A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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How would you feel if you didn’t have a voice? Or at least one that no one else could understand?

Communication is key in high school, everyone knows that. From answering questions in class, to gossiping in the halls, to speaking to the sales clerk at the local mall. Teenagers are notoriously known for always having something to say.

But not Steffi, or Rhys.

The mute girl and the deaf boy.

Steffi always had a difficult time talking with those that she was not completely comfortable around. Using her hands to communicate was a different story.  When Rhys moved to town, the two of them created their own world centered around their language, and eventually a relationship around BSL, British Sign Language, as well.

Sara Barnard’s A Quiet Kind of Thunder follows the struggles that come with mutism, deafness, and social anxiety in a characteristic high school by creating a bond between two teenagers who have always felt slightly out of place. The two set off to prove to themselves, as well as their parents, that they can do anything they set their minds to, but quickly come to grips with the setbacks of living in a society that cannot communicate without speaking to one another. Steffi and Rhys overcome hardship in their day to day lives, as well as their blossoming relationship, in order to show their community that all communication is the same.

In addition to drawing awareness to social anxiety and mutism, Barnard does a remarkable job of educating the reader on Sign Language. With an atypical format, the novel explores the various types of communication that individuals who do not speak utilize.

Alyssa Leto

Barnard, Sara. A Quiet Kind of Thunder. London: Macmillan Children’s, 2017. Print.

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