Friday, August 5, 2011

BR: Five Flavors of Dumb

by Antony John

I’ve been dying to read this book for a while, especially from the gushing from Yahong and Nic, so I was so excited when I won this in a contest from the lovely Mel!

Summary (goodreads)

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.

My Expectations: HIGH. I thought it would be ‘that kind of book’ (the kind that I loved)
Delivery: totally met, this book rocks.
Put-down-ability: 3/10

My Thoughts

How do I describe Five Flavors of Dumb? It’s.. flavourful (oh yes, in Canada it’s flavOUr), it has that little zing to it that makes everything wash over you like a shower of awesome. Add in a chunk of music, some rock stars, a cute barista* and a jagged piece of a wholesome family and you’ll get this book. Of course, Piper is the frosting that really makes this book sparkle.

What I really loved is that this novel could have turned into a masquerading preachy girl-power book but it didn’t. It remained grounded and real and had plenty of characters I could fall in love with. Piper: can I be your best friend? She’s smart, resourceful but still vulnerable and insecure and I think it’s her flawed yet full-of-heart character that makes the soul of the novel. Finn, her brother, would be the heart** and their sibling relationship is one of the most aww-worthy aspects of this book and I absolutely loved it. And the light tint of romance? Cute to the max

The music aspects were interesting; I thought that the turmoil Dumb underwent allowed character development across the board, whether it was with the lead singer or the new members. Everyone changed as the novel proceeded and ended up in a far different place than what I had initially expected. And can I mention the family? They’re imperfect and could be cruel at times but they definitely added dimension (can I fangirl Finn again?). I thought the portrayal of the family and Piper's feelings about her deafness and the use of ASL was extremely well done. The thing is, I thought the dad, who went through perhaps a spectacular character turn-around was slightly unbelievable; for me, he started off too “low” for his redemption to be convincing.

I liked the plot but I wasn’t head over heels for it. I thought the reason this novel works so well is because the characters kept the book moving and changing, as opposed to the reverse. I like that in a sense; however, I feel that thinking back a week or so later (as I’m writing this review), the plot is a blur but the characters certainly aren’t.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: YA contemp fans, people who want a much tamer version of Ballads of Suburbia but still with all the wonderful emotions and music, people who like YA books about music
Acknowledgements: 3 pages, that’s how acknowledgements should be done. 4.5/5!

9/10 – because I loved it. It’s extremely engaging with a fantastically vibrant and endearing protagonist. The supporting characters are drawn out very well and I really loved the family dynamics (and FINN!). This book requires some suspension of disbelief, but I think it definitely has that winning combination of excellent writing, interesting plot and worthy characters.

*it’s not Taylor the Latte Boy, but Ed is pretty darned sweet (and mine). He brings me java and he brings me joy ;)
**oh I see you cringing. Yeah, that’s pretty cringe-worthy, I’ll admit.

source: contest (thanks Mel!)
author website
Five Flavors of Dumb is only $6.80 on Amazon! (I'm not an affiliate)


  1. I've been wanting to read this book foreveerrr, but the Chapters I work at NEVER carries it, and I there isn't a single Indigo store in Toronto (I visit there constantly) NEVER CARRY IT EITHER!! ARG.

    I could just order it, but I have so many other book on my TBR pile right now anyway I might just wait for the trade paperback.

  2. Oh I really liked this one! Glad you did as well. Piper was so awesome, as were a lot of the characters.

    P.S. Thanks for the Twitter follow -- I've added you to my Google Reader. =)

  3. you have made me want to try this book it is now sitting on my TBR pile now mind you I'm not normally a contemporary YA reader but you and an amazon review that consists of only 5 and 4 stars has convinced me to try it

  4. YAY so glad you loved it, now I need to buy it for me :D

  5. This is why it's always great to read other people's opinion :) I didn't care for FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB, but I can definitely see why you liked it! Great review!

  6. BAAAH NOOOO ED IS MINE. But WHEEEE so glad you liked it! I love how awesome Piper's siblings ended up being, because when you're growing up you just need that kind of support back in the nest. I guess that's why I was okay with the dad's turnaround. :)

    And the band! What did you think about the band's evolution itself? I thought it was staged pretty epically, especially revealing who the true antagonist was.


  7. YAY!!!!! So glad you loved it just as much! There is so many thing that I love about this novel but the dynamics between Piper and Finn are probably at the top.

    And I have a bit of a crush on Ed too so I might have to fight you for him ;)

  8. Can't wait to read this either, it's sounds soo good!
    Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Would you believe that I haven't heard of this book? Well, a 9 out of 10 is AMAZING, so I'm going to add this to my to-resd list now :)

  10. Awesome review Audrey! Haven't read this one yet but now I'm super keen to. And yay for the proper, flavourful spelling! :D

  11. Miranda mailed this to me (on loan) months and months ago (dare I say 6?). Sadly, I didn't know until now that the main character is deaf.

    Clearly, I need to pay more attention.

    And made even more clearly by your review, I need to actually read this! I love brother/sister relationships (my only sibling is a brother), so I have a feeling I'm going to appreciate this book a lot.

    Thanks for the review!

  12. Thanks so much for the terrific review, Audrey. I'm chuffed to bits that your enjoyed DUMB. (Oh, and thanks for adding the "u" to "Flavour" - as a Brit, it's still difficult for me to see that word spelled without a "u"!)

    Thanks, too, to Mel, for getting DUMB to you in the first place, and to everyone for commenting. You all rock!

  13. It seems like forever in which I've read a book that highlights a sibling relationship that is dynamic without the siblings falling in love with one another. LOL

    The character development sounds great! I'm ready to suspend belief and give it a go. :)

  14. oh it now has so mant seals of approval from awesome people i trust. i am hanging out (okay, dying) for the paperback of this to hurry up and come to my door step)

    also, i can be a master of suspending disbelief for the sake of awesome characters in an awesome story.

  15. oh my gosh. i am such a typo tragic :D

    trying to type in the dark ...

  16. Michelle- I know! The chapters/any bookstore near me doesn't have it either, I 'got' it from book depository.

    Ashley- YAY! Agreed, and thanks! :)

    kate- That's great! I'm glad you're taking a shot :)

    Mel- Haha, thank you so much, again!!

    Yan- I agree, we all have such varied tastes! and thanks! :)

    Yahong- LOLOL NOOOPE!!! I really liked the band's evolution, like you mentioned, I was surprised and very happily so by the turn of events :)

    Nic- YESSUS I adored Finn. I might even let you guys have Ed because of how much Finn rocks :)... or maybe I'll have them both. I do like that plan more ;)

    Rebecca- YAY

    Rida- YAY! I hope you get a chance to read it!

    Belle- thank you! and hehe, *high five* for "ou"s :P

    Madeleine- hahaha, it's okay :p And I think you'd really like this, esp since you have a brother and then you can compare him to Finn :P It's a great book though, hope you read it soon!

    Antoney- eeep! *faints* that an author is here! Haha that U is important! Thanks for commenting here, I really loved your book!

    Missie- LOL I think you're hinting at Forbidden? XD YAY! Hope you get a chance to try it (I know how long your tbr pile is!)

    Nomes- hehe YAYY! I can't wait for you to read it either! and hehe, *reads through frantically for invisible typos* :P


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