Title: Five Flavors of Dumb
Author: Antony John
Published: November 2010 by Dial
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Deafness | Rock Music
Includes: Profanity, Sensuality
First Lines: For the record, I wasn't around the day they decided to become Dumb. If I'd been their manager back then I'd have pointed out that the name, while accurate, was not exactly smart.
When Piper learns that her parents have spent her college savings in order to pay for her baby sister's cochlear implant (since she's deaf), Piper is desperate to make some money. She winds up making a deal with the lead singer of Dumb, an aspiring rock band at her high school; she has one month to get them a paying gig, and in return she can be the manager. The only problem? Piper is deaf.
This book has so many great layers and the perfect balance of storyline and subplots. Piper experiences what being a band manager is all about, while coping with her deafness at the same time. Lately she's been having some family issues - with a baby sister that is getting all the attention, a freshman brother trying to fit in, and a father who barely even talks to her. I really liked the original story idea; even though she wasn't completely deaf, since she had a hearing aid and could have one-on-one conversations with people, it was interesting reading a book from a practically deaf person's perspective. Piper is such a determined and tough chick, and I really got into her character. Antony John's writing was very vivid and real. I felt like I was there with Piper, as she visited dead Seattle rock stars' memorials and houses. There were definitely some funny moments in the book, others that made me on the verge of tears, and a couple that made me fume out of anger. It was just a big rollercoaster ride of emotions!
From page 98
He erupted into laughter, which was kind of annoying, so I pretended that my hearing aids had been turned off. By the time I signaled they were on again, he didn't bother to repeat the joke.
I loved the diverse characters in the book. Even though I could have gotten to know some of them a little bit better, overall characterization was very well-written. Each character had their own identity and I especially liked the nerdy drummer, Ed, and the angry guitarist, Tash. I grew to really love them by the end of the novel.
The author definitely did his research, and got everything spot on. I learned new things about classic rock bands that I never knew before, and I bookmarked half of the novel with little tabs of things that I wanted to look up later. Even during the scene where Kallie was watching a home video of Nirvana on YouTube - I was able to find it, too, and watched it just as it was described in the book! I really appreciate a book where the author actually gets their facts straight. There weren't that many twists or anything in the book, overall it was very straightforward, yet I felt that it was appropriate. It wasn't some sort of sappy romance, even though there is a blossoming romance!, and it definitely wasn't cheesy. Instead, the author crafted together a beautiful novel about a girl discovering herself and what she's capable of, and left the ending open, yet at the same time tying together all the loose ends. I'll definitely have to read more by this author because I was very impressed.
Cover Thoughts: LOVE this cover - it really captures the essence of the book! It's grungy and tough, represents what the book is all about, and is overall just very creative and memorable.