This book is an even mixture of the adorable and the serious, which is an oddly satisfying quality to see.
And, more than anything else, Sara Barnard’s ability to shift easily from one to another is really what makes this book, as an experience, unique. Give me the heartrending scenes along with the cute ones. Give me the jokes and the sass and then quiet down and proceed to discuss the emotional, such as panic attacks and their aftermath. See that? THAT’s what I’m talking about. And I really love this about A QUIET KIND OF THUNDER (which, by the way, has an amazing title. Did I mention how much I love the title?)
No you didn’t, Nina, because it’s literally been, like, one paragraph.
The handling of Steffi’s selective mutism and Rhys’ deafness was delivered believingly, with an insight to the different challenges they respectively face, and how they overcome those challenges. Both know BSL, but that only helps somewhat (Steffi doesn’t know enough to have a smooth conversation). The dialogue is a mix of bolded sign language and written notes and the occasional texting (for efficiency), and I just love love love that the author chose to use this style. It’s choppy, and a bit difficult to read, but it’s exactly how both felt when they were first attempting to understand each other, and the reader gets to see what they saw.
The romance really was quite cute. Steffi and Rhys are sweet and awkward at first .. and it’s quite adorable, honestly. I am quite shocked at my level of attatchment to these two. What happened to your cold, unemotional heart, Nina? you say. My answer to that is: I legit do not know. I am now a lover of cute romances and adorable leads, apparently. If anyone can make me like the fluffy, it is Sara Barnard.
The supporting cast was amazing and diverse and amazingly diverse. We have Tem, Steffi’s best friend, and I loved how she was supportive and bubbly and considerate and wanted the best for her friend, while also being interesting enough that if she were to become the main lead, the story would have been just as exciting (Master! Character! Development! Alert!). Scenes with Tem are easily my favorite. OH. And have I mentioned that both Rhys and Tem are PoC?
Oh, and can we appreciate the sheer amount of research the author has put into this? One of the things I really appreciated was that although most of the BSL conversations were written out (for obvious reasons), there are actually some descriptions of the signs themselves – the description of hands and their movements.
Oh, and I’ll probably be getting the UK edition because pink and gold shiny-ness is my weakness. But for real, though. Can I just address the ugliness of the US cover compared to the UK one? Where’s my pink and gold? WHERE?
All in all? I am quite satisfied with everything I was presented. I docked a star, if you must know, due to some pacing issues and some slight predictability towards the end, but those are subjective complaints, more than anything. I loved Steffi. I loved Rhys. I loved Steffi and Rhys. I’ll definitely be coming back for more Sara Barnard novels because YES. She has an awesome style.
Thank you, Simon and Schuster, for the review copy!