Annike: Hey everyone, today I wanted to review a book that I actually haven’t seen around that much. It is not overly hyped and has under 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. However, despite all this it was a diverse book that I really loved and wanted to share with you! So here we go…
Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.
Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’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 look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds 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.
From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
So, before we start I wanted to say that I actually haven’t read Sara Barnard’s other book – Beautiful Broken Things – which seems to be quite liked and in fact I have no idea how this book ended up on my TBR. I love the theme of deaf characters because they are always so intricate and need to be portrayed in more fiction. However, earlier in the year I read Tone Deaf and found that I didn’t like the portrayal of the deaf character very much. This book was quite different for me as I liked the characters more and even the plot.
The story focuses around Steffi who is a young girl struggling with anxiety and select mutism. I’ve actually read another book earlier this year that also had this theme but again I couldn’t find much in it that I liked so it was good for me to read about another example of this. From what I know, I think the author did a good job on highlighting the fact that select mutism is not merely a choice but when it came to her anxiety, I sometimes felt like the representation of it fell a little short and her panic attacks either weren’t explained or just brushed over like a minor worry.
Rhys is the other main character in this book who brings his own diverse nature to the story through being deaf. I really liked Rhys as a character. He was sweet and thoughtful and Sara Barnard did a really good job of indicating when he was signing to Steffi or his family which made it much easier to understand. I loved the use of different communication styles that Steffi and Rhys used to try to develop their relationship and move past being friends.
There were also many other characters such as Tem, Steffi’s best friend who was always supportive but of course had problems of her own to deal with. it was great to read about all the challenges in the lives of these 3 distinct personalities and the ways that they all reacted to these problems. If I could however, I would have loved to read more about Meg (Rhys’ best friend) because in the brief scene that she was in I completely loved her and her chattiness. It would have been great to build another connection there and look more into Rhys’ life before he moved to Steffi’s school.
Overall, this book is a really valuable and entertaining read. Reading about Steffi and Rhys’ relationship and how they are able to find ways to communicate and how Steffi is able to make progress on her social anxiety is really great. I thoroughly enjoyed it but the reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was simply because for me there wasn’t anything in there that just grabbed my attention and made it perfect. It was really good in many ways but for some reason there wasn’t the connection I needed. That being said, I definitely recommend picking this book up and giving it a read! Please do, it definitely deserves some more love 🙂