Not Otherwise Specified

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
1847 1
Not Otherwise Specified
Publisher
Age Range
13+
Release Date
March 03, 2015
ISBN
9781481405966
Buy This Book
      
Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown. Everywhere she turns, someone feels she's too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere— until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself? The latest powerful, original novel from Hannah Moskowitz is the story about living in and outside communities and stereotypes, and defining your own identity.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Perfection
(Updated: March 25, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Not Otherwise Specified was my third Hannah Moskowitz novel, so I thought I knew what to expect. I liked the other two. Not Otherwise Specified, though, has this totally unfortunate cover compared to the others, and I don’t know. Basically, my body was not ready for the emotional impact this book had on me. Moskowitz blew my mind with this one, making me laugh and even cry.

The thing about this book is that I’m sort of surprised I loved it so much. I mean, it’s written in this stream of consciousness style, which, let me just tell you, is very much not my thing. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with it, because it generally feels very artificial or like the author was on a lot of drugs. That’s not the case with Not Otherwise Specified. Pretty much immediately, I was caught up in that VOICE. Etta’s voice is vibrant and real and she felt one hundred percent real to me.

My heart ached for Etta throughout this book. She’s a black, bisexual former ballerina struggling with an eating disorder in Nebraska. She’s the very definition of not fitting in, but also fitting in too much. What Etta hates more than anything is that she’s not otherwise specified. She can identify herself as having an eating disorder and as being bisexual, but everyone still puts her in these boxes. She hates that she doesn’t qualify by the technical definitions as anorexic, which just makes her feel like more of a failure, even more out of control, the same reason she gave up ballet which she loves so much.

"You’re not supposed to look at a girl’s body when she dances, not in that way. She’s supposed to be unobtrusive. She’s supposed to just be part of the music, and here I come in all attention-grabbing and ETTAETTAETTA and you can make that sound as awesome and special0snowflakey as you want but at the end of the day that’s not what people want ballerinas to be."

Etta sums herself up so well with this quote. She’s vibrant, full of life, and charismatic as hell. However, she tries so hard to fit in, like she did with the Dykes, her group of lesbian friends, who ejected her when she dated a guy, despite the fact she always said she was bi. She tried to be the ballerina that everyone wanted, but became so obsessed with control and how her body was wrong that she developed an eating disorder. Not Otherwise Specified is partially the story of Etta coming to terms with her Ettaness.

A big part of Not Otherwise Specified is about friendship. Friends, even when they love you, can be bad for you. Etta loved the Dykes, but they’ve turned on her and are bullying her. Even so, she kind of wants them back. It’s hard for her to let go, especially of Rachel. She makes a new group of friends through an audition for Brentwood Academy, a school for theater. They still all make mistakes with one another, but the difference between the friendship dynamics is stark.

Not Otherwise Specified gets dark. I mean, the issues are really heavy, but that’s counteracted by Etta’s voice, which is so full of life and humor. Etta doesn’t let things get her down for long; she’s really sweet and optimistic. She sticks up for people and cares so hard. Yes, it hurts, and I marked a lot of quotes for how much they saddened me but also struck this really honest chord. The ending, though, made me happy cry for the progress that’s being made.

