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A Quiet Kind of Thunder

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A girl who can’t speak and a boy who can’t hear go on a journey of self-discovery and find support with each other in this gripping, emotionally resonant novel from bestselling author Sara Barnard. Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Jandy Nelson.

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life. The condition’s name has always felt ironic to her, because she certainly does not “select” not to speak. In fact, she would give anything to be able to speak as easily and often as everyone around her can. She suffers from crippling anxiety, and uncontrollably, in most situations simply can’t open her mouth to get out the words.

Steffi’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 help him acclimate. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk. As they find ways to communicate, Steffi discovers 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. But as she starts to overcome a lifelong challenge, she’ll soon confront questions about the nature of her own identity and the very essence of what it is to know another person.

390 pages, Hardcover

First published January 12, 2017

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Sara Barnard

11 books979 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,022 reviews
Profile Image for High Lady of The Night Court.
135 reviews5,054 followers
February 25, 2019
‘With lightning, you’re never really sure if that’s what it was; it’s just a flash. Thunder, you know. You feel it.’

I fell in love with this book at record time. It’s not easy to completely fall in love with a book in
right at the beginning because there are so many factors affecting the story and so many things that could go wrong, but books like these make me the happiest because the fear of not wanting to finish it vanishes when you’re through with your first few pages letting you enjoy the rest of the book thoroughly.

The characters really are everything. I have my first glance of my characters and instantly know that they are too good for this world but then I observe the writing and realise that it is situationally perfect and uplifts the characters. There is really nothing wrong with this book.

Steffi suffers from selective mutism among many other things, but now there’s a new kid at school who is deaf and she has been assigned to him because of her basic knowledge of BSL. And as we all know they fall in love. Stephanie can talk to Rhys through sign language without ever having to speak but she finds that being with Rhys seems to open her up. Both of them are great for each other and watching these two fall in love, and then admit it, is one of the most adorable things ever.

Steffi wants to go to university and study about animals, she currently works at a kennel. Her parents, who are divorced and have remarried, don’t want her to go because they don’t think she can handle it. Her mother has never been particularly tolerant about her disorders, she used to act like Steffi’s mutism was something she does on purpose. Rhys wants to become a video game developer and as joined this high school as a way to push himself to get used to life as it would be if he went to college, meaning an area where everyone is not really deaf aware.

Yes, this book has an amazing love story, the cutest characters, and a world with extreme potential for character development but what I love most about books like this is that it spreads awareness and brings attention to concepts that would otherwise be left unheard. There are so many issues put in the world that have never really caught our attention because we’ve never had to cross paths with them but then you read a book like this and your eyes have been opened a fraction more than they were and the world is just a bit bigger.
Not being aware can’t exactly be compared to ignorance because you might not have had an opportunity in your life for you to see such issues ever come to light. Then, by chance, you open a book like this, you read a story set in this world we love in, and you realise that no matter how small these issues are they are not be taken lightly, because to so many people out in the world it might just be the life they’re living. Books like these bring people together and also makes people suffering from something similar feel a little less alone.

This book deals with a lot of things, selective mutism, anxiety, shyness, and deafness. The big guns. And then it also deals with simpler things like friendship, first love, insecurity, best friends, pets, siblings, family, and independence. You read this book and you acknowledge that it’s a love story but it’s being driven by so much more. Sara Barnard pulled all the stops while writing this marvelous story. This is the sort of book that everyone should read, not just for the awareness, but also for the simple joy of reading a beautiful story built on nothing but love.

But I love him, and he loves me.
And that, among other things, is enough.
Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews62k followers
February 7, 2017
It should go without saying that my opinion of this book should not be taken as valuable when compared to a reviewer who is deaf or has selective mutism. I genuinely hope (and as is reflected in my note to the publisher) that this ARC also got sent out to readers who can identify with these characters and give their comments on how respectful the representation feels, as my thoughts of this book are simply not as important.

I believe when it comes to writing any characters outside of your own experience, it is important to be sensitive to the people reading who will identify with those characters and to write the book FOR those people. If you're not writing it for them, you are exploiting their experience.

With that being said, in my opinion this book was as incredibly written as it was respectful. I think the author took much care to not fall into tropes and cliches that often exists in books that are harmful to the deaf community especially. I am looking forward to this book being read by more people, as I am very willing to pay mind to other, more credible readers' thoughts on this story, and adjust my review accordingly. I will be making a full video review of this in the coming month if you're interested in more of my thoughts.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.4k followers
September 22, 2018
there are two very important things you will learn when you read this book:

1) you dont to be able to hear in order to listen, and
2) just because you cant speak doesnt mean you dont have a voice.

there was just so much to love about this book, but i think those two points were the most special, the most meaningful. and i love how they were expressed in a YA novel. its so important for people of all ages to realise these types of lessons, but even more so for teenagers who are at the stage in life where they are trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be.

i also thought the representation in the story was phenomenal. it so important for mental health, especially anxiety, to be portrayed in such a mainstream way to show readers they are not alone. i thought stefanies struggles were so accurately real, so it was encouraging to see her grow and take control of her life.

also, i will always have a soft spot in my heart for the deaf community. i could count on my hand the number of books i have read where the main character is deaf, so this was really a treat to read about rhys (hes also welsh so that just makes me love him even more).

overall, this was a truly wonderful book. yes, there were times where i was annoyingly frustrated with the main characters, but im usually annoyed by most teenagers in real life so i cant fault the book for that. lol. the writing style also took me some time to get used to. but in the end, i felt a very deep sense of compassion for steffi and rhys, and for every quiet person who can relate to them.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,793 followers
March 3, 2017
Spontaneous buddy read with this fabulous girlie, Maram

So to start things off, I’d like to mention that you should take my rating like a grain of salt because honestly I don’t know how to rate this book.

It was GREAT, it was cute and fluffy and heartwarming and very very very informative, but at the same time, I felt that it lulled in certain moments.


And that was a big deal for me because I WANTED TO LOVE IT SO BADLY AND AWARD IT ALL 5 SUPER CUTE STARS but I found myself zoning out or making a tab to watch a video or catch up with the news while I SHOULD have been reading!! And that’s truly not acceptable.

So onto the plot reals quick.

This is a story of Steffi, a sixteen year-old girl who suffers from selective mutism and Rhys, a seventeen year-old boy who is deaf. Fortunately for both of them, they can communicate in sign language (though Steffi is not as fluent as Rhys but they make it work).

So we follow these two lovable characters (especially Rhys, this boy is a cupcake) as they build a friendship and fall in love but love doesn’t cure all problems. The two of them will have to figure that out on their own.

The thing with this book is that is SO ADORABLE but also so real! Like when the author was describing how cripplingly it feels when you’re an extremely shy person and you’re in a social setting. Or how panic attacks can form out of literally nothing.

“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.”


Now why my rating is lacking you may wonder, well that’s probably my fault and not the book or the author’s problem but I just found myself distracted so often!! And it was really annoying when I wanted to fall into this adorable world but IT JUST WOULDN’T HAPPEN!!! *screams*

Anyways, im gonna go check out what else this author got bc im intrigued.

‘With lightning, you’re never really sure if that’s what it was; it’s just a flash. Thunder, you know. You feel it.’

3.75 stars!!!
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,656 reviews5,130 followers
August 5, 2018
Huge thank you to my sweet friend Kathy for sending me a surprise gift copy of this book! She read it and loved it so much that she wanted me to read it too, and I’m so glad that she did, because it was so beautifully diverse, and sweet, and funny, and altogether just a precious story of friendship, love, and adapting to a world that doesn’t always meet your needs.

“I want the world, I think. Even if it scares me.”

First of all, the representation in this book: fantastic. None of it feels forced or thrown in just to mark off a checkbox. Steffi has selective mutism and severe anxiety (and I can say from experience that her anxiety rep is on point and I saw myself so much therein), Rhys is d/Deaf, and both Rhys and Tem (Steffi’s best friend) are POC (though I don’t think it was ever stated precisely what race either character was, so unfortunately I cannot give specifics on that). While the d/Deaf rep is not own-voice, and I can’t speak for sure on this since I am not d/Deaf myself, it did feel very respectfully done to me and I felt like the author had done her research. That said, my outsider’s perspective on this representation will never be half as important as own-voice reviews for this book, so if you have an own-voice review that you would like boosted, please message me so I can link to your review!

“I decide this is just A Bad Day. We all get them, because grief doesn't care how many years it's been.”

Ultimately, though there are some underlying themes—such as the grief of Steffi’s deceased older brother, her struggles with her mother’s ableist views of her, and the difficulties she faces regarding going off to college soon—this story is heavily character-driven, so don’t go into it expecting too much of a plot. In fact, the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was simply because the second half focused so heavily on the relationship between Steffi and Rhys that I found myself getting bored at certain scenes.

“Extroverts can be shy, introverts can be bold, and a condition like anxiety can strike whatever kind of social animal you are.”

That minor complaint aside, something I want to talk about for a second here is the healthy sex representation being portrayed. Unlike many YA novels that depict a picturesque view of a teen’s first time as being all silk and lace and swooning perfection, Sara’s writing is much more honest: the sex in this book is awkward in the best possible way, and feels so realistic. I literally laughed out loud at how relatable some of it was. Many of you already know that my chosen hill to die on lately is that I believe YA novels need to depict authentic, honest sexual relationships to give teens healthy goals to strive towards, and A Quiet Kind of Thunder does that perfectly, because even though it’s clumsy and awkward and imperfect, it also clearly expresses that they’re new to this, they’re learning together, and it’s okay if it doesn’t look like the movies.

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

The only other thing I want to touch on is how much I appreciated that, whenever something problematic occurs, it’s dissected and dealt with. Steffi and Rhys both occasionally have some ableist moments towards the other (more Steffi than Rhys, I think), and Rhys has some occasional issues with fragile masculinity and unintentional sexism, but it’s constantly addressed and challenged. The only thing I can recall wishing was challenged further was Tem’s obsession with virginity, but it isn’t presented in a slut-shaming manner so much as personal choice, so I don’t have any substantial complaint to file against that one.

All in all, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a very sweet, lovable story about characters who are relatable, funny, charming, awkward, and genuine. If you’re looking for a slightly fluffy but also important YA contemporary, I highly recommend picking this one up, and I’ll definitely be checking out more of Sara Barnard’s works!
Profile Image for Holly Bourne.
Author 26 books5,435 followers
October 6, 2016
I don't know where to start. I'd give this book TEN stars if I could. I loved Beautiful Broken Things but I think I love this book even more. A brilliant depiction of social anxiety, a swoony subtle love story that creeps up on you, and meticulously researched, respectful and just beautifully written.

This book is not only for the quiet ones, but by JOVE how the quiet ones will adore this book.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books351 followers
February 5, 2022
What a great book! Gosh, I loved these characters. Steffi and Reese just grow on you right away. I completely related to Steffi with her anxiety and her selective mutism, and the way it was portrayed. I loved the way the author contrasted how it was handled between her parents, and how this both supported and hindered her. Reese was absolutely a sweetheart. I liked the inclusion of little details like hearing speakers forgetting to turn towards the Deaf person so they could read lips, how frustrating it can be when medical personnel (and other people in public) address the caregiver or partner instead of the person with the disability. And overall, I just loved how he and Steffi had to work to find ways to communicate, not just literally, but in a couple-y sense. This was a great combination of a sweet romance and a book that was inclusive.

