Nerds Heart YA: You got blood on yo’ face You big disgrace: Five Flavors Of Dumb vs. Toads And Diamonds

Five Flavors Of Dumb by Antony John

Five Flavors Of Dumb by Antony John Book Cover

Five Flavors Of Dumb

Summary: Seattle is home to a vibrant musical history. From Jimi Hendrix to Nirvana to DUMB. Haven’t heard of Dumb? That’s about to change as Piper becomes band manager after her parents manage to raid her college fund to pay for an expensive operation for her baby sister. Oh and did I mention that Piper is deaf? Despite not being about to hear the band, she has got the skills to have Dumb in perfect harmony and help them get paying gigs.

Point: Awesome music references. I found myself listening to Nirvana on Spotify after, because Antony John has this way of writing about music where you want to experience the passion for yourself.

Point: Piper is not defined solely by her deafness. I loved that Five Flavors Of Dumb is much, much more than an issues book. Also, it got me thinking about how maybe I should just stop using the term handicapped and instead say ‘differently abled’. I think that’s the new PC term, and definitely sounds better.

Point: Connection. I had an instant connection with Piper because she’s sarcastic, has attitude and is awesome. She absolutely stands up for herself and I love that. I love that she’s smart and plays chess. I like that she calls people on their bullshit, and also is called out on hers.

Point: Girl power. There are three female characters in this book who play a huge role. At first they totally don’t love each other or anything, but then they come to discover that each person has layers.

Toads And Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

Toads And Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson Book Cover

Toads And Diamonds

Summary: Diribani and Tana are stepsisters who live in historical India. One is beautiful and kind. The other is practical and hardworking. Each will be blessed by Naghali Gi, the snake goddess in a different way. One will speak diamonds and flowers. The other, toads and snakes. Both gifts have special meaning and a lesson behind them, which the sisters will learn as danger mounts and they must turn to each other.

Point: Gorgeous cover. I know, I know, it’s superficial to give out a point based on a cover, especially because I read these on my kindle and therefore didn’t have the covers. However, it’s super pretty.

Point: Sisterhood. I loved the relationship between Diribani and Tana. They are not biological sisters, but there is none of that step rivalry-hatred. I loved how they did love each other as blood sisters do.

Point: There is a fascinating religious system. The author’s note says the religions in the book are not real, but inspired by real religions. Either way, I was psyched every time one of the religions got a mention.

However, I did not immediately connect to Toads And Diamonds and found it hard to get into. I thought it was repetitive with the whole ‘WHAT DOES IT MEAN’ in reference to Naghali Ji’s gifts, literally it felt like once a chapter, the sisters would question the purpose of their gifts.

The Winner?

Five Flavors Of Dumb by Antony John because Piper is instantly connectable, the book is immediately engaging and I absolutely could not put my kindle down. I did not feel the same way about Toads And Diamonds.

You can read my judging partner Kelly’s blog STACKED here.

You can check out the NHYA brackets here.

Disclosure: Both books purchased.

Purchase Five Flavors Of Dumb here.

Purchase Toads And Diamonds here.

*FYI I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy things from Amazon after clicking link.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I agree with all of your points. I’ve read both of these books, and while I liked them both (they are hard to compare because they are so different) I suppose I liked Five Flavors the best. I did like how Piper’s deafness wasn’t the story — it was just woven into the real plot and didn’t overpower it.
    I like stories of other lands, but I think Toads & Diamonds might have been too fictional for me. I appreciated the author’s note. I loved learning about other cultures and beliefs, and that’s why these books always entertain me.

  2. I loved Five Flavors of Dumb, including the way that it subliminally seemed to say “listen to this music!”

  3. Haven’t read either book although both are on my tbr list; I had hopes for Toads and Diamonds because I adore fairy tale-esque books but maybe I’ll read Five Flavors first because it’s important to me to have an instant connection.

  4. Love, love, love Five Flavors of Dumb. It was one of my favorite books last year and I was so glad I splurged on it. 🙂 I want to have a physical copy of this book because the cover is so pretty too. 😀 So glad it rocked for you too!

  5. These both look just great! The Flavors of Dumb sounds particularly interesting! (As a total fan of the Seattle Music Scene, it sounds like a MUST read!)

  6. Thanks for the lovely review, April. I’m so glad DUMB inspired you to check out those Nirvana songs again – always a good use of your time!

  7. Whoa, wait, you read Dumb? I’m so glad I’m commenting after Antony because SHHH I HAVE MAJOR AUTHOR CRUSHES ON HIM. He makes up my author crush trio along with Courtney Summers and Daisy Whitney. In all honesty, though, Dumb was one of those books that really spoke to me, for all the points you’ve mentioned. Piper is one of my top ten female MCs in YA, hands down!


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