We’re barely into 2017 and this is an early contender for book of the year. It is simply beautiful.
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.
The slowly building friendship that turns into love between Steffi and Rhys takes us on a journey as they both discover more about themselves and the depth of their strength of character. This book is a sensitively handled insight into social anxiety and I was impressed by the way Steffi’s personality developed. Her own lack of confidence, despite evidence to the contrary of what she could achieve, was realistic and cleverly conveyed to the reader as we follow her on her journey.
You should read this book if you want to understand the quiet people in your life, and how they aren’t broken and don’t need fixing, but are able to communicate in their own way and in their own time.
This book is full of hope and love, both romantic as well as friendship and family love, and is the perfect way to start 2017. Utterly and totally mesmerising. A brilliant second novel from Sara Barnard.