Sometimes I can’t talk. It’s something that just happens to me when my brain can’t handle the outside world. It’s almost like my brain forgets how to do it, failing synapses firing into nothingness.
The day that I picked up A Quiet Kind of Thunder was one of those days. We were moving out of my flat and I, like so many other autistic people, don’t really handle change well, and that manifested in my voice leaving me. A Quiet Kind of Thunder was the book I needed that day.
Steffi is mute in public, but is able to talk with some people. Her best friend Tem is moving to college instead of staying in their High School, meaning Steffi is without the person who has been her social guide since she was four. As term starts, she is introduced to Rhys, who is deaf, as they both speak British Sign Language. This is a love story, and a very cute one at that.
Sara does a brilliant job of portraying hearing privilege and the ways that hearing people make the world inaccessible for deaf people which are really important to know about – such as not facing the person you are speaking to. Her portrayal of mutism and social anxiety feel 100% accurate to me, as person with lived experience of both. The novel also discusses the feeling of being a burden that disabled people feel daily; it made me choke up.
Also this book has the most awkward two sex scenes I have ever read. So very accurate to teenage life!
I completely loved this novel as much as Beautiful Broken Things, maybe more so because of the personal connection to this book.
Interested? Get it here.
What to read next:
- Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
- Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
- Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki.
Thank you to My Kinda Book for sharing this copy with me.