Monday, February 28, 2011

Music For the Deaf: Five Flavors of Dumb

I remembered that Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John had won an award, and after reading this delightful YA novel about the novice manager of a high school rock band I went looking to see which award.  I checked the Cybils (blogger awards) and then the ALA lists of YA book winners (Printz and Alex awards) but didn't find it, and finally found the Schneider award for a book about the disability experience, which is a bit ironic in that the main character, Piper, is Deaf but certainly doesn't consider herself disabled.  But I would have nominated it for all of the above.

Anyway, I loved the book.  I liked the family dynamics, with the family starting off rather disconnected by a series of shocks, including the father's unemployment and the baby's expensive operation to allow her to hear, paid for (surprise!) with the money from Piper's college fund.  So Piper is intrigued by the idea of earning money by managing a band, which propels her into another community -- the three (soon five) members of Dumb, recent winners of Seattle's Teen Battle of the Bands.  Piper narrates the story, which often had me laughing out loud or scanning ahead to see how things ended up.  I particularly liked Piper's relationship with her younger brother Finn, who manages to save her band many times over the course of the book.

The book is set in Seattle, so I had fun recognizing places, especially Jimi Hendrix's burial spot, which is just up the road from my house. I found this book through Becky's Book Reviews, which makes it a challenge book!  Woot! A

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