Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Love - Five Flavors of Dumb

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.  
Ok, I'll admit it. I picked up this book because I loved the cover. Well, that's not even it. I bought it because I loved the cover AND I thought the hot girl kinda looked like me. I have a totally similar outfit and totally similar hair, and I could just picture myself crouching like that and listening to a band.

So, yeah, that's why I bought it. I will say, though, that I had actually heard good things about it before I feel in love with the cover, but, let's be real here, it's the cover that sealed the deal for me.

Well, lucky for me, the inside of this book is just as awesome as the cover.

First of all, it has something going for it that is sorely lacking in YA across the board. ASIAN MALE LOVE INTEREST! I have a newsflash for you, America. Asian guys can be hot, too. Can we please show them some love and make them more than just the nerdy guy in the front row of math class? I love that Ed Chen was cute and talented and cute and it was never even really mentioned that he was Asian. Hell, I could be going off on this rant for no reason, I'm only assuming he's Asian because his last name is Chen. (Antony John, can you please confirm? Thanks.) As a teacher, I look around my classroom and see so many types of people...and then I look at my YA books and see nothing but white people, with other races playing a stereotypical supporting role. I loved that there was an Asian guy and a mixed race girl in the band and it was never like, "Oh, look how multi-cultural we are!" It was just like, yeah, this is what high school looks like.

Second, well, Piper, the narrator is deaf. And she's the manager of a rock band. And she can't hear. And the fact that she's deaf, well, it obviously plays an important role in the story. But it doesn't make her someone you feel sorry for, and it doesn't keep her from doing what she wants, and it doesn't turn this into a book about poor Piper who can't hear, let's hear all about her disability. Piper kicks ass, and she lives, and she has fun, and, yeah, she's deaf, and, yeah, she has problems, but SO DOES EVERYONE.

Third, she has parents! And they are there, in her life! And she has drama with them, as normal kids do. But they aren't dead, and they aren't absentee, and they don't suck. They are one of the most normal families I have seen in a YA book in a long time. (And when I say normal, I don't mean Beaver Cleaver normal, I mean they look the most like a family you would find in real life.) Piper's problems with her family were so refreshing because they were so real.

This book made me laugh and cry, and I think that's one of the highest compliments that you can give a book. It was an emotional ride for me all the way through, and I loved every second of it. I don't think this book got enough buzz this past year, so if you're looking for something new to read, and you want to support a book that does a great job at normal YA families and not making a big deal out of non-white characters and characters with disabilities, pick this one up. Grab it for the kick-ass cover, stay for the awesome story.


  1. What an unusual premise for a book! I don't think I've ever read one with a deaf character before. It sounds really good.

  2. Fexcellent! I so need to figure out how to write a book with parents in it, but sadly I have yet to do that.

    Putting this one on my list!

  3. I love this cover also. I really want to read this one. I will put in my wish list.

  4. ive got this one in my tbr pile. your review makes me want to dive right into it! i was hesitant over how the book'd be cause of piper's dumb-ness, but apparently that won't be an issue :)

  5. This sounds goood. Adding it to my to-read list STAT!

  6. What a funny review! Yeah the cover does look fab! And you're right - more books should represent the world in which we live. Though I'm British and not American, I live in London and it's extremely diverse liek the US and other couuntries, but yes, in books and TV you only usually see white characters. I still enjoy the books and tv, though it does srike me as odd!

    But you know how the saying goes - be the change you want to see. I use all types of people from all different backgrounds in my story cos that's teh world in which I live.

    I'm so glad everyone is different - how boring would it be if we all looked the same!

  7. This sounds like an awesome book.
    I SO agree about the absentee parents and the lack of multiple races. On the one hand, I don't want to read a story that is self conscious about it, but really, I think of who I hang out with and we definitely have a multicultural group without even trying.
    I'll be on the look out for this book. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Now I definitely want to read this book! Thanks for the great review.