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Sylvie .
632 reviews821 followers
January 11, 2019
A Quiet Kind of Thunder
by Sara Bernard

2.75/5 Stars

Br with The Pun Master

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

'A Quiet Kind of Thunder' didn't turn out to be the book I was hoping for. It was a nice book to read, quite enjoyable from time to time, but less spectacular than expected.
At first it was still very interesting to me reading how Steffi and Rhys interacted independently with each other but also with their environment and made the most of their situation. What I also liked was how beautifully it was described the bond between Rhys and Steffi and how they fuse their worlds, deal with their "limitations", the aspect of communication between the two main characters was cute to be honest. What I most loved about this that it focused on mental issues without overdoing it, but it wasn't the most original story, I kept comparing this with other books, and tons of teen dramas happened most of them were unnecessary.
However, I appreciate the author for her effort, because she had a clue about what she was writing about (the mental issues and the disabilities that the characters were experiening or being diagnosed with it), and Sara Barnard has also tried to show that mental illnesses need more acceptance in our society today.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder had a great start. In fact, I was so certain that I would love it, but I didn't. I liked the story and the meaning behind the metaphorical title, but the main reason why I gave this book a low rating was because of the characters, most of the times they were too problematic, but I won't give too much details due to spoilers.

So, about the characters:

Steffi: She became a selective mute at a very young age, which lead to shyness and social anxiety (which isn't something uncommon). Something that very much bothered me: At chapter 20 or so, without seeing any progression our main character had already conqured and overcame her fears just like that, and because of that she became selfish and arrogant (two personality traits that do not suit her well).
Rhys: Rhys was adorable, kind and had a happy-go-lucky nature, despite he being deaf he could easily approch to people and interact with them, no matter how difficult it was for him. I can't dislike Rhys as much as the other characters, the boy did his best.
Tem: Tem seemed to be the best person in the whole wide world, the best friend everyone wants to have; cheerful, outspoken and energetic, but she never had a positive effect on her bestfriend Steffi. However, this circumstance has turned out to be rather counterproductive in terms of drama.
Steffi's mother: Steffi's mother confronted her whenever she got the chance, she kept putting pressure on her and making her feel insecure about her disabilities, which was not OK.

The book could've been so much better if it didn't took opposite directions, and if the characters didn't make a major problem out of a tiny single issue. And if you don't like soap opera you'll certainly won't like this, because this was just like a soap opera but for teenagers.
Profile Image for Booktastically Amazing.
470 reviews389 followers
May 23, 2021
This book was tea without sugar.
And without tea.
It was just a cup.
- An Annoyed Booksy, 2021.

Rating: 😐😐😐 3 dull faces.


I found the will to write this-

You know what I've learned? That sometimes you get so many disappointments lined up in a neat row, that you just stop feeling the slaps when they inevitably attack.


To be honest, it wasn't the worst thing to happen to me. And it wasn't the best. See, I'm in the middle of a competition with Fate as to how I can further lose my hope in books, and so far? Well, let's just say I'm not winning.

The following paragraphs will mostly be a rant (plentiful rants to be exact), so I apologize in advance, and of course *clears throat* Minor spoilers will be present. I'll warn, of course. And yes, it is mostly spoiler-free because since it's a rom-com, it has zero to no plot twists worthy of talking about.

The plot was okay. It was there. In all its bland glory. And by bland, I don't mean to say that it was bad or anything. In fact, it was so very cute but at times, basically unseasoned, and of course, it still tasted okay. It just didn't blow my mind. The sweetness was present and even when there were certain 'twists' it still felt dry and innocuous to the story itself. More like... filler episodes in a series. We don't actually need them, and they don't actually add anything to the story, apart from extra time for extra annoyance. Bottom line, Gordon Ramsey would've had a field day.
He can't judge much on the cuteness factor, which was very there, and frankly, one of the things that helped me get through this without any major mishaps like say... death.

The writing was good, entertaining and yes, another one of the few things that kept me focused on the fact that I never DNF and that I didn't want to start now. (no offense if you DNF by the way, I'm just not that strong. Or smart. I like to torture myself, can't you tell?)

Now the characters, oh my goodness.
The characters.
Hahahaha, we're going to have so much fun.

Well, the characters in a conjunctive state were present and there, at best.

See, the main character was an annoyance. Pure and simple, annoyance. She was selfish, self-centered, extremely self-absorbed, thought nobody had problems except her, was rude to everybody, intensely set on being the most crappy human being possible, and of course, how could I forget?

She was in looooooooooooooove. (apart from the other things that I shall not mention because if I were to mention them, I would be here alllll day)
And she let me know of that fact at least 578 times, and that's an approximation. I loved the anxiety rep that was present throughout her whole part in the story, alas, she managed to make it all about her and her needs. I was supremely proud when she was able to slowly, but surely grow stronger in herself and that made my heart, *sigh* it made my heart sing.
And that lasted about .3 seconds.
*frustrated grunting sounds* I don't know where it went wrong (oh I know, the moment she and her boyfriend escaped...

For full review, please visit this blog post

Psst, there are some fun bonuses in that post.
It was good, wasn’t great. But it was a good book.

Maybe I'll find it within me to actually write a full-fledged, extra ranty review, with a little bit of ✨spice✨.
But for now, I'll just brood in my annoyance.
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,243 followers
February 22, 2017
Here are three separate but similar things: shyness, introversion and social anxiety. You can be one, two or all three of these things simultaneously. A lot of the time people think 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.

Such a sweet story! It follows a girl who is selectively mute and her developing relationship with a boy who is deaf. The romance is certainly there with all the moments reminiscent of first love. But I found the book to be so much more than a story about the trappings of first love. It is an excellent exploration of both social anxiety and the hearing impaired, as well as the ways in which we communicate. The story does more than entertain readers, as it educates more than anything on topics like selective mutism, anxiety, BSL (British sign language), and more helping to enlighten readers on sensitive subjects. This is the most real depiction of social anxiety, let alone anxiety, that I have ever read.
Here’s the thing about anxiety: it’s not rational. It’s not rational, but it’s still real, and it’s still scary, and that’s OK.

Steffi has selective mutism combined with severe social anxiety and has struggled with it most of her life. It has always been hard at school, but this year will be different starting sixth form without her lifelong best friend Tem beside her.

