Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Five Flavors of Dumb, by Antony John

Five Flavors of Dumb is a story about a high school rock band. This genre seems to have gained popularity lately, and this book is an excellent addition to the theme. The fact that our main character, the band manager, is deaf just adds to the appeal of this book.

Piper has been deaf since she was six years old. So, she can speak fairly well, and has some hearing, although mostly she reads lips. There’s a powerful family dynamic in this story too. There’s hard feelings because Piper’s college fund was used to pay for her baby sister’s cochlear implants. She resents her father because he has never learned sign language, and her brother, who is a freshman, is hiding something.

Then there’s the band, Dumb. Piper isn’t sure why they asked her to be manager, but motivated by money, she does the best she can, and makes some mistakes. There are the typical conflicts of any group of teens, especially those desiring to be in the spotlight.  And Dumb has quite the hodgepodge of members. We have the chess geek, the quiet goth girl, the hot, popular guitar girl who can’t play the guitar, and the lead singer who only asked the hot guitar girl to be in the band so he can hook up with her. There’s enough humor to break up the tension, and a little bit of romance, but not enough to keep boys from enjoying this.

The ending is satisfying and hopeful, although not perfect. John allows these characters to make mistakes, learn from them, and mature naturally, especially Piper.  This was an entertaining read for teens, especially those who are interested in music.

Published by Dial, 2010
Copy obtained from the library
338 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. I won this novel is a contest along with a couple of other books. I'd never really heard much about it before, but now after reading your review I'm looking forward to picking it up.

  2. My sister loved this book, and I have been interested in it too. I like that the characters are not perfect - it makes the book more realistic.

  3. This is one of my top ten YA novels! I love the way John handled family dynamics and I just loved how Piper changed and grew throughout the story. I really need to re-read this one soon.


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