Monday, May 02, 2011

Nothing Dumb about it

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John:

The Challenge:
Piper has one month to get a paying gig for Dumb—the hottest new rock band in school.

The Deal:
If she does it, she'll become manager of the band and get her share of the profits, which she desperately needs since her parents raided her college fund.

The Catch:
Managing one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl who is ready to beat her up. And doing it all when she's deaf. With growing self-confidence, an unexpected romance, and a new understanding of her family's decision to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, Piper just may discover her own inner rock star.

Piper has reached her breaking point – her brother is sneaking around and her parents have used her college fund to pay for her sister’s cochlear implants without even telling her. It’s no wonder that the band Dumb’s “unscheduled performance on the school steps first thing Monday morning” prompts a primal scream. Sure, she may not be able to really hear the music, but her deafness doesn’t keep her from feeling the vibrations and feeling traveling through the ground. So when the lead singer challenges her to act as their manager, she sees it both as a chance to earn some money and to prove that she can’t do any worse than a group that has downgraded their collective intelligence with their name. Before she knows it, she’s shepherding band members to practice and recording sessions, guiding their online presence and helping to create original songs.

But being the manager of a rock band isn’t all sunshine and roses. She’s got to deal with a newbie who’s more groupie than guitarist, member infighting and then there are those mysterious emails urging her to explore the Seattle’s rock heritage. Can Dumb make it to an actual performance or will they fall apart? And will Piper ever figure out how to live with her family’s, and her own, decisions?

Antony John creates one kick-ass main character in Piper. This is not a story about a deaf girl who manages a rock band. This is a story about a high school girl who manages a rock band and who also happens to be deaf. It’s not a handicap, but a strength she uses to read others, catch people unaware and gain Dumb the recognition it just might deserve. In coming to terms with what it means to be the manager of a rock group, she finds the strength to stand up for herself and her friends, as well as the ability to understand what it means to be deaf in her family.

Cheers to Antony Johns for creating a family (and the friends that become family) of a characters as well rounded as Piper’s. Motivations make sense. We’re not just looking at evil parents and wicked siblings, but people who have strengths and faults and are just trying to make their way. Cheers also for taking the Kallie/Tash dynamic and taking it from girl-on-girl hate to true understanding. Yeah, it helped that they had a common enemy to unite them, but what started out with that blossomed into a true friendship.

Highly, highly, highly recommended for teens and adults alike. Dumb will teach you about Seattle, rock and roll and what it takes to be a girl in high school (whether or not you happen to be deaf).

You can purchase Five Flavors of Dumb from these fine retailers: Powells, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Your Local Indie, or you can pick it up at your local library.

Book Source: Well, I got it from the library first, but now I love it so much that I bought it at Borders.And then, I loaned it to a friend...a friend who read it, loved it, and suggested it to her high school's library. Full circle, baby.

1 comment:

GT Goddess said...

Yes! As a high school teacher I loved this book and thought that the storyline of Piper's family dealing with her deafness could be understood by someone dealing with any difference or disability.