Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

17 April, 2015 Reviews 2 comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah MoskowitzNot Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
Series: Standalone
Published by Simon Pulse on 3rd March 2015
Pages: 304
Genres: Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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.

Not Otherwise Specified is the story of Ella, a girl struggling with all the labels in her life. Bi, eating disorder, dancing, black, etc.

Not Otherwise Specified was a breathless read. In that, no really, I felt breathless a lot of the time. The Narration was like an unending stream of consciousness funnelling you right into Ella’s every uncensored thought.

You’ll find all the hallmarks of a great Moskowitz novel here. Thorough characterisation, relationship heavy, stunning writing, heartbreak.

But what you’ll also find it that there’s nothing really new here either. Ella worries, in the novel, that the theatre auditioners would know her bag of tricks and I think it’s the same for this novel. Moskowitz has a bag of tricks – great tricks, beautiful tricks, heart touching tricks, but they can start to also feel a little tired.

I didn’t feel like Not Otherwise Specified was a stretch for Moskowitz. Teeth was deeper. Gone Gone Gone more heartbreaking, Marco Impossible more fun. Not Otherwise Specified felt, in comparison, like a nice book. And that’s what I can say of it. I know I’m being unfair because writing about the eating disorder stuff and the bulling stuff must have been a real struggle for Moskowitz. She really reached deep for those.

And if anyone else had written it, I think I would have been more impressed, to be honest. But because it was a Moskowitz book, I expected more from it.

But this is where my excitement ramps up because A History of Glitter and Blood sounds very very different to the contemporaries that Moskowitz has written in the past. So Moskowitz is already expanding on her bag of tricks it seems, and I am so, so excited to see what she comes up for for that.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

2 Responses to “Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz”

  1. Layla

    I think I’ll check out some of Moskowitz’s other books first. Some of the other ones you mentioned, maybe! I was interested in this one, but a little put off by two things – this line: “Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy.” (Of course different LGBTQ communities can be biphobic and *are,* but I really hate it when biphobia gets located specifically within these communities rather than being portrayed as you know, an issue w/in society at large.) And then, secondly, the idea of people in love saving each other, which is just like nails-on-a-chalkboard to me. Will check out her other books first – thanks for reviewing this one!
    Layla recently posted…Classic Readalong Discussion: A Ring of Endless LightMy Profile

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