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.
I received an eARC edition of this book courtesy of Macmillan Children’s Books via NetGalley in exchange
Is there a single person who can say that they didn’t at least tear up at this book at one point or another? Probably not. This novel did something Barnard’s previous book didn’t manage to do – it made me feel things. Good things, bad things not much of the in between really. I was crying, laughing and definitely thinking slightly too hard about the contents that this novel held within its pages.
It definitely dealt with some pretty difficult subjects, anxiety, panic attacks and grief were handled in an adept way, much more I felt than in Beautiful Broken Things. It was just dealt with in a really matter of fact yet gentle way.
Steffi was a great protagonist – there was no moment in which she turned into a giant whiney mess, despite having every reason to. Of course, she had her down moments; which were palpable through the pages yet I felt like she and the people around her dealt with them in incredibly mature and sensible ways.
Parents played an important role in this novel, unlike others of the genre they were actually present. But that wasn’t always a good thing… Steffi’s mother…. was an interesting character. I disliked her quite strongly at points, there was no reason for her to blame Steffi for the way she was and yet I feel like her mother did exactly that making the heroine feel slightly inadequate. Yet at other times, it was still clear that she loved Steffi, although showed it in strange ways sometimes. And I feel Barnard reflected on regular parent-child relationships really well when it comes to that, it is often how relationships of that kind work and this book showed that really well.
The romance, whilst a bit on the rushed side which irked me slightly was great. There was no “girl meets boy and suddenly she’s all better” instead, it was a collaborative effort between Rhys and Steffi, I felt like they were honestly so good for each other – it was clear that the love between them was genuine, and that they really did care for each other and it just made the whole slight insta-love thing more bearable for me.
THE REPRESENTATION IN THIS BOOK. From physical to mental disabilities – the novel was truly divere. I also really liked the fact that Barnard cared enough to actually seem like she researched into BSL enough to be able to give a solid rendition of it within her book. The fact that there were snippets that “taught” you how to do some of the signs which were relevant to the story at the time was a great idea and really added to the experience for me.
However, the plot of the story sort of meandered and seemed to do a tennis-match a lot, back and forth between some topics. Which slightly detracted from my enjoyment, but not largely enough to lower my rating drastically.
My Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars