Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
This book didn’t sound that interesting to me, but it surprised me and was actually pretty great. In fact, once I got into the story, I had a hard time putting it down to get other things done. It tells about Piper, a funny, smart, sarcastic high school senior who happens to be deaf. Although she has hearing aids, her hearing is negligible, but when she sees the winners of the local Battle of the Bands contest rocking it on the front steps of the school, she can’t help but join the crowd, and ends up being one of the last ones to leave. When the egotistical lead singer and Piper get into a battle of the wits, she ends up challenging the band and signing on as its manager. She has only one month to get Dumb a paying gig! She calls the members the Five Flavors of Dumb for a good reason: they couldn’t be more different. If she can manage to get them to listen to her and each other, they might actually be able to make the record demo they won in the contest, and get a real job. In addition to this fast-paced, music-centered plot, there are threads about Piper’s family accepting her deafness, her quest to afford college now that her parents have spent her college fund on her baby sister’s cochlear implants, and the band’s drummer Ed Chen, who she’s known forever and now suspects he might qualify for more than just a friend.
What I especially liked about the story is the writer’s appreciation for Seattle’s favorite rock sons–Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. Piper and the band members learn about each fallen rocker, and begin to envision their own sound and music within the local music scene. I highly recommend this to all teen readers!