Five Flavors of Dumb
Author: Antony John
The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.
The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band’s manager and get her share of the profits.
The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she’s deaf?
Piper can’t hear Dumb’s music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.
Sometimes my favorites books are ones which I pick up at random, and Five Flavors of Dumb was one of those books. I don’t even really remember how I ended up picking it up…I was in the YA section of the library, looking for another book (although for the life of me, I can’t remember what book it is), and this one caught my eye, so I figured what the heck. The first thing that I noticed on the cover was the gold award sticker and it was for an award that I had never heard of (which when I explored, it was for the accurate portrayal of a teenager with a disability in fiction – in this case, deafness).
It seemed to me that the author had some sort of experience working with individuals who were deaf because there just seemed to be a sense of realism in not only Piper’s character, but how people interacted with her. The father who struggled with her progressive deafness as a child, her brother who is her confident, and her mother, stressing about not only Piper, but about her new baby sister, born deaf. He also managed to bring in the use of technology to help individuals who are deaf, from hearing aids, to cochlear implants (on Piper’s baby sister). That was what made the story unique.
However, on the other hand, it had what seems to be the requisite teenage angst and drama that seems to be a dominant theme in YA fiction now days. While I thought the author did a good job of developing Piper and her family as characters, I thought that the band members of Dumb were very one-dimensional. there just wasn’t really anything about them that made me care about them. There was the golden boy pain in the ass; the magical musician, the requisite hot chick and the bad girl…I just didn’t really care about them all that much.
Overall, I gave Five Flavors of DUMB 3.5 stars, but i do think that people interested in the deaf culture would enjoy it. And i’ll be interested to see what else he writes in the future.