No Big Deal
'It's not my body that's holding me back. I think it's more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.'Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.A warm, funny inspiring debut YA novel from Bethany Rutter: influencer, editor and a fierce UK voice in the debate around body positivity.

No Big Deal Details

TitleNo Big Deal
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 8th, 2019
PublisherMacmillan Children's Books
ISBN-139781509870059
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

No Big Deal Review

  • Sophie Elaina
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5 StarsWell this was wonderful!'It's not my body that's holding me back. I think it's more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.'No Big Deal follows Emily; a fun loving, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year old, who also happens to be fat. Emily doesn't have a problem with herself or her body, but although she likes herself for who she is, she faces things that she shouldn't have to face. We follow her story, through doubts, and the increasing pressure of society, *4.5 StarsWell this was wonderful!'It's not my body that's holding me back. I think it's more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.'No Big Deal follows Emily; a fun loving, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year old, who also happens to be fat. Emily doesn't have a problem with herself or her body, but although she likes herself for who she is, she faces things that she shouldn't have to face. We follow her story, through doubts, and the increasing pressure of society, and learning how important it is to stay strong and not change for anyone. This book is heartwarming and funny but also deep and delves into some of the things fat girls have to put up with, even though we shouldn't. As a bigger girl myself I'm always looking for positive representation that doesn't shy away from truth and the darker times. Bethany Rutter really delves into this book head on and provides such a positive message that is so important. Society today needs so much more of this.'To realise that I can stand up for things I think are important, even when it means disagreeing with a really, really cute guy - and I don't have to panic when it happens.'Even though Emily is seventeen, as a twenty-two year old I still connected so much to her character. Loving yourself and staying strong are messages that everyone should carry no matter their age. But I also connected to her because it made me think back to when I was her age and the struggles I was going through just a few years ago. And the fact that I'm here today living my happiest life and loving myself and my body for what it is. I honestly think so many young people will get so much from this book. ‘I am going to tell you this now, without any hesitation, and even though we have different bodies and different problems, I know this is true: never settle.’ She shakes me a bit more. ‘Do not allow into your world someone who thinks you’re second best, who thinks your body is a temporary “problem” that you’re going to solve, who puts you down in any way.’The plot was much more unique that I thought it was going to be, it still has that YA contemporary feel while also giving it a fresh twist. It was both heart-wrenching and heart-warming at the same time and I found myself constantly cheering the main character on. And the support that the main character gets from her friends is just on another level and had me in tears a couple of times. It was empowering and beautiful.The only aspects that fell a little short for me were that the ending felt abrupt, and a couple of scenes between the protagonist and the love interest felt slightly rushed. But I also liked the fact that this was a fast paced read, and that we just got a snippet into Emily's life. But I also want more lol. Overall I loved the positive messages and underlying themes of this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good young adult contemporary, but also to those of us looking for more fat girl rep because this is excellent!Thank you so much to Macmillan for reaching out to me and providing me with a review copy! My blog: https://www.sophieelaina.com
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    As a champion of plus-size rights and body positivity, Bethany Rutter is the perfect guide to steer us through the ups and downs of teenage confidence crises. This is my favourite young adult novel of the year, and it is clear that Rutter understands the need for books that emanate positive messages. Despite the title, this book is a HUGE DEAL! Emily is the fiercest protagonist I've encountered in some time and the story consists of many uncomfortable attempts by Emily's friends, family and othe As a champion of plus-size rights and body positivity, Bethany Rutter is the perfect guide to steer us through the ups and downs of teenage confidence crises. This is my favourite young adult novel of the year, and it is clear that Rutter understands the need for books that emanate positive messages. Despite the title, this book is a HUGE DEAL! Emily is the fiercest protagonist I've encountered in some time and the story consists of many uncomfortable attempts by Emily's friends, family and other kids to push her into dieting and changing her appearance. They try to make her see "being fat" as a shameful act that is within your power to change and should be. This takes her on a journey of self-discovery where she comes of age and realises she is happy and content exactly the way she is, and I loved her strength, courage and wit throughout. We would all like to be a bit more like this amazing young woman and stand up against those who seek to change us.Ask yourself: do I really want to be friends with someone who judges others based on how attractive/unattractive, big/small, fat/thin they are?This is an inspiring, amazing and highly rewarding read, and the diversity within its pages was on