Published March 3rd 2015
“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 a big fan of diversity in YA and it’s something that Young Adult books are really lacking. So when I seen Not Otherwise Specified and read the synopsis, the promise of diversity was extremely inviting to me. I definitely didn’t pick this book out based in the cover, which I’m not fan a of, so I pushed past my horror of the cover and tried to focus on what was inside of the book.
I really liked Etta. She was bold and strong, honest and willful. She pushed past all her struggles and she focused on the future. I was really surprised by how honest she was about everything. But I really liked that about her.
There’s quite a few side characters and I enjoyed all the likable ones and the ones that were really mean to Etta, I hated. I was so frustrated with some of the characters because they were just so mean and I just wanted to slap them. They wouldn’t see reason, which is extremely frustrating to me. But they were written to be mean and to be obstacles in Etta’s path to happiness.
The diversity was amazing and I loved it so much. Etta was all sorts of interesting and different. She’s unlike any character I’ve ever read about in YA. I think other authors need to take note of what Hannah Moskowitz has done for the genre with this book. This book has contributed to the Young Adult genre and has made a difference.
The one thing that at I didn’t really like about this book is the way that it’s written. I wish it was written in third person instead of first person. I think it would have made the book a little more emotional. Etta didn’t dwell on her problems that much and she focused on moving forward so much that it was a little hard for me to get a grasp on her emotions. I think third person would have conveyed her emotions a little better.
Overall, this was a quick read that really has stood out in the YA genre. It adds some much needed diversity and gives a voice to people who, in the Young Adult genre, don’t have a voice. I loved the main character and hope to see more characters like her in the future. I wish it was written a little differently but that’s completely just my personal opinion. I also hope there’s a cover redesign in the near future for this book. But if you’re looking for something completely different and has a lot of diversity, I recommend Not Otherwise Specified.