Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz


Not Otherwise Specified
Hannah Moskowitz
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Synopsis from Goodreads-

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.

I picked up this book expecting, I don't know, a story of friendship. And that's mostly what I got.
It was a nice (if not flimsy) friendship and getting better story, but it didn't really do much for me.
On one hand, I liked that we had a bisexual narrator. There are many (actually, most) YA books about straight girls, and some about lesbians- but rarely do we get a bisexual narrator. So many people don't "get" or "believe in" bisexuality, and this book definitely shows you it's a "real" thing. (sorry, I "love" doing that)
I also did like Bianca's getting better story, it was very uplifting. The side story with James, Bianca's brother, being gay and Bianca trying to accept that (being from a religious upbringing) was a complex part of the book, too.
I liked that Etta chased her dreams, and eventually realised that her best friend, Rachel, wasn't that good for her- they had such a weird relationship. It was obvious that they had feelings for each other, and it mentioned that they'd slept together on numerous occasions, yet they didn't ever officially get together.
I didn't like Etta's attitude for most of the book- she calls herself a "slut", she complains about everything- I mean, sure, she had a hard time but lemons make lemonade, you know?

She was way too hard on herself. It was hard to not feel sorry for her when her ex-friends started bullying her, though.

I didn't like that she used Mason, James' friend, when she knew full well that he liked her more than she liked him. She led him on, when it was clear she wasn't over her ex, Danielle, or her best friend, Rachel.
I didn't like that at first she was willing to just date girls so her friends would like her again. I didn't like that she was bullied- severely, in fact, Natasha was physically violent towards her, and Etta was locked in a bathroom by her old friends- and never got help from anyone. It gave the message that if you ignore bullying it goes away, and that is NOT a message teens should be hearing.
 I was glad that Etta got some self-confidence back by the end, realised she was a curve and not a line, got into a dance school, and everything, but lots was left not completed.
The book was pretty much what I expected- not bad, but nothing special.

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