Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of Dumb

4.5 66
by Antony John
     
 

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Winner of the Schneider Book Award
The award-winning author of the Elemental series delivers a rock-and-roll novel that Lauren Myracle called “raw, fresh, funny, and authentic.”
 
The Challenge: Eighteen-year-old Piper has one month to get her high school’s coolest rock band Dumb a paying gig.

The Deal: If she

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Overview

Winner of the Schneider Book Award
The award-winning author of the Elemental series delivers a rock-and-roll novel that Lauren Myracle called “raw, fresh, funny, and authentic.”
 
The Challenge: Eighteen-year-old Piper has one month to get her high school’s coolest 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 a band made up of an egomaniacal pretty boy, a talentless piece of eye candy, a silent rocker, an angry girl, and a crush-worthy nerd boy? And how can she do it when she’s deaf?

Piper is determined to show her classmates that just because she’s hearing impaired doesn’t mean she’s invisible. With growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of her parent’s decision 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.

For fans of K. L. Going’s Fat Kid Rules the World and Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Dairy Queen.

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Editorial Reviews

Mary Quattlebaum
This smart, lively novel captures the downs and ups of young rock and rollers…
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
"Seriously, what family with a history of hereditary deafness names their child after the player of a musical instrument?" High school senior Piper, who began to lose her hearing at age six, has mixed feelings about her parents dipping into her college fund to pay for cochlear implants for her hearing-impaired baby sister. But one thing is clear: Piper has to replenish the funds. Opportunity knocks when a disorganized rock band named Dumb invites her to be their manager. However, it soon becomes apparent that the members' egos are more substantial than their talent. In this witty yet thoughtful behind-the-music account of Dumb's journey to semistardom, John (Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player) creates a series of humorous surprises while demonstrating how Piper's deafness, which is integral to the story and never feels like a gimmick, affects her life and those of her parents and brother, who are equally complex and well-developed characters. Relying on help from unexpected sources, Piper learns important lessons about music and media hype, while growing closer to her family and friends in the process. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"I loved it and laughed out loud. Hilarious and so smart. Dumb proves that everyone, no matter what, deserves to be heard." -Catherine Gilbert Murdoch, author of Dairy Queen
Children's Literature - Heather Robertson Mason
After opening her big mouth, Piper is the newest member of the band Dumb, and as the manager no less. Now she has the task of taking a band whose members do not listen, whose lead singer is a jerk, and who have no idea how to promote themselves and preparing them for a recording session with a major producer. To make the challenge even greater, Piper is deaf and cannot even hear the band play. Piper's OK with this, but it seems everyone she meets thinks that this is an impossible task for someone with Piper's disability, even her parents. Anytime a novel comes out with a new point of view, it is a refreshing change and this novel is just that. The story is original, the character unique and likable (except for Josh who is well-written as a total jerk) and their relationships are realistic. These are people readers will care about. The story's best quality, though, is how Piper's deafness is portrayed. Never in the book is she written about as a victim or as if she is disabled. Her challenges are there, namely the lack of belief in her competence, but Piper is more annoyed by them than discouraged. A definite "must read." Reviewer: Heather Robertson Mason
VOYA - Jennifer McIntosh
Piper stumbles on a rock band trio—Dumb—playing an impromptu set on the school steps. When it is over she winds up giving the band some unsolicited advice, and they make her a deal: if she can find them a paying gig within the month she can be their new manager and share in the profits. She needs the money since her parents raided her college fund, so she agrees. There is only one problem—she is deaf. Piper is a realistically written, flawed person. She is bitter about her baby sister's new hearing implant, so fixated on making money that she misses the true spirit of making music, and oblivious to her friends' feelings. Despite this, she is still a likable character, one to root for as she makes one mistake after the next and cheer for when she finally gets it right. The author has done a good job of writing a character that happens to be deaf. Piper's deafness is an obstacle, but it is not insurmountable and does not take center stage in her life or in the book. The story is fast paced and funny and will appeal to both music-loving boys and girls. Although there are romance and family issues, this book is about discovering the joy of making music. Even someone who cannot hear all the notes can still feel the emotions when the right music is played. Teens of all ages will enjoy Five Flavors of Dumb. Reviewer: Jennifer McIntosh
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—When in a rush of uncommon bravado high school senior Piper offers to manage Dumb, her school's most popular student rock band, her family thinks it must be a joke. A retiring student and member of the chess team, Piper is neither the stereotypical band manager nor a typical teen: she is profoundly hearing impaired. After she discovers that her parents have spent the majority of her college money to treat her infant sister's deafness with cochlear implants, Piper's quest to get Dumb a paying gig leads her to consider her managerial role as a potential source of income. John's novel is written with a reverence for popular music—particularly the work of Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain—and a respect for its ambitious teen characters. Although Piper's hearing is a characterizing detail that could have been used solely to add a type of politically incorrect and screwball humor to the story, her abilities are seen as assets: while lip reading allows her access to public conversation, she is not above using sign language to obscure her intentions. The parallel attention to Piper's hearing family and the strain her parents' decision to treat her sister with cochlear implants adds to the greater story and informs the novel's direction and ending in a satisfying way. Set in the Pacific Northwest, this rock-and-roll novel joins the ranks of Randy Powell's equally thoughtful Tribute to Another Dead Rock Star (Farrar, 2003) and Blake Nelson's Rock Star Superstar (Viking, 2004).—Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews

Piper--gutsy, savvy and, yes, deaf--has signed her way into a gig that promises a big, necessary payoff: manager of Dumb, Seattle's Battle of the Bands winners. Seething with resentment and feelings of inadequacy after her parents raid her college account to pay for her baby sister's cochlear implants, Piper is determined to shape both Dumb's future and her own. Piper's struggles and growth as a manager--she is initially hampered by lack of both experience with intra-band politics and knowledge about music--enjoy realistic treatment, as do her nuanced relationships with family members and the super-talented and adorable Ed Chen. As Piper learns about Seattle's rock heroes (Cobain and Hendrix), she sees both the band Dumb could be if they would choose rocking over fighting and the person she will become once she truly owns her deafness. Making Piper the manager of a rock band never feels like a cheap trick (pardon the pun) because Piper is not A Great Deaf Character but a great character who is deaf. Complex characterizations, authentic dialogue and realistic ups-and-downs give this title chart-topping potential. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142419434
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/29/2011
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
376,427
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"I loved it and laughed out loud. Hilarious and so smart. Dumb proves that everyone, no matter what, deserves to be heard." -Catherine Gilbert Murdoch, author of Dairy Queen

Meet the Author

Antony John is the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award. He graduated from Oxford University with a degree in music, and got his PhD from Duke University. He has always been fascinated by rock music and its personalities, and when his wife challenged him to write about both from the point of view of a deaf person, Five Flavors of Dumb was born. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where he is a stay-at-home dad for his two kids and writes every chance he gets.

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