‘Extroverts can be shy, introverts can be bold, and a condition like anxiety can strike whatever kind of social animal you are.’
I have said before that there are so many great YA books around at the moment, but it is true. My reading list contains so many and this is one that I was excited to pick up. Firstly, I have heard a lot of praise for Sara Barnard and I think she writes YA really well. The key is to be able to capture what young people are really going through and how they feel, which Barnard does well. As with many YA books, this one is largely about a boy and a girl and their relationship coupled with the kind of problems that young people face like love, parents, friendships, school etc. However, the twist with this novel is that the main character, Steffi, suffers from anxiety and Rhys, a secondary character, is deaf. I love that Barnard has chosen to look at these issues. One of my favourite things about YA is that it often gets young people thinking about important topics and expanding their thoughts and opinions. Mental health is something people are really trying to talk about right now, and although every person’s story and experiences will be different, Barnard portrays anxiety so well overall. When we meet her, Steffi’s diagnosis has changed from selective mutism to severe social anxiety and following her struggles and progression was interesting. The idea of a deaf character is interesting in a novel. Barnard uses bold type to show when characters are signing and there are even chances for the reader to learn some basic BSL (British Sign Language) which I loved! Although being deaf is something we are all aware of, you do not necessarily think in depth about what it is like to actually live your life as someone who is deaf. I think I learned a lot from the character of Rhys about how difficult it is, but also about how totally capable he is. I would definitely recommend this as a great example of YA novels are so good. Please take a look at my full review here.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard, published in 2017 by Macmillan Children’s Books, RRP £7.99, ISBN 978-1-5098-1098-7