Mini Reviews: ‘I Was Born For This’ and ‘A Quiet Kind of Thunder’

03/07/2020 Reading, Reviews 4

It has literally been so long since I’ve posted any reviews, and I am so behind! I’ve been really struggling to find motivation to write reviews recently though, so I’ve decided to try mixing up my format a bit to see if it makes it easier and more fun to write them.

I’m still going to be doing two mini-reviews in each post, but I’m going to be using subtitles to try and make sure they actually stay mini-reviews, instead of turning into my usual lengthy rambles!

Anyway, today I’m reviewing two contemporaries I read recently, both by authors whose books I’ve been meaning to check out for a while: I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman and A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard.

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

Angel isn’t just a fan of boyband The Ark: the band is her life. And finally, she’s getting to see them perform live, with her best friend Juliet at her side…everything is going to be perfect.

Jimmy is a member of The Ark, and is living his dreams of being a professional musician. The only problem is that dreams aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be…

The Good:

  • This book is all about fandoms: the good, the bad and the ugly sides of it. I always find books about fandoms really interesting, and I Was Born For This really delved deep into why people are part of fandoms, what they get out of it, and also the darker side of it all. Whilst I’ve never been part of a band fandom (I literally don’t think I could name any members of the bands I like…I’m only really interested in the music!) I’ve definitely been a fan of other things, and could really relate to Angel in that sense.
  • This book had plenty of diversity, and also really good anxiety representation. Whilst a large part of the book is based around show business, mental illness definitely wasn’t glamorised, but shown in it’s true, terrifying form, and I think it was very powerful and realistic.

The Bad:

  • I don’t feel like I massively connected with the characters, which sounds weird, considering how much I could relate to a lot of things they experience. Maybe it was the writing style, but I felt like I didn’t really like the characters all that much, and the whilst the way they treat the people around them is a large part of their growth throughout the book, I felt it made them unlikeable?
  • I don’t want to spoil too much what happens, but I spent the entire book waiting for something big and exciting to happen when Angel and Jimmy finally met…and then I was a bit disappointed? As I say, I don’t want to be too specific and ruin it, but I don’t feel like they really connected at all as people? Which, incidentally is how I felt with them as characters too!

Overall Thoughts:

To be honest, I was kind of disappointed in this book. I’d heard so much about Alice Oseman’s books, and I just didn’t really connect with this one, despite a really interesting concept. I think it was mostly a problem with the characters though, so I wouldn’t rule out trying some of her other books.

My Rating: 3/5

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Steffi has had selective mutism and social anxiety for most of her life, and so everyone at school just knows her as the quiet girl. She might as well be invisible…that is until the new boy Rhys starts at her school. Due to her knowledge of sign language, she’s assigned to help him settle in, and the two of them strike up a friendship…or could it be more?

The Good:

  • This is a book about social anxiety! Whilst I’ve never suffered from any kind of mutism, I’ve definitely always been incredibly shy, and at one point could have been classified as having social anxiety. Meeting new people and making small talk is still something I find incredibly difficult, so I loved reading about a character who I could relate to on such a deep level.
  • Steffi and Rhys’ relationship was so cute! I find book relationships where there’s loads of unnecessary conflict really frustrating, so I liked reading about people who just clicked and genuinely really cared about each other. Sure, they have their ups and downs, but it’s more to do with their problems regarding the world itself and navigating it than with each other.
  • Speaking of awesome relationships…I loved Steffi’s friendship with Tem! I liked how opposite they were, but how well they get on, and I can definitely relate to being the shy friend clinging to the more confident one in social settings.

The Bad:

  • This book made me feel warm and fuzzy pretty much all the way through, and I don’t really have anything bad to say about it…this new review format is showing holes already!

My Overall Thoughts:

This book was just a heart-warming read with characters I could relate to on a deep level. I don’t know if a lot of my enjoyment of this book came from the fact I felt so similar to Steffi, but I think there’s a lot about this book that anyone could enjoy, namely the cute romance element!

My Rating: 4.5/5

So have you read either of these books? What did you think?

4 Responses to “Mini Reviews: ‘I Was Born For This’ and ‘A Quiet Kind of Thunder’”

  1. Malka @ Paper Procrastinators

    I’ve read and loved both of these books!

    I think I understand why I Was Born For This didn’t work for you. All the Alice Oseman books I’ve read have been very slow and character based, so if you don’t like or connect to the characters then you won’t end up liking the book as a whole. Of course the exception to this are her Heartstopper graphic novels, which are really cute, and take a more lighthearted tone, rather than such an introspective one.

    As for A Quiet Kind of Thunder, I read that book years back and I adored it! I thought it was such a well done story that featured disability and mental illness so well! I’m so glad that you read and loved it since that’s a book I’d like to see more people read!

    • Laura

      I’m glad you enjoyed them!
      That makes sense with Alice Oseman’s books, as it did seem very character-centric, and I just didn’t click with the characters. I definitely intend to try some of her other books to see if I like them better, and I’ve heard great things about the Heartstopper graphic novels, so I want to read them too.
      And I totally agree, I think A Quiet Kind of Thunder handled disability and mental illness really well! 🙂

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