Rhys is the new boy in school. He is deaf, so the school introduces him to Steffi because of her basic knowledge of BSL. We follow their relationship as it goes from strangers to friends to something even more. The two find ways to communicate through BSL, text messages, notes, and chat messages. Don’t worry though..this isn’t a story where they “fix” each other.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is about finding your voice and finding yourself. It is told in first-person from Steffi’s perspective. There are random lists throughout that cover things like 10 stupidest things people say to you when you don’t talk, how to look after your very drunk best friend, BSL signs handy to know, a snapshot of an anxious brain (things I worried about on the bus), etc. There is plenty of diversity. I loved Tem and Steffi’s amazing friendship. It may not have been the main focus of the story, but the strong female friendship was portrayed so realistically.

I cannot stress enough how much I learned from this story. Not only is it very well-researched, but it is filled with important messages. Sarah Barnard did a wonderful job at bringing this excellent concept to life in a truly relevant way. If you enjoy YA contemporary, this is a pleasant surprise. I highly recommend!
Profile Image for emily .
241 reviews2,103 followers
August 23, 2022
book #2 for the READING RUSH: read a book with five or more words in the title ✔️
Profile Image for Maddie.
557 reviews1,136 followers
October 26, 2016
After reading and loving Beautiful Broken Things (so much it made my top fifteen books of 2015 before it was even published) I was so excited with Sara Barnard's next book. Now that I've finished it, the exact same thing has happened. This is pure gold (and bronze) and I don't think anything I write now will do justify to just how beautiful this book is. But, I'm still going to try, so here are some reasons to love A Quiet Kind of Thunder!
Read more…
Social Anxiety perfectly executed!

Steffi, our protagonist, had selective mutism when she was a child, and now suffers from severe social anxiety and chronic shyness. This means that she struggles to speak in class and to other people she doesn't know intimately well. Her best friend moved to a different sixth form and all of a sudden she's left to fend for herself. There is this beautiful page that lets you into the spirally though process of Steffi and I related to her train of thought so much, I think I'm going to frame it to remind me that I'm not the only person that panics most of the time.

If you liked Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne, then you'll love this because it's almost like the inverse. Steffi has just gone on to anxiety medication (as opposed to Evie coming off it) and it really does wonders to her mental state.

That's one of the things I was worried about when reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder. I thought it would take the same stance as Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, and suggest that Steffi's recovery from her anxiety was solely based on the fact she had a boyfriend. It's not healthy to promote that you need someone else to love you in order to get better, and that's totally NOT what Sara Barnard suggested. Steffi is on the meds before she meets Rhys and is very aware that it's not just an influx of love that's helping her condition! Yay!

Sidenote: Everything felt very sensitively written and well researched too!

Romance so sweet you'll contract diabetes!

I can't stress enough how absolutely amazing the relationship between Steffi and Rhys was. There was communication for one thing, even if it didn't involve actual words, and they really got to know each other before they dived into the lovey-dovey stuff. I really appreciate when love interests feel like friends, it makes the romance seem so much more genuine.

As much as this is a story about finding your voice in unexpected ways, it's mostly about two people who are there for each other and complete one another. Not in a co-dependent way, but in a way I've never read before. For once, I felt that the characters were IN LOVE. I think that's down to the fact that the relationship is so well developed. They go from strangers to acquaintances to genuine friends to love interests and it's all a process.

I loved when they met each other's families and friends and went on their romantic adventure to Scotland...it was beyond sweet, I had a sugar high for hours after I finished it.

So, now you're thinking, is this just going to be 320 pages of pure joy, with no heartbreaking conflict whatsoever? Well, no... Steffi and Rhys do have some issues and its mostly to do with whether their love is real (I never questioned it) or just convenient because they're the only teens that know how to communicate with each other. It was a struggle reading about this complex between them that would drive them apart, but I'll tell you now that you can definitely expect a happy ending, especially when there are giant pink hearts on the cover.

You need more reasons to love this book?

I've never been one to mark favourite quotes in a book, but I put so many tabs in this one, it's insane. There were so many moments that had me laughing out loud, so many things I wanted to read out to Bee, and so many times I squealed and clutching the book to my chest, protecting my precious babies, Steffi and Rhys.

This was an absolutely FANTABULOUS read and I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy so I can hold on to it forever and never let go. It's a no brainer for me that this book deserved 5 stars, and definitely makes it to my favourites list of 2016!
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
534 reviews652 followers
March 18, 2022
*4,5/5 stars*

I think I died from the utter adorableness of this perfect book! Not only is it super cute and fun, but it's also intelligently written, quietly educational and very important and impactful book that everyone should read.

“They’re sprawled on the floor and chairs, talking loudly and easily, as naturally as breathing. Do they know how lucky they are? I catch myself wondering. Do they? Of course not. It’s probably the same thing someone with cystic fibrosis thinks about me. I guess taking normal for granted is part of being human.”

One of the reasons why this story ran so true to me was because I also had anxiety (I still do, but not as bad as it used to be in one period of my life) so I could see parts of myself in it, thought it was never as severe for me as it was for Steffi and I didn't have it since birth, for me, it started somewhere at elementary school and mostly centered around my class, or speaking in front of crowds and other places. So even though my anxiety wasn't severe, I could very well understand Steffi's problems and connect to her perfectly.

“And then it happens. The panic. It's slow at first, creeping through the cracks in my thoughts until everything starts to feel heavy. It builds; it becomes something physical that clutches at my insides and squeezes out the air and the blood.”

Other amazing character in this story is Rhys - who I completely and utterly loved, he was definitely my favourite! I also loved that this book educated us about BSL (British Sign Language) and even taught me some basic signs (yes, thank you, I'm sorry, I love you or family members).

“Sometimes, I just get tired of being me.”

My recent encounters with more diverse side of YA Contemporaries - Made You Up, A Quiet Kind of Thunder, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - makes me absolutely excited to read more books from this genre featuring diversity, mental health, people of different colours and believes and other themes everyone should be more educated about.

“What are you thinking, Steffi? What are you thinking? Everything, all the time.

You’re so quiet, Steffi. Why are you so quiet? But in my head it’s so loud.

I’m sure everyone has an inner monologue, but I doubt many are as wordy as mine.”

