Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John (Book Review) 

 September 20, 2022

By  Raindropreflections

 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.

Cover: I wasn’t particularly impressed by it when I saw it onscreen, but in real life, the cover is actually pretty cool.

Before Reading: I’m pretty sure that the awesome Eden recommended this one to me, and since she has very good taste in books, I trusted her on this one. And I’m SO glad I did.

My Thoughts

So, Five Flavors of Dumb (henceforth referred to as FFOD because I’m lazy) is about a deaf girl. But what’s special about the book is that it isn’t ABOUT her deafness; it’s about her life. Good contemporary manages to bring up a topic without centering on how difficult it is living with something. And FFOD did just that.

So, well, since I really can’t think properly enough right now to form cohesive paragraphs on my thoughts on this book (it was THAT good) I’m going to outline just what blew my mind about Five Flavors of Dumb.

First off, the author is a guy, which is rare enough in YA, but you know what? Antony John has become one of my favourite authors because he can emulate a teenage girl’s voice exceptionally well- better than some female YA authors, which I believe is a commendable accomplishment.

Second, I am a HUGE fan of music. But I’m very mainstream. (I think I’d be one of those screamy girls crying at concerts, too, but I am what I am.) But this book introduced me to something very different: rock music.

Dude, I hate rock music.

But by the end of FFOD, I wanted to YouTube Nirvana’s songs and learn about Jimi Hendrix and immerse myself in something I didn’t previously like. And come on, when a book opens your mind like that, it’s a GOOD sign.

Thirdly, there is a love interest who is NOT a stalker (okay, that doesn’t happen in contemporary anyways, but still) who is NOT perfect/popular/way too muscular for a teenage guy/brooding/loner/the list goes on and on and on.

What I’m trying to say is, Ed Chen was NORMAL. And that’s why I absolutely loved him. He was a little nerdy, a little awkward, and a nice guy. He was real. Finally, a love interest that isn’t ridiculously perfect! (Okay, this is contemporary. But it’s still YA!) I totally fell for him.

I liked Finn, Piper’s little brother, until I realized that he’s a freshman, so he’s about two years younger than me. That’s a little awkward. But he’s so sensitive and cute!

Actually, I also liked Josh, the lead singer of the band Dumb in the beginning. I KNOW. All you peeps who’ve read this book are going to be like WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU and HOW COULD YOU and all that stuff, but until we realize that he’s a complete douche, he’s actually kind of swoony.

There. I said it. I feel terrible now.

ANYWAYS. My fourth reason for loving FFOD: the supporting cast. Every character had a backstory, and Piper’s family was so three-dimensional (rare for YA) that it made me very, very happy. Also, the twist on the perfect, popular girl Kallie was very welcome as well.

Finally, and most importantly: Piper herself. Not only does the girl have an awesome name, she is pure amazing. She doesn’t go all angsty about not being able to hear. She pushes herself where others wouldn’t. She is SMART, people. What a welcome change. And her character growth? AWESOME.

Parting Thoughts: if this doesn’t convince you to read Five Flavors of Dumb– COME ON. A swoony BUT real-life-type love interest? Check. Smart, grounded protagonist? Check. Amazing cast of supporting characters? Check. Complete awesomeness? CHECK.

Rating: 5/5.