I loved every moment of this book. I think it’s beautiful and important. READ IT READ IT READ IT.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Count to LOVE! (A Bright Brown Baby Board Book)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Cuddle up with your little one and get ready to...
The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
THE MYSTERY OF THE MEANEST TEACHER: A JOHNNY CONSTANTINE GRAPHIC...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
A shocking thriller about a group of friends who go...
Bird Boy
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Take flight in this heartwarming story about a boy who...
Love You By Heart
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Acclaimed creator of The Word Collector, Happy Dreamer, Say Something,...
Fa-La-La Llama (Touch-and-Feel Board Book)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Get ready to deck the halls with these joyful, singing,...
Our Way Back to Always
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
To All the Boys I've Loved Before meets Morgan Matson...
The Last Gate of the Emperor
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel David Makonnen comes an...
Traitors Among Us
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
World War II may be over. But two sisters are...
The Devil Makes Three
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
When Tess and Eliot stumble upon an ancient book hidden...
African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet the ten remarkable kings, queens, inventors, scholars, and visionaries...
Liar's Room
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This spooky stand-alone from MG horror expert Dan Poblocki is...
Manu: A Graphic Novel
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Set at a magical school for girls, a funny and...
Barakah Beats
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twelve-year-old Nimra Sharif has spent her whole life in Islamic...
Cold-Blooded Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle #3)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Myrtle Hardcastle—twelve-year-old Young Lady of Quality and Victorian amateur detective—is...
How to Get Away with Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle #2)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Myrtle Hardcastle has no desire to go on a relaxing...

Latest Member Reviews

 
3.0
"WHAT I LOVED: Thanks to my brother being big into Dungeons & Dragons, I have some familiarity with tabletop gaming..."
Our Way Back to Always
 
5.0
"OUR WAY BACK TO ALWAYS is a beautiful YA contemporary romance about two best friends, Sam and Lou. After a..."
Poison Ivy: Thorns
 
4.3
"POISON IVY: THORNS is an intriguing graphic novel that takes us back to the origin story for Poison Ivy. Pamela,..."
The Devil Makes Three
 
4.3
"THE DEVIL MAKES THREE is a dark YA horror that creeps up on you. The book follows two teens, Eliot..."
Poison Ivy: Thorns
 
4.3
"Let me start with the artwork. This was so beautifully done and I loved every single panel. It really pulled..."
Lies My Memory Told Me
 
4.7
"What I Loved: In Lies my Memory Told Me, Nova is the daughter of the people who created Enhanced Memory...."
The Dead and the Dark
 
5.0
"THE DEAD AND THE DARK is a deliciously creepy paranormal thriller/horror. Logan lives with her two fathers, who co-host a..."
The Great Destroyers
 
3.3
"THE GREAT DESTROYERS is an intriguing alternate history that brings robot fighting into the Cold War. Jo is a teenager..."
Fresh
 
4.3
"FRESH is an entertaining and thought-provoking coming-of-age story. Elliott is a middle child, heading to college far from home at..."
Illusionary (Hollow Crown, #2)
 
5.0
"ILLUSIONARY is a beautifully written sequel in a strong YA fantasy duology. The book begins after the first ended, with..."
Bluebird
 
5.0
"It's 1946 and Eva and her friend Brigit leave behind destroyed Berlin for New York City. Eva carries a deadly..."
Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1)
 
4.3
"INCENDIARY is an intriguing YA fantasy with rebellion, magic, and intrigue. Renata was stolen from her parents as a child..."
Love and Other Sins
 
5.0
"Read it in one sitting and can’t wait to read the next one!!"
 
4.3
"This was definitely an interesting book. I really enjoyed all of the witchy aspects of the book! It starts off..."
Small Favors
 
4.7
"SMALL FAVORS is a compelling, spooky, and atmospheric YA fantasy/horror that keeps the reader guessing. Ellerie is a young woman..."
Sidelined
 
4.7
"Julian is looking forward to his senior year in Meridien, Texas. He wants to play football and hopefully get scouted..."
Spectacle
 
3.7
"WHAT I LOVED: Nathalie Baudin is an extraordinary girl even before she discovers her psychometric abilities. She’s just sixteen,..."
Somewhere Only We Know
 
4.0
"Everything I know about K-pop comes from thirsty Twitter fancams, what has made it into the American mainstream, and an..."
A Song Below Water
 
4.3
"WHAT I LOVED: Tavia and Effie’s world is ours with just a little myth-made-real on top. The Hart family..."
Tin Heart
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: Marlowe has spent much of her life living on the edge of death thanks to a..."