot device. There were times when I felt she should’ve been affected by her mutism and yet, she was comfortable and calm. And yet, at the climax of the story, that is one of the few times her mutism truly hindered her. I didn’t believe it and that became a problem for me.
I also wonder about the theme of writers using people with disabilities as inspiration for others. It was nice to *spoiler alert* see Steffi convincing her family that she can overcome her mutism and attend college as she aspired to do but was this a story of Steffi’s journey or was this yet again another comparison story? People with disabilities deserve their own stories instead of serving others in an, “If they can do it, so can I!” sort of way. And besides, the thing about mutism, as Steffi herself says, is that it isn’t so selective. She can’t control when it does and does not affect her. If there was any triumph in this story, I’m not sure how sincere it was.
Ultimately, as mentioned, this story was cute. It was a pleasant read. But I felt it lacked sincerity. This is a story that had potential, a story I had high hopes for. I’m just not sure it was executed as greatly as it could have been.
Keep reading! 2017 is coming to a close – how is everyone doing on their reading goals?