I read this novel, Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John, back in March, before I’d decided to start reviewing books here.  In an effort to keep posting every weekday in these last two weeks of the year, and in order to share a good book with you, I present to you a review.

Statistics
Checkouts: I probably should donate it to the library.
Typical reader: Teens with interest in music or disabilities
Source: Personally purchased from Snowbound Books

Synopsis: Piper is witness to a hot new band’s impromptu performance on her high school’s front steps, and later has the guts to tell them they’re crap. The three-person band decides to challenge her in return – become their manager and get them a paying gig within a month. She accepts this potentially impossible task. It’s not just hard because they’re a new band that needs improvement – it’s hard because Piper is deaf.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

I couldn’t be in the same room as the book if I wanted to do something besides pick it up and continue reading.  This book is an intriguing compilation of hard rock history, the story of a band, teen romance and friendships in many forms, family dynamics, and a tale of coping with what many would consider a disability. Piper is an excellent, strong protagonist who brings together an eclectic band of five very different flavors of people (hence the title) while dealing with a family that doesn’t always support her – her parents dip into her college savings, earmarked for a university for the hearing impaired, to buy her deaf little sister a cochlear implant.

The characters are excellent, for the most part.  Piper and her brother Finn have an interesting, complex relationship of sibling love, rivalry, and dependance – while Piper can read lips and speak, it’s much easier to communicate with sign language while he serves as an interpreter.  The one character that I felt was a bit flat was the father.  While he does become more supportive as the story progresses, he comes across mostly as obtuse.

I picked up this entertaining book from a sea of teen fiction that was mostly either paranormal/paranormal romance or catty clique novels. It stood out as different, and it was.  If you’re looking for an antidote for the common teen novel, this is it.

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