Wednesday, February 2, 2011

FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB by Antony John

Author: Antony John
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: November 11, 2010
Number of Pages: 352
How I Got It: Hardcover to review for Book Divas
Author's Website: antonyjohn.net

"For the record, I wasn't around the day they decided to become Dumb." So starts the story of high-school-senior, Piper, and how she came to be the manager of her school's resident rock band. Piper promises them she can get them a paying job within one month of being their manager, but how can one manage a ragtag group of "musicians" and wanna-be rock stars while keeping all of the egos and high school dramas in check? Oh, and Piper can't actually hear their music because she's deaf. But Piper is determined (one of her most endearing characteristics) to show everyone around her, including her family who don't seem to understand her, that she is more than just deaf, she is complicated, conflicted teenager and all that entails. As we meet the five flavors (band members) of Dumb, Piper is taken on her own journey to discover rock music in Seattle through the stories of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix. She learns how hard it can be to manage a band, but also how rewarding it is to accomplish something yourself and be taken seriously. Misunderstandings abound, and not just for the girl who can't hear the music, but the journey these teen's make to self-discovery is worth it. But in the end, will they make it to the big stage?

Antony John has written a witty, smart, funny, humble, honest, heart-wrenching, and soul-pounding ode to rock music and contemporary coming-of-age novel all in one. His writing style is comforting and honest. He's written real characters with real flaws all within a sensitive handling of the main character's deafness, which at times puts her at odds with those around her, but is it really about them or about her? That's the journey Piper takes in this story. She figures out more about who she is and wants to be, but she learns much more about those around her as well. She's authentic. She has problems and misunderstandings with family, friends, a boy, and high school social dynamics. In wanting to prove herself, Piper finds who she really is and learns not to hide.  It was engrossing following along as Piper learned to come out of her shell and developed into her strong voice. And how could I write about this book without mentioning the awesomely designed cover - it's so rock star! Just reading it myself I had students asking me about it when they saw the cover. I'll definitely be recommending it to them. Piper's voice deserves to be heard, and you'll enjoy discovering it, so put this one at the top of your to-read pile!

4 1/2 STARS for FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB

A book that feels similar to recommend next: THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Elizabeth Eulberg

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the lovely (and beautifully written) review. Much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete

 
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