These books are not only far more important to read, but they are just all round more amazing than those boring and generic Contemporaries which in the end, educates me about absolutely nothing and gives me nothing new. So It's very satisfying to see authors writing more and more works featuring diversity these days.

“One of the things I both hate and love about BSL is how it forces you to be genuine. Half-hearted apologies just don’t work when you’re communicating with your eyes and your hands. You have to mean it, or it is meaningless.”

A Quiet Kind of Thunder features greatly diverse set of characters - main heroines with severe case of social anxiety, deaf love interest Rhys (Absolutely loved him!), or best friend of colour - amazing girl friendship, interesting family dynamics, cute love story that feels real and
*gasp* love that does not miraculously cure the girl's mental health. This story was intelligent, heart warming, greatly researched and just overall real. Highly recommended.

“It’s not up to you to make my world smaller or bigger,” I say. “That’s up to me. But I want you to be in it. And I want to be in yours.”


“The ten stupidest things people say to you when you don’t talk:

10) What if you were, like, dying or something?

9) What if I was dying?

8) Can you talk if you close your eyes?

7) OK, but what if I close my eyes?

6) Cat got your tongue?

5) Just say something. Really, just anything, I don’t care.

4) Is your voice really weird or something?

3) You should just have a glass of wine.

2) Just relax.

1) You’re quiet!

“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 think 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.

Lots of people are shy. Shy is normal. A bit of anxiety is normal. Throw the two together, add some kind of brain-signal error – a NO ENTRY sign on the neural highway from my brain to my mouth, perhaps, though no one really knows – and you have me. Silent Steffi.”
Profile Image for Inge.
347 reviews884 followers
February 24, 2017
“My name is Steffi Brons and I don’t speak, let alone yell. I move slowly so people won’t notice I’m there, because running in public is as loud as a shout. I like to wear jumpers with long sleeves that go right down over my wrists and hands and fingers. Meekness is my camouflage; silence is my force field.”

A Quiet Kind of Thunder started out really strong and kind of fizzled out near the ending, but I still really enjoyed reading it. The romance was stinkingly cute and I loved the addition of sign language and the accurate portrayal of anxiety.

Let’s start with the sign language. I have zero knowledge of the language, so I don’t know if all of it is accurate. But there’s a heavy emphasis in this story. The conversations between Steffi and Rhys became mini lessons on how to say certain things, which I found really interesting. I also really liked the additions of the BSL alphabet at the beginning of the book and the signs for numbers above each chapter. It’s tiny things like this that really add to a book.

Then there’s the anxiety representation, which I have more experience with and was personally really happy with. Steffi has selective mutism along with a small list of mental health diagnoses, and there was one page in particular that really spoke to me, namely the one where she shows the inside of an anxious brain:

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I also really appreciated the fact that the book shows Steffi taking medication and going to therapy and actually benefitting from these things.
“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.”

The relationships were well done, too. Rhys can’t hear, Steffi doesn’t talk, and that forms a bond between the two that is hard to beat. I also really liked Tem, Steffi’s best friend, who was good fun and very supportive.

Also, THEY WENT TO EDINBURGH. It was a very short trip but really sweet, and it made me smile like a loon. I’ve never actually been to Scotland, but the country sings to my heart and calls to my soul.

To finish up, A Quiet Kind of Thunder has a few moments where it kind of drags, but is overall quite a strong book. Also, it has solidified the idea of me wanting to learn sign language, even if it’s just a basic understanding of things. I’ve always played with the notion, but never did anything with it. Let’s hope I don’t turn out like John Watson.

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Profile Image for Bee.
430 reviews856 followers
July 2, 2017
Too cute for words! Everything a contemporary romance should be.

(Sidenote: I did find Steffi's anxiety pretty triggering for my own. Whenever we got too into her head, it felt like a reflection of my own thoughts, which is great for the anxiety representation because it's hella accurate, but I suffered a lot of second-hand anxiety when reading. I wouldn't let this put you off reading, though, just take breaks if it gets too real. x)
Profile Image for Fares.
246 reviews315 followers
January 7, 2019
This was disappointing :( untill I remember that I read this with Syl and everything is better :)

I don't think I can review this bc I feel tired and my other read isn't going well either.
Basically, if you want one of the cutest contemps read the first third, till maybe chapter 11, after that everything goes downhill and basically the characters turn to hormonal bratty teenagers with really really stupid decisions and a lot of cheap plot devices to move things ahead.

buddy read with The Syl to my Kal
Profile Image for kate.
1,148 reviews925 followers
January 12, 2018
4.75/5 *
With it’s Disney, Les Miserables and Harry Potter references, diverse cast of characters, wonderful anxiety representation and yes, there was even a dog, A Quiet Kind of Thunder has everything I love and long for in a book. It had a perfect balance between the cute and fluffy, with it’s adorable, fun romance, whilst also discussing mental illness in a brilliantly real and honest way. Whether you’re living with anxiety yourself, know someone who is or simply want an insight into what it’s like, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a book everyone can take something away from.

*Read my full review here* http://girlreading.co.uk/bookreviews/...

It pulled at everyone of my heartstrings and I think I’m somehow growing even fonder of this book whilst writing this. Looking back through the notes I took whilst reading, it’s even clearer to me how fantastic this book is in it’s discussion surrounding anxiety, mental health and everything that comes with it. It’s raw, honest, real and yet, it was uplifting. It had a brilliant sense of humour and a lovely romance to balance out the heaviness.

I loved that, despite Steffi being able to relate to Rhys on many levels, there was always a reminder that Steffi isn’t deaf. It was made clear that she could and would get things wrong because, despite their similarities, their experiences differ in many ways and Steffi and Rhys would have to navigate that both together and individually, as neither could truly know what the other was dealing with.

The diversity of A Quiet Kind of Thunder’s small cast of characters, adds one more reason to the list of reasons as to why this book is so great. In addition to Rhys being deaf and Steffi’s anxiety and selective mutism, Rhys is also biracial, with his father being from Guyana. And Tem, Steffi’s best friend, is Somalian.

