Five Flavors of Dumb
By Anthony John
Dial Books, 2010. 337 pgs. Teen fiction
High schooler Piper isn't a likely pick to the be the manager for the local teen Battle of the Bands winning bad--for one thing, she's not exactly popular, and for another, she's deaf. Yet, a turn of events lands her in exactly that position and she has one month to find the band a paying gig, which turns out to be more difficult than expected, since the band members all have their distinct flavors: there's self-absorbed Josh, tough girl Tash, pretty girl Kallie (who can't exactly play an instrument), nerdy Ed, and silent Will. Pulling this band together is more work than Piper anticipated but it also turns out to have more rewards than expected as well.
I really liked this book! When I first picked it up, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not; I'm definitely not a rock band fan, and there were places where the book ventured into talking about music greats that I frankly don't care about at all. However, this book was much more than a book about a high school band. Piper's struggles with her deafness and how that affects her feelings about herself and her interactions with others was an engaging topic; I liked Piper from page one and really enjoyed following her journey to figure out who she really wants to be and how she's going to manage a band. Side stories of her family interactions and a little romance rounded out the package, and I liked this book a lot more than just about anything else I've read recently. A little bit of language, but not enough to bother most readers.
Four and a half stars.