When the manuscript for Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John came across my desk, I was immediately pulled in by the story of a deaf girl managing a high school rock band. It was full of characters I wanted to know more about, from Piper whose parents have just blown her college fund on a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, to Ed who has a secret crush on Piper, to Kallie who is the gorgeous girl with secrets of her own, to Tash, the angry punk-rock chick, to Josh and Will - twin brothers who couldn't be more different.
It didn't occur to me that this was a book about diversity when I first read it - to me it was about a group of teens going through the things that teens do, told in an authentic way. It's about self-expression and self-confidence, creating your own identity, standing up for yourself, falling in love for the first time, breaking out of your shell, being brave. Yet Piper is deaf, Ed is Asian, Kallie is biracial, and Tash, Josh, and Will are white. It is clear in the story that they are, but to me the story was never about them being only those things so I hardly even noticed that first read through.