Monday, February 22, 2016

Review: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

From 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 Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Since I enjoy reading about disability issues, Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John was a book I had in my TBR pile for a long time because it features a deaf protagonist who’s the manager of a band. I was curious to see how Piper got her position and how she interacted with others given her situation.

For me, Piper’s deafness was the most interesting part of the book because it really affected her family dynamics. Although Piper can read lips and can speak normally (because she lost her hearing at the age of six), her preferred method of communicating is through American Sign Language (ASL). With her deaf baby sister just getting a cochlear implant and her mother, a hearing child born to deaf parents, having to work more, Piper can’t help but feel neglected because her father doesn’t sign and her brother only signs when he wants something from her.

After she becomes the manager of a band, her parents and others view her deafness as a limitation, which Piper refuses to believe (and takes advantage of if she can do so). At the same time, Piper herself learns to look beyond physical appearance in order to appreciate some of the people that she’s surrounded by.

I wasn’t such a fan of the music aspect on the other hand because I found it extremely hard to believe that a high school band that could play a limited range of notes and was continuously fighting amongst themselves would ascend to fame so quickly and impress other well-known musicians. It was also hard for me to care about Piper going on a tour of famous dead musicians’ houses so that she could appreciate music for itself rather than for the potential of earning money.

Five Flavors of Dumb was released in November 2010 by Dial Books. 

Comments About the Cover: The cover isn’t something that would cause me to pick up the book.  


  1. I've seen this book several times in the post but never managed to pick it up. I didn't realize that this involves a deaf protagonist. Thanks for your honest review!

    Precious @ Fragments of Life

  2. Great review, Z! I also had this book on my tbr. I knew the protagonist was deaf, but I thought she was actually part of the band and not the manager. I know you have to suspend disbelief about the band sky rocketing to fame, but despite that I'm curious about the book.

  3. I loved this one back in the day! I thought it was interesting to see her completely enmeshed in music as a band manager even though she's deaf. I could barely recall the fightings and petty antics though. :)

  4. Ah, I've heared so many great things about this book! And I love the title and cover :D But I've never gotten around to it and band books aren't really my thing, but I'm glad you like it!

    Asma @ IceyBooks

  5. Like you, the concept behind this one really interests me but I also find the believably a small problem. Nice review!

  6. I have always been super curious about this one. But, like most older books, I forget about it if it's not right there in front of me. I think I would like this one- it feels like my kind of book, maybe I should move it up on my TBR- make it a priority.

    Thanks for the review!

  7. I remember when this one came out and it had a small, but pretty dedicated following. Some issues aside, I think I would really dig this one. Especially the aspects about a deaf protagonist that you liked - sounds very interesting!

  8. I love the fact that the main character is deaf! I have struggles with my hearing as well and it's definitely something that not a lot of books bring up!

  9. I've heard about this one. I like books that deal with music, but it sounds like it's not entirely believable. I do think it's interesting that the MC is deaf though! I like books that focus on this type of diversity.


  10. I read this book a long time ago and I remember really loving it. It's good that you liked it despite its shortcomings.


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