Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John


Title: Five Flavors of Dumb
Author: Antony John 
Release Date: November 11, 2010
Source: Local Library 
Format: Hardcover 

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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. (taken from goodreads.com)
Countless readers have told me that Five Flavors of Dumb inspired and captivated them. I had never read a book starring a deaf protagonist, but now I have to agree. Piper's heartaches captured my attention, not because she is deaf, but because her personality and feelings shine through the pages. This inspiring journey of self-discovery rocked my world.

All of her life, Piper has stayed in the shadows. Her disability has tarnished her self-esteem for as long as she can remember. She finds her only solace in academic achievement and the chess club. However, her world is turned completely upside down when Josh, the lead singer of the band Dumb, offers her a position as the band's manager. It was awesome and completely inspiring to watch Piper bust out of her shell. I wanted to cheer for her and support her rebellion against the norm.

I loved the addition of music history and classic rock to the plot line. It's not often you stumble upon a young adult book filled with references to rock legends such as Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. The dynamics of Dumb are fascinating to read about as they experiment with different styles and songs. One of my favorite parts is when the band plays "Smells Like Teen Spirit" because I can visualize the performance so clearly. I even turned the song on while reading and imagined what it would be like to attend a Dumb concert.

Finally, I have discovered a young adult novel with a realistic portrayal of an ordinary family. Sure, Piper's family has to deal with her hearing disability, but the essential dynamics are authentic. Her parents, unlike so many other fictional guardians, are protective and somewhat strict. Her family fights over believable topics and I can completely understand Piper's repressed feelings of betrayal and hurt.

Dumb enchanted me with it's authenticity and provoking messages. The novel speaks out against conformity, encouraging readers to let their true identities show. The story holds a bit of everything, from action to romance, heartache to euphoria. Every young adult fiction lover should give this gem a shot. 
Rating: 4.5 Stars