Sara Barnards writing style was incredibly comfortable to read, leading me to fly through it despite having been in a reading slump. I could have very easily devoured the entire book in one sitting had I not wanted to somewhat pace myself (an incredibly insistent episode of How To Get Away With Murder may or may not have been involved too…)

It’s safe to say this book made my heart very happy and I would without a doubt recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Profile Image for Ammara Abid.
205 reviews140 followers
March 21, 2017
Okay Okay Ok.
I'm torn between 2 & 3 stars.
I really like first 80 pages. Unique idea, interesting plot. A story with the girl having selective mutism and a deaf boy, but the more I read it the less I like it.
After first few chapters the same, repititive YA stuff started,
So nothing new. -_-
Profile Image for Puck.
645 reviews298 followers
May 21, 2017
An adorable contemporary romance, with sweet characters and great accurate representation of anxiety and being deaf.

“Lots of people are shy. Shy is normal. A bit of anxiety is normal. Throw the two together, add some brain-signal error - a NO ENTRY sign on the neural highway from my brain to my mouth perhaps, though no one really knows - and you have me.”

This book is the story of Steffi and Rhys, two teenagers who both find it hard to live in the normal world. Steffi has selective mutism combined with severe social anxiety, meaning that she finds it extremely difficult to talk to people and rather uses BSL (British Sign Language). Rhys is the new kid on Steffi’s high school and is deaf, and when the headmaster introduces him to her because she knows BLS, Steffi and Rhys slowly grow from strangers to friends to something more.

So while the romance is a big part of the book, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is about much more than that. Apart from entertaining the reader, this story also educates us about sensitive topics like selective mutism, (social) anxiety, BLS, and the daily difficulties that the hearing impaired face. It is told from the first-person perspective of Steffi, which was lovely because Steffi’s struggle with her social anxiety was so realistically portrayed: as a person who also has undergone therapy to deal with severe stress, I completely understand what she was going through.

I shake my head. “Panic attacks aren’t supposed to happen.” I say. “I’m on medication. I’m happy. They are meant to go away now.”
“Steffi,” Jane [the therapist] says, still gentle, still calm. “You know that’s not how it works.”
“Why not?”
“Because anxiety doesn’t care if you’re happy or not. And if you tell yourself that you’re not allowed to have panic attacks because you’re ‘meant to be happy’, it will only make you feel worse.”

But it’s not all heaviness in this novel. Despite their disabilities, Steffi and Rhys still do normal teenage things together like go to parties, watch movies (with subtitles), and go on trips to Edinburgh. The story is also remarkably sexually positive and the author promotes safe sex in a very honest way that I haven’t read before. Steffi’s strong relationship with her best friend September (Steftember!) is amazing and very important to both of them, and there is plenty of cultural diversity in this novel as well: September is a black girl and Rhys is biracial (his father is from Guyana).

As for criticism, I would have prefered a dual-perspective so I would understand Rhys and his problems better. Now the focus is mostly on Steffi’s troubles and Rhys falls a bit behind. The second half of the book was also a little more tropy that the first half – including a life-changing journey a la “TFIOS” – but Steffi and Rhys definitely are more than their disabilities and love certainly doesn’t 'fix' any of their problems.

So not only has Sara Barnard written a wonderful love-story, it's also a very well-researched book about mental-health, BLS, being deaf, and the important support of friends and family while dealing with those issues. As an contemporary novel, “A Quiet Kind of Thunder” stands out in its diversity, dynamic characters, and well-build up romance, so it is a book that I would definitely recommend to others.

“Sometimes I don’t feel strong enough for this world.”
“Neither do I,” I say. “But we can be soft together.”
Profile Image for Belle.
511 reviews515 followers
November 11, 2018
3.5 / 5 stars

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

This was one of my most anticipated books, I had been desperate to read this after I saw that it had diverse disability rep, of which it had amazing reviews on. The deaf, selective mutism and anxiety representation throughout this book were so well done, there was no boy cures terrible and chronic anxiety here (and thank god for that).

Steffi and Rhys were both complex and lovely characters, which is something very special when it comes to characters who have disabilities. I commonly come across (especially in YA) romanticised illnesses, and characters that cease to be anything but a walking, talking diagnosis. These two teens were not just there so an author could claim their book was ‘diverse’, Barnard clearly had done a lot of research and put so much effort into creating realistic teenagers and I loved it.

SO REAL QUICK, this book focused on Steffi, a sixteen year old British teen who had been a selective mute for many years, stemming from her severe social anxiety. Steffi’s biggest ambition was to eventually go to university, much to her parent’s disapproval, and was determined to prove that she’s capable of handling herself despite her disabilities. ENTER Rhys, the new deaf student that gets paired with Steffi because she knows some rudimentary BSL. The two slowly get to know each other despite Steffi’s severe anxiety, and she slowly realises that communicating in BSL is actually something she enjoys and isn’t as anxiety provoking as speaking.

Steffi and Rhys were great, they each had their own struggles (although the book mainly focused on Steffi’s, with a brief few conversations about Rhys’ struggles) and the different way people can and can’t communicate. I thought it was such an amazing look into the struggles teens with learning/disabilities/chronic illnesses face in mainstream school.

This book was pretty wonderful, I enjoyed the characters and the every fluctuating relationships. But… there wasn’t much else going on. This was completely and utterly character-based, with even the character dramas ending without any climax (note: I didn’t want drama, but it just seemed to be lacking). High school was the original main setting of the story, with Steffi and Rhys meeting there, but that was kind of abandoned in the end as well. I just felt that the end was rather rushed, without everything having been addressed.

As much as it was cute and adorable, it also lacked emotion for me. I was going in expecting to be emotionally traumatised by this book, it had so much potential and I was ready for all the feels. But I got nothing. I truly, not even during the big ‘struggles’ got choked up, no tears were shed in the reading of this book. It all just began to feel a little superficial by the end.

There were a lot of cute little touches like the chapters headers including BSL (British Sign Language) signs and the little explanation of basic signs (I’m sorry, I love you, etc.). I just really loved that the author put in so much effort to immerse readers in the story and give us a little insight into SL.

Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,045 followers
April 22, 2019

It’s a very bold YA story in its overall sense. It’s very mature for a YA and the characters are very unusual, a deaf boy and a selectively mute girl. What I liked about the story is how it liberally addresses anxiety which anyone, differently abled or not can definitely experience. It also educates the readers on how the deaf communicates as well as how a girl with multiple anxiety disorder manages to cope. It is still a love story and sometimes it could get very cheesy and a bit unrealistic but I think the author is just trying to take these issues in the most positive perspectives possible.
Profile Image for Marianne Moresco.
Author 1 book158 followers
February 7, 2017
5 heart-warming stars

Oh boy. This book. This book and its characters. This book and its contents.
Diversity cast! Mature teenagers! No-romanticized anxiety disorders! Sexual positivity! Healthy relationships! Importance of friendship! No cheatings! No slut-shaming! Not overly fluffy and cheesy, just tender and important and heart-warming!
I loved this book to pieces. And keep in mind that I do not tend to like, nor love, contemporaries. But this book truly warmed my heart.
#BackstoryTime: I suffered, and still suffer sometimes, of anxiety disorders, and panic attacks, and let me tell you.. it's awful. And the way these problems are depicted in this book felt so real to me, I just.. ugh, I can't even explain how much I can relate to Steffi. The problem with anxiety disorders is that they do not just go away forever, and you can spend an entire beautiful day, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, panic starts and it's like you're awfully trapped in your own mind. This book do not make those problems go away the instant Steffi meet Rhys like "Love conquers all", they do not magically evaporate, but the message is: you can best these problems with time, and you're not alone.
The romance made me sooo happy, Rhys (I'm fairly sure this name is given just to beautiful characters.) is just so cute and realistic, I loved him.
Maybe the ending was a bit rushed, but oh boy the whole book was.so.good.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,415 reviews385 followers
April 7, 2020
4.5 stars rounding all the way up.

He can’t hear, she doesn’t speak but they understand one another perfectly.

That’s the strapline on this book and it blew me away like I find the best YA can. This was one of the most relatable YAs I’ve read in a long time. I think some of this was down to the fact it was quintessentially British and not American and I loved the sense of home in this book.

Steffi was a carefully crafted complex and refreshing character. I ‘got’ her, I admired her and wanted her to thrive in whatever way was right for her. Rhys was bloody adorable and flawed and adorable. Did I say adorable? *shrugs* The story of these two was an absorbing delight to read but it was real, it had grit.

I devoured this book quickly. I slipped into this seamless writing with ease and I’m genuinely sorry it’s over. I will be reading more from Sara Barnard, she rocked this age range so good.
Profile Image for Julie Zantopoulos.
Author 4 books2,239 followers
December 14, 2017
I'd like to preface this review by stating that I am not a part of the deaf community or living with the same mental health issues that the characters in this book do. As such, I cannot speak to the representation in the book, but it is my belief that it was handled fantastically. Again, that's from my scope and should never outweigh those in the communities represented.

That said, this book was beautiful, truly and wonderfully written. This book follows Steffi who is a selective mute with severe anxiety that makes it difficult for her to speak about her peers, strangers, or in large social situations. She mainly speaks only to her best friend Tem and her family but she's working to overcome her anxiety and start speaking more. It also follows Rhys who is deaf and new to Steffi's school. The two are paired up because Steffi knows BLS (British Sign Language -as the book is set in the UK).

The two form a friendship that leads to first love and discovering how they fit into the world around them and one another's lives. This book is raw and real and discusses a ton of important topics for teens and young adults. The displacement you feel going to University, the ups and downs of friendships, navigating your first relationship, sex, dating, love, and so much more. The family dynamics are messy and loving and Steffi herself-man is she a force. She's in therapy, she's trying medicines for the first time, she's strong and fierce, and the love interest doesn't "fix" her.

I thought every aspect of this book was handled BEAUTIFULLY. Have I mentioned I think this book is beautiful? It's a recommended read for everyone I know. Honestly, pick it up!
Profile Image for enqi ༄ؘ 。˚ ⋆♡.
319 reviews618 followers
May 26, 2021
With lightning, you're never really sure if that's what it was; it's just a flash. Thunder, you know. You feel it.

One of the cutest contemporaries I've ever read that packs an emotional punch while managing to make you grin from ear to ear at the same time.

Steffi has been a selective mute almost all her life. She's gone through several diagnoses and still struggles to find words when she needs them. At times, she feels completely overlooked and invisible -- except to one person, the new boy at school. Rhys Gold.

Rhys is deaf. He is assigned to Steffi because of her rudimentary knowledge of BSL, and as they start communicating, the two of them develop a friendship which in turn blossoms into something more. Their love is not like lightning, a passionate flash -- but more like thunder, a slow and steady beat.

Steffi doesn't talk. Rhys can't hear. Their love shouldn't work -- but against all odds, it does. The romance is definitely the biggest plus point of this book. I spent the majority of the time smiling so widely when I was reading it, because it's literally such a feel-good story full of fluff.

I fell in love with Steffi and Rhys so easily. Steffi is shy and awkward and second-guesses herself all the time. I loved her inner voice. Rhys is kind, understanding, attentive and generally the perfect boyfriend. And Tem was the best friend I've always wished I had -- wild, enthusiastic, loyal. Reading about them just made me so happy and I never wanted the book to stop.

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.

Lots of people are shy. Shy is normal. A bit of anxiety is normal. Throw the two together, add some brain-signal error - a NO ENTRY sign on the neural highway from my brain to my mouth perhaps, though no one really knows - and you have me.

But more importantly, as you read this book you begin to realise that hearing and listening are two very different things, and that speaking is certainly not the only way of expressing oneself. I thought the representation in this story (of both deaf people as well as people with anxiety/selective mutism) was phenomenal, and it underscores the importance of communication in any relationship, under any circumstances.

