Books for Younguns, Young Adults and the Young-at-Heart

Friday, December 16, 2011

Five Flavors of Dumb

Piper has spent her whole life trying to blend in, but despite the fact that she uses hearing aides and reads lips, her deafness has marked her as different.  And sometimes she just can't resist speaking her mind, like to the members of the Seattle Teen Battle of the Bands, who promptly give her one month as manager to find them a paying gig.  Can she get past their clashing personalities, lack of ability and the fact that she has no understanding of music to make them a success?

Five Flavors of Dumb is by Antony John, a local St. Louis author.

First of all, the obvious:  It is great to see a deaf protagonist.  Disabilities of all stripes are underrepresented in YA fiction and this is a very honest depiction.  Piper is strong and doesn't let her deafness define her, but the difficulties she encounters aren't glossed over.  Some of the most compelling scenes are those where something prevents her from hearing/lip reading what's going on, so she describes her impressions from the snatches she does get.  Also depicted realistically are Piper's family relations.  Between her overworked mother, completely dense father, troublemaking brother and baby sister whose cochlear implants give her a chance Piper never had, these are complex relationships that shift dynamically throughout the book.  As far as the band goes, this is an unabashed tribute to the power of music and the effect it has on the members of Dumb will be familiar to many readers.  This is a book about finding yourself and realizing your potential in directions you never even thought of exploring, and it will leave you on both a literal and metaphorical high note.

Five Flavors of Dumb is published by Speak and retails for $8.99 (paperback).  I bought my copy with my very own money.  You can get yours at Left Bank Books today!

Antony John will be a Celebrity Bookseller Left Bank Books--Central West End tomorrow (Saturday, December 17) recommending his favorite books for holiday shoppers.  Plus, 1% of sales from his suggestions will benefit Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed!

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