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.
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.
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.
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.