Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony JohnFive Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Dial, 352 pages

THE CHALLENGE: Piper has one month to get a paying gig for Dumb—the hottest new rock band in school.

THE DEAL: If she does it, she’ll become manager of the band and get her share of the profits, which she desperately needs since her parents raided her college fund.

THE CATCH: Managing one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl who is ready to beat her up. And doing it all when she’s deaf. With growing self-confidence, an unexpected romance, and a new understanding of her family’s decision to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, Piper just may discover her own inner rock star.

In 2007, I wrote a NaNoWriMo novel with my main character as the manager and the guitarist of a Christian band. I had a pretty good idea for a story, really, with the band looking for a female vocalist and I figured the hardest part was writing about their chemistry. It turned out it wasn’t. The hardest part was writing about music because even if I’ve helped produced some concerts before, I still didn’t know how it feels like to be in an actual band, or even to just manage one. Suffice to say, that was one of the hardest novels I’ve tried to write.

But that doesn’t stop me from putting singing characters or bands in my stories. I don’t know why — maybe it’s a frustration because I know I am hardly musical? Oh I listen to a lot of songs, but I usually pay attention to the lyrics and not the music. Maybe it’s because I have a secret dream of being a rock star or a manager of a band?

Antony John’s latest novel, Five Flavors of Dumb spoke to my inner rock star and band manager. I’ve been eying this book for the longest time (even made a Want Books post about it) ever since I saw it from That Cover Girl. I was planning on waiting for the actual book to arrive but I had an ebook itch I needed to scratch and I was very easily swayed when she convinced me to. And this is one splurge I am very glad I did. :)

Five Flavors of Dumb tells the story of Piper Vaughan, deaf girl, who gets recruited to be the manager of Dumb, the new rock band in school. What would a deaf girl know about music, right? But Piper says yes to it after she finds out that her parents used her college money to buy a cochlear implant for her baby sister, Grace, who was born deaf. She has one month to bring in the cash, and it would have been easier for her if Dumb actually worked together…but as luck would have it, it wasn’t. And craziness ensues.

Five Flavors of Dumb is such a fun read from the start all the way to the end. I loved Piper’s voice. If you didn’t read the blurb, you’d honestly be surprised to find out she was deaf as she revealed it. I loved how smart and snarky Piper was despite her circumstances, and the fact that she was hearing impaired made her rock some more. I love how the other characters were more than what they were at first, from Ed the love interest who can play anything with stainless steel drums and particularly the other girls, Tash and Kallie. The characters were a diverse group, and it really brought out the “flavors” in the novel.

There’s also a lot more going in this novel other than Piper’s deafness or managing the band. This book also tackled some music history (Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, for those who are curious), passion, a bit of self-image and a lot of family. I was torn between Piper and her family when tensions rose about her deafness and her sister’s cochlear implants, and normally I would think it was unfair for Piper. I hated Piper’s father at first for being so prejudiced against his daughter, but he had a good redemption in the end. It really is a difficult situation for a family to be in, anyway. The choices that Piper’s parents made are choices that they shouldn’t have to make, but they have to and just find ways to deal with what happens after. I loved how that issue was resolved and how everything was tied up at the end. To put it simply: it rocked.

I was kind of expecting it to be like Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (which I also liked a lot), but Five Flavors of Dumb had all the things I liked about that novel, and more. This is one of the books that I think I will also get in print version when I see it in the stores here so I can lend it to other people and they can read for themselves how much this book rocks (and the cover is just really pretty). Don’t miss out on this one rocking your world. :)

And you know what? This book just gave me a problem. I’d need to fix my Top 10 reads of 2010 again to make room for this one.

Rating: [rating=5]

My copy: e-book, from Amazon Kindle store

Cover and blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:

The Book Smugglers

YA Addict

18 Thoughts on “Five Flavors of Dumb

  1. Sounds really good. I’m intrigued. How can you manage a rock band without being able to hear them?? The cover looks really good. Funny that the main character is named Piper… the title of the book which have a cover that looks like the cover of this one, Piper’s Son. :P

    And I’m adding it to my radar list.

  2. Thanks so much for the awesome review, Tina. I’m thrilled you took the plunge and got the e-book (which I’ve never seen, by the way; glad to know it’s good!) and especially that you took the time to write such a thoughtful review. It’s such a relief to hear that the book is resonating with readers.

    Much appreciated!

  3. This warms my heart that you enjoyed this book! It was one of my absolute favorite reads this year. And a definite *fist pump* to the fact that “it rocked”! I am looking forward to reading his other novel and his future ones from here on out. =)

  4. After your review, I really want to read this even though I’d never heard of it before. If I can’t find it in stores at least I know I have the option to get the e-book version. I’ve never read a band-centric novel now that I think about it. Can’t wait to check this one out.

    • That’s the beauty of ebooks — you can get them easily if you absolutely can’t wait or can’t find a copy of the book. This one is really good, and having a deaf heroine makes it so much interesting. :)

  5. The story seems really refreshing. I haven’t heard anything like it before. Piper and the band members with their diverse personalities would truly make for an interesting read. I bet one or some of them would be on our favorite male/female characters :P

    • They are truly diverse! I love that some of the major characters are Asian American and African American. :) Yes, if I’ve read this earlier, I would have placed Piper in one of the favorite female characters. :D

  6. Such an interesting combination, hearing impaired and part of a band! I’ve seen this book appear on many book blogs but now I actually want to read it myself. Thanks

  7. This one sounds so wonderful. The idea of a deaf girl being
    a band manager is one I’ve never heard of before, so this one is
    bound to be refreshing. Also, I’m a huge music junkie, and any book
    with strong musical undertones is almost guaranteed to be loved by
    me. Adding this one to my wishlist. Thanks for the review!

    • From what you said, I think you’ll really like this one. I’m not much of a music person (well, I listen to music, but I’m really more of a lyrics girl), but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. :D

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