Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Five Flavors of Dumb - Antony John
"You’re deaf, but there’s no excuse for being blind as well."


Five Flavors of Dumb deserves all the stars, maybe even more. It's one of those books I can't even think of one detail - small or big - that I'd change if I could. No, Five Flavors of Dumb is the way it's supposed to be: a mix of a vide range of emotions, all packed into this touching story.

To be honest, I expected very little of this despite some wonderful reviews. The premise: A deaf girl, struggling at home with her younger sister, one day finds herself in the position as manager to a new band at her school named Dumb. She has one month to book them a gig that pays. With the band members' different personalities and background, it might be harder than our heroine, Piper, thinks. 

The reason for my hesitance toward this was because I could see it become one of those comedy teen movies that doesn't take itself, or the matter of hearing loss, seriously. I was afraid Piper's deafness would be glossed over or turned into something comical. This was not the case. Piper's character is a wonderful protagonist to follow, even when she's forced to make tough decisions or must question herself and what kind of person she is. In fact, Piper might just be one of my favorite protagonists in the YA genre. Okay, perhaps one of my favorite protagonist over all genres. 

“Music. It’s not about those things. It’s about a feeling. It’s about expressing yourself. It’s about letting go.”


What makes Five Flavors of Dumb more than just a breezy YA story is that it vows in so many parts of Piper's life. With the band and Piper's managing it is always present, it brings together other parts of her life, especially at home. Piper's parents might take the whole thing as a joke in the beginning, they too soon must face some hard truths about what their family has come to. This dysfunctional family realizes that each member might hold some of the blame, and they all must accept it to move forward to make amends. 

While we learn about Piper's family, we're also introduced to the band Dumb. There are some wonderful character here, such as Tash, Kellie, and Ed. Tash, with her hard exterior. Kellie, who's more than just a pretty face. And Ed. Oh, sweet, sweet Ed. Yes, while some other members need to get over themselves, these three are just delightful, and I love how the author worked with them as he did with Piper's character and her family. 

In the end, it all comes down to the music. A love for rock music, historical icons such as Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, and how music is a universal language. It brings them all together, Piper, her family, and the band. I highly enjoy stories that have a musical theme, but this one stood out by being about so much more than music. It's about self discovery, family, friendship, what's worth betting on, and passion. And I, for one, love this book with a burning passion. A highly recommended read!