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.
– GoodReads Blurb
Well, I can certainly see why it made the final of this years NerdsHeartYA tournament. Five Flavours of Dumb by Antony John is a thoroughly enjoyable ride though complex family dynamics, a touch of romance, and the challenge, of getting a high school band some paying gigs, despite the best efforts of some of the band to sabotage her efforts.
But, through it all, our narrator, Piper, becomes of my favourite lead characters this year. Losing her hearing at a young age, clearly installed a lot of strength, determination and fight, within this girl, but Antony John has created a more multi-layered than just that. She does have her insecurities, particularly her relationship with her baby sister (who also has hearing difficulties). Her parents used Piper’s college fund, without her knowledge to pay for a cochlear implant for a sister, this causes some strains within the family as they each struggle to see the others point of view, despite the fact this is a family that does love each other.
It does take a while for us to fully see this though, because the book is from Piper’s POV, and while she knows these things, she needs to see them for us to be able to. (Although, I still want to shake her father and ask him what the heck was going though his head, for the last decade…)
The supporting cast is equally as well drawn, and their own stories, weave in and out of Piper’s. The members of the band all have their own reasons for being there, and they’re not always for the good of the band. But Piper has to knit them into something they clearly aren’t at the moment. And that’s a band…
There’s not a whole load of surprises, but they aren’t really necessary with a book like this.
You want an interesting tale, with some ups to enjoy and some downs to overcome, a feel-good ending, a cracking cast of characters who grow and reveal themselves throughout, and Anthony John gives all that, and then some!
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