Hey, guys! I am super excited to talk about Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz. This is a book that I was hoping to love, and I absolutely fell in love with this story from the first page. I connected with the story so much, and I am just so glad I decided to pick it up. But let’s go ahead and jump right into the review!
“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?”
OH, MY LORD, I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH.
I am finding it difficult to discuss how much this book means to me, but I am going to attempt to be at least a little bit coherent. This book had so much representation, and I was absolutely living for it. It didn’t even feel like that representation was just there for show, just for the sake of representation. I felt that all of it was there for a reason with development. I have just never felt so understood than when I read this book!
Our main character Etta is a black, overweight, bisexual teen who is also going through recovery for her eating disorder. There is so much depth to her character, and I just related to her so much. As many of you know, I am bisexual so to read the things she was thinking and feeling and the bi-erasure she felt, it just made me so happy to have a character who feels the same things I do. If you’re dating a man, you’re still bisexual. If you’re dating a woman, you’re still a bisexual. You don’t have to pick a side. That’s kind of the point of being bisexual. You go both ways! I also loved the representation of gay men as well. There was a really cute romance blossoming in this book between two guys, which I adored.
There was also representation for eating disorders. Our main character has an eating disorder that doesn’t really have representation in literature, from my experience anyway. She has what is known as EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). She is not skinny enough to be anorexic, and she just doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere so that is the diagnosis for her. Along with that is her problems with her weight. A lot of the personal struggles she goes through in this book have to do with her race and her weight coupled with the fact that she wants to be a ballerina. She was, but she quit because she didn’t look like the typical ballerina. I thought the representation was really well done because it was fleshed out, and it wasn’t something that was really swept under the rug.
One thing that does piss me off in this book is how the lesbians are portrayed in this book. I am not saying that this does not happen. I am not saying that lesbians are welcoming to bisexual women because generally, they aren’t. They can be real assholes, not going to lie, but this takes that to a whole other level. They bully Etta, use her bisexuality as a means to get other students to bully her, too. My girlfriend and my best friend are both lesbians, and they don’t feel this way and would never behave this way, so it’s sad to think this is a real thing that happens to other bisexual girls in the world.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I would say this is the best way to understand what its like to be a bisexual girl and the kind of things we have to go through. I loved the simplistic writing and the characters and storyline and representation and just everything about it. I highly recommend you check this one out because it is just such an amazing book, and it has definitely jumped to the top of my favorites list for this year.
And there you have it! That was my review of Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz. What is an LGBT book you would recommend? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this review today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!