Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre:Contemporary and Young Adult
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
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?
I’m in love with Hannah Moskowitz. I love her writing, her characters, the way that I feel like I personally know her solely from reading her books. I feel like she puts a lot of herself into her stories. Not Otherwise Specified isn’t… a bad book by any means. But it is a what the fuck just happened ? kind of book. From the setting to the dialogue, all the way to the fucking cover I just…
I don’t think I ever encountered a book by an author I loved that has had info-dumping, but Not Otherwise Specified has it to the max. I’m not even kidding. Sure there are a lot of witty comments that make some of the several info-dumping parts bearable but just barely. Also, the dialogue is really bad. It’s all cookie cutter edge with ‘he says’ or ‘I say’ ‘she says’. They say a lot of shit, I get it. Now make it interesting by adding actions. And I don’t know if it’s just me but all anyone talks about are eating disorders and theater and a dash of the LGBT community thus making the characters not as fleshed out as I would have liked. I got bored quite easily reading this one because I was waiting for something out of the ordinary. It didn’t really come. Anyway, the relationship between Bianca and Etta is so crazy and unbelievable that I had a hard time taking to it. Bianca barely talks and somehow, she’s clinging to Etta for dear life after like a month? Of course these scenarios happen, but I’m sorry there’s just so much planning that could have made it seem realistic. Bianca has too much to lose (I think) to just allow Etta into her life instantly.
Still, this is Hannah Moskowitz and after a while, the random-all-over-the-place-but-not-really-I-don’t-know writing didn’t stand out so much to me. In addition to this, Etta is such a handful, not only for the secondary characters but for readers as well but I liked her for the most part. She’s loud, confused, happy, and pissed off. I liked her because of how strong she is and how strong she makes the other characters. The struggle that goes on in the story is so true. She tries so hard to work on herself, so hard to get her old friends back, to get healthy, to get in really that I felt for her. It’s so hard to really ‘fit’ in somewhere and I felt as if Etta is the memory for all of us, because I’m sure that everyone has felt like a sore thumb at least once in their life.
Let me say it again: I love Hannah Moskowitz and I believe that this love for her has made me second guess my thoughts on the book. I really want to believe that I got a faulty copy because it just didn’t work for me. Especially the cover, just looking at it makes me mad not because of the person on it, but just the fact that the publisher probably paid a lot of money for something that looks thrown together in ten minutes. It’s poorly photoshoped, poorly lighted, and just all around, poor colour choices. I know for a fact, they could have done better. But anyway, yes, I think I would still recommend it solely because it is Hannah Moskowitz and she’s awesome but Not Otherwise Specified is not that great. It’s a solid, ‘meh’ book with ‘meh’ characters and a ‘meh’ setting.