2011/2012 Feature Book of the Week #9
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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.

Hey there, Book Warriors! A huge thanks to all of you for including me in your battle plans. I can’t wait to meet you on May 8th next year! I’ll be the one who isn’t Heather Brewer :)

If you’ve been reading all the posts, you may have noticed that authors sometimes take long and winding paths to getting published. This is not unusual. It’s really not even surprising. We’re the sum of our experiences, and the more experiences we have, the more we have to draw from when we write.

But what’s just as interesting to me is that we all take different paths to becoming readers too. Some of you may have been devouring books for years, while others may only now be discovering the joys of reading. If you’re in the latter group, then you’re just like me.

When I was a middle school student in England in the 1980s, a lot of the books felt terribly similar. There was always a little (non-violent) adventure, some wholesome friendships, contented siblings, and at least one or two fluffy puppy dogs (because no English family is complete without a fluffy puppy dog, apparently). To be honest, these books didn’t exactly excite me, and so I pretty much gave up on reading altogether. I was what librarians and teachers call a “reluctant reader.” Sad, but true.

Then, when I was 13, my English teacher handed me a copy of “The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton. It blew my mind! Suddenly I wasn’t reading about other well-adjusted English kids, I was reading about gangs in an Oklahoma high school. The language felt raw and real. Everything moved along at breakneck speed. I was hooked.

At the time, I didn’t know that Susan Hinton wrote “The Outsiders” when she was only 16 years old. She was writing from her own experience. But the key thing is that her experience was not the same as mine. “The Outsiders” removed me from my world and put me in hers. It made me view the world differently.

And that is why I read and write books. I want to constantly rethink what the world is, and what it might be. I want to see a familiar scene through the eyes of someone I’ll never be. I don’t have much in common with Piper Vaughan, the narrator of “Five Flavors of Dumb”—she’s a girl at a co-ed US high school, whereas I went to an all-boys school in England. She’s deaf and has little interest in music (at first, anyway), whereas I’m hearing and have Ph.D in music. But seeing the world through her eyes allowed me to think about music from an entirely new perspective. It taught me a lot about deafness. And it reminded me how important communication is to everyone, hearing or not.

As you read the books in the challenge, think about how they change your view of the world. And if you feel inspired to write you own book, go for it!

One last thing: If a book gets you really fired up, please tell your friends about it. If you think one of the challenge books will appeal to a friend or family member, check it out from the library and put it in their hands. Share the gift of your favorite books. Who knows—maybe you’ll change someone else’s


Antony John is the author of young adult novels Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player and Five Flavors of Dumb (winner of the American Library Association’s Schneider Family Book Award). His novels Thou Shalt Not Road Trip and Elemental are forthcoming from Dial/Penguin in 2012. A native of England, he graduated from Oxford University with a degree in music, and received his Ph.D. from Duke University. Now he lives with his family in St. Louis, Missouri. Check out his website: www.antonyjohn.net

First, I want to thank Antony for taking time to participate in the Feature Book of the Week.  And in case you missed it in his opening comments, the Book Battle Committee is very excited that Antony  
Enjoy his book!  And Happy Thanksgiving!

5 Delicious Comments:

Anonymous said...

I Love Five Flavors Of Dumb!
Great Book!

Hermione said...

I love this book, and I was SOOOOO happy when Josh left. (he's such a jerk!!!)

Hazelwood West Middle School

Anonymous said...

This boo was such a page turner. Finished in less than a week.

cross keys middle school

Anonymous said...

I think its amazing how the author discovered this world of reading like Piper discovers her brand-new world in the book! Loved the book! Piper is my favorite rebel!

Anonymous said...

This was one of my personal favorite books!!!!!! :D


my favorite character is Will... He's awesome... :)

Hazelwood West Middle School!!!

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