Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Short Paired Reviews: Five Flavors of Dumb and Amplified

I have a backlog of shorter reviews, and you guys know how I like to make connections between my books. So I thought I'd put two reviews together into one post - voila! 

Both books this week are contemporaries featuring characters in a band.

Five Flavors of Dumb
by Antony John

Read: October 2011
Published: November 11th 2010 by Dial
Source: Library book
Category: YA - Contemporary

Let me tell you all the things I loved about this book. First I adored the concept. How on earth does a deaf girl end up managing her high school rock band? Not only does she have to figure out how to sell music she can't hear, but she has to deal with five very distinct (and often clashing) personalities. Awesome. 

Even the side characters surprised me in their complexity. I fell in love with all of them, especially Piper, Ed, Kallie and Finn. I couldn’t get enough of Piper’s brother Finn. Piper also had a relationship with her parents that felt honest. Her family is a big part of her growth throughout the story, which I really appreciated in a book about a teen. 

Five Flavors of Dumb takes place in Seattle, a great location for a story about a band. The characters also spend some time exploring the rich music culture of their town, which I found to be fascinating.  

A very sweet romance is also imbedded in this book. It develops slowly and subtly. But all through the story it's clear in his actions how much he cares about Piper. And also important: Five Flavors of Dumb was hilarious and I laughed out loud through the entire book. So fun!

Rating: 5 stars
Love Triangle Factor: Mild

by Tara Kelly

Read: December 2011
Published: October 25th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: Library book
Category: YA - Contemporary

When we first meet Jasmine, a 17-year-old high school graduate, she's just left her home and her father’s wishes for her life. Needing a place to live and wanting nothing more than to be able to work on her music, Jasmine lucks out when she's able to rent a room in exchange for joining a band. The problem is that she has no prior stage experience, even though she tells her new room/bandmates that she does. Uh-oh. 

I know practically nothing about guitar playing, industrial rock or its culture, and that took up a large part of the book. (If you're into that type of music than this is the book for you!) Even so, I enjoyed the story and the subject matter was fairly interesting. However, the author was very detailed in her descriptions of Jasmine’s guitar playing and, in my opinion, it got to be tedious at times. 

But my major problem with the story centered on the "romance." Although it was really a side part to the story, what happens soured the whole experience of the book for me. I liked the way it started. But then all of a sudden, something happened that I just couldn't get past. Maybe I could have if it had been addressed differently. And maybe if I had been more into Jasmine's music, I would not have felt this way. Unfortunately, I can't say more without spoilers. I know not everyone will feel the same as I did about this book, but I'm just being honest. (If anyone's read this book and wants to discuss it with me - especially if you disagree - I'd LOVE that).

Rating: 2.5 stars
Love Triangle Factor: It's complicated (i.e. difficult to rate without spoilers)


  1. I have not heard of Five Flavors of Dumb, yay! for new bookish discoveries! Thank for the heads up, chica, adding that one to my TBR for sure! Music themed books are favorites of mine and this one looks original in it's premise! Plus the fact that you give it 5 stars speaks volumes:) Awesome review paring, Lauren!

    1. And that chick on the cover looks so freaking COOL :)

    2. Yes. I think you'll like this one! Let me know when you read it.

  2. Five Flavors of Dumb is sooo good!

    1. Oh you've read it too? Awesome. Yes. I just randomly saw it at the library and glad I picked it up. So fun!

  3. I am embarrassed that I haven't read Five Flavors of Dumb because I had Antony John for a guest post and he was INCREDIBLE and funny. (His new book is a fantasy set on NC's Outer Banks, so he wrote about that for me.) It is VERY HIGH on my TBR and everyone seems to love it.

    The other book, Amplified, is one that I have judged by its cover but I think I have read that another blogger (Ginger @ GReadsBooks maybe?) loved it. I didn't realize it had a lot of guitaring and industrial music stuff in it, and I like that kind of stuff. So IDK, maybe one of these days I should give it a go.

    But DEFINITELY the Antony John. Because I want to read all of his books. ALL of them.


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