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!
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.
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!)
Five Flavors of Dumb is only $6.80 on Amazon! (I'm not an affiliate)