Four Reasons to Love Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of Dumb

by Antony John
Genres: Young Adult
Published on 2010
Pages: 337
Format: Hardcover Source: Library
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The Challenge: Eighteen-year-old Piper has one month to get her high school's coolest 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 a band made up of an egomaniacal pretty boy, a talentless piece of eye candy, a silent rocker, an angry girl, and a crush-worthy nerd boy? And how can she do it when she's deaf?

A unique main character

I heard about this book when I was researching my post about physical and mental diversity in books. I realized that I hadn’t ever read a book with a deaf main character and this one was suggested.

The book isn’t focused on Piper’s deafness.  She is a normal high school student who is trying to get publicity for a band.  She doesn’t know anything about music so she is learning on the job.

Discussions of disability

Deafness is a hereditary condition in Piper’s family.  Her mother’s parents were deaf.  Piper started to lose her hearing at age 6.  Her little sister was born deaf. Her sister just got a cochlear implant that allows her to hear.  Because Piper was older she wasn’t as good of a candidate.  Her parents don’t understand why she has mixed feelings about this.  They wonder why she doesn’t want what is best for her sister.  She wonders if they think it is better that Grace is now “fixed” unlike her.  This is even before she finds out that her parents used her inheritance from her grandparents that was for her college fund to pay for her sister’s operation.

The romance isn’t the focus

One of my major complaints about YA books is that there is almost always romance.  That isn’t happening here.  There is a little bit that develops but no instalove and no one gets stupid because they have a boyfriend/girlfriend.

Girls stick together

The relationships that do develop in this book are between the girls involved in the band.  In fact, when things get tense they ditch the guys and go hang out together.  They support each other and aren’t made to fight over a guy.

Even if you aren’t generally a fan of YA contemporaries, this one is worth reading.