I want the world, I think. Even if it scares me.
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
January 9, 2018
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

Steffi is selective mute and has been since a child... but that is about to change... she hopes!! This is the year where she's trying to break out of the hold her anxiety has on her actions. If she doesn't then her parents may just decide no university for her! Amidst this she meets Rhys. Deaf, they communicate through her rusty sign language. With her silent voice and his expert listening skills they become friends in their own little world, as they reconcile the real world around them there are unexpected twists to the world as she knows it!

The short review...

I LOVED it... ... ...What?! That wasn't enough for you?! Well I DO have a few more specifics about WHAT I loved... This has some masterful examples of family, a traditional one and a divorced parents one, both of which I LOVED and thought were spot on. The FRIENDSHIP with Tem! I NEED me my own Tem! And how cute is ASL?! (Or rather BSL since this is set in Britain!! Another bonus as I love the tiny differences in British culture as compared to American.)

I DID totally love Rhys! I love that his father came from South America and that he had a totally well adjusted life even as he dealt with his deafness and the emotions that arose due to how people treated him because of it. I related to Rhys but I HARDCORE related to Steffi's social anxiety. I really enjoyed how her counseling played a HUGE role in her getting a handle on her mutism while Rhys simply provided her motivation!

Cover & Title grade -> B+

There are two covers! I suspect one is the American version and the other is the British one. I really LOVE the pink and foil one with the type title. I was drawn to that one. The cover of my ARC is dark blue with hands in the shape of a heart. I'm less drawn to that one but I recognized the title right off! (Hence my grade!) The title is one of those old fashioned ones that are now classics. It's perfect as far as titles go for me... everything now is so literal and this one is simply beautiful poetry from the story itself!

Why should you read this YA contemporary?

The mental health, the mental health, the mental health!!

-The explanation of a selective mute was quite good. I felt like I came to understand this was truly an illness and that it was okay that it happened. We do feel like we need to understand WHY illnesses like this happen as if we want to judge whether it was something they did (like being fat) or if it is something that is "out of their control" (like our race). The message is that WHY just isn't the issue. It was beautiful and it was raw and the steps to getting healthier were laid out.

-Social anxiety which made Steffi's symptoms worse was also explored and was so RELATABLE!! Like really, really relatable! This is where Tem came in. She was the "normal," social one and provided a contrast to Steffi while also being integral to WHO Steffi was and how she had coped up to this point. There is this beautifully laid comparison between the two girls that goes a long way in showing readers who haven't experienced anxiety what it means to have it and how you can still relate.

-Then there is Rhys physical disability in his deafness. There is a helplessness to being deaf (or other physical disabilities) because this is something that is a literal part of you. As a reader you may struggle with that idea with a mental illness but we TOTALLY understand with the physical. So when Rhys struggles mentally due to being deaf we understand and we want to do something. Sometimes that is the wrong thing to do!! Getting into that mindset so realistically was a treat!!

-Finally there was HOW Steffi and Rhys coped... sign language! She couldn't handle the pressure of talking and he can't hear. They used BSL to bridge what they perceived was holding them back and to create a "safe" world to grow stronger together. That allowed them to finally step out from behind their individual fears. GAH!! It was so, so good...

As a Writer...

I have no idea whether Barnard has personally experienced any of these conditions or simply did an INCREDIBLE job researching! To me it doesn't matter. She tapped into the heart and supported each and every emotion and motivation the characters had... Steffi, Rhys, Tem and even her and his families! When you write the research is great but it must be woven into the plot (done, done, done!) AND it must ring true. NOT because the facts are all text book perfect but because we can relate and more, we understand!

I LOVE awkward people and I really enjoy that sweet moment when they realize here is a person that will stick by them... whether in friendship or love, it doesn't matter!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building

BOTTOM LINE: Diverse, British, mental health, friendship and romance!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. It has not influenced my opinions.

You can find this review and many others on my book blog @ Perspective of a Writer. See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
January 9, 2017
I suppose that I should have known going into this that a book about a mute girl would have a lot of internal dialogue, but wow.

I mean, again it makes sense but I found it to be a bit grating at times. Especially a mute girl with anxiety issues and yeah....lots of verbal diarrhea. I suppose it was realistic, but it would have been nice if it was trimmed a bit. Still... in all fairness the premise of a romance between a girl with selective mutism and a deaf boy was very intriguing.

I always like reading about people that deal with different issues than my own. It was interesting to get a small glimpse into the deaf world. It would have been nicer if the book felt a little less preachy about it, but I can see how easy it is to make a subject that a lot of people don't have a huge understanding of into a ranty “ 10 Things not to say to a deaf person” book.

In all fairness the preachiness wasn't a HUGE part of the book, but I did find myself rolling my eyes a bit during those parts as it felt a bit pretentious. Things I Should Have Known did a much better job at enlightening the reader about a sensitive subject without coming across as overbearing.

As for the romance I did like it for the most part, it made sense that the two protagonist would be drawn together and it went at a pretty realistic pace for teenagers.

I did enjoy this book overall, it had a unique premise and if you have the patience for a bit of talking down to I think you might enjoy this.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Borrow

Check out more of my reviews here

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,396 followers
March 13, 2017
I tried to get into this book. I really did. I was desperate to like it because the premise was so interesting. The writing is what got me though. I couldn't handle the disjointed feel. It seemed like the protagonist never was in the same head space. Each chapter she was different and I almost felt like I was reading from POV's.

There's also the fact I can't tell you what happened. Why? I've forgotten it all already. I literally finished this book like two minutes ago and I'm not even sure what I read. A hard pass on this.
Profile Image for Emily Mead.
569 reviews
January 31, 2017

This book is amazing. For example:

1) Tons of accuracy about anxiety- really really loved this portrayal
2) An AMAZING and supportive female friendship between Steffi and Tem #friendshipgoals
3) A cute romance where Steffi and Rhys actually communicated and worked on their issues as a couple
4) Learning more about the Deaf community, sign language and communicating in general
5) Great representation of parents who are flawed but so realistic

Can't wait to review this one on the 26th!
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