point. The two lesbian girls were beautiful souls and accepting of both themselves and others whilst also raising the LGBTQIA+ flag. This is not a book to be categorised in terms of age but in terms of mindset; those who are full of self-doubt and have low self-esteem will gain such a lot from it as it simple radiates positive reinforcement from first page to last. Not conforming to societies "norms" or " standards" should be celebrated rather than shot at. Emily is what really makes the story what it is as she is very easy to relate to and written in such a sensitive but passionate manner. It deserves to be on every school library shelf and in the hands of those with body confidence issues. Touching on themes surrounding fad diet culture, sex/consent, coming-of-age, dating and plus-size fashion, this is a captivating and unforgettable novel. Many thanks to Macmillan Children's Books for an ARC.
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  • Alice Slater
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book about the radical idea that fat girls are cute, stylish, fun, lovable, smart, dateable, carefree. There aren’t enough books like that and I wish I’d had it when I was a cute chub teen. Every school library needs this liberating book. Please read No Big Deal, please review No Big Deal, please share No Big Deal with the teens in your life! No Big Deal is a VERY BIG DEAL 🧁💋
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  • Gemma ♕ Books_McCoy
    January 1, 1970
    I have so many feelings about this book. ‘It’s not my body that’s holding me back. I think it’s more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.’I wish teenage me had had this book so I could have learned to love myself like Emily loves herself. I would have had the confidence to be exactly who I was and not give two fucks about what everyone thought. I would have worn what I wanted and strutted my stuff. I would have understood that being fat wasn't all there was to me. I woul I have so many feelings about this book. ‘It’s not my body that’s holding me back. I think it’s more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.’I wish teenage me had had this book so I could have learned to love myself like Emily loves herself. I would have had the confidence to be exactly who I was and not give two fucks about what everyone thought. I would have worn what I wanted and strutted my stuff. I would have understood that being fat wasn't all there was to me. I would have binned off a couple of highschool boyfriends and lot quicker if I'd read this, I can tell you that! ‘I am going to tell you this now, without any hesitation, and even though we have different bodies and different problems, I know this is true: never settle.’ She shakes me a bit more. ‘Do not allow into your world someone who thinks you’re second best, who thinks your body is a temporary “problem” that you’re going to solve, who puts you down in any way.’Do I want to lose weight? Yes I do. But even if I lost four stone I would still be considered chunky and you know what? I'm ok with that. I'd rather be chunky, it suits me. I’m not just a tragic fat loser. I’m a cool fat babe.
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  • Kevin (Irish Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    **I received an ARC of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**I really enjoyed this book and really loved the main character Emily, she was very relatable to me and I instantly loved her. The overall plot of loving yourself first and foremost is also my favorite thing about this book. It provides a great message that we all as a society need to hear. This book was one I was highly anticipating due to the body positivity representation. For the most part, I loved this represent **I received an ARC of this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**I really enjoyed this book and really loved the main character Emily, she was very relatable to me and I instantly loved her. The overall plot of loving yourself first and foremost is also my favorite thing about this book. It provides a great message that we all as a society need to hear. This book was one I was highly anticipating due to the body positivity representation. For the most part, I loved this representation and we definitely need to see more of it in YA books. Emily doesn’t want to change her body and loves who she is. This message is beautiful and one I can use for inspiration myself. However, there were things I wish weren’t included. The use of adjectives such as “stomped” and the scene with Emily and the love interest at his house (I’m keeping it vague to avoid spoilers). It felt a bit rushed to me, so the pacing could have been better. Overall I did really enjoy this book and the message of this book is a great one and very empowering!
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  • Flora ❀
    January 1, 1970
    i'm human, i have emotions and i'm not affraid to show these emotions in public
  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    Just fabulous. Such a brilliant YA novel which I really loved.Emily is fat. She doesn't care but everyone else seems to and are constantly telling her what they think about her body when it isn't anything to do with them. I loved Emily. I loved how she was a happy plus size teen who loved her life, music and fashion. All so often in YA films and fiction the fat girl is someone to be pitied or the subject of all jokes which is a really sad state of affairs. I love that Emily is the exact opposite Just fabulous. Such a brilliant YA novel which I really loved.Emily is fat. She doesn't care but everyone else seems to and are constantly telling her what they think about her body when it isn't anything to do with them. I loved Emily. I loved how she was a happy plus size teen who loved her life, music and fashion. All so often in YA films and fiction the fat girl is someone to be pitied or the subject of all jokes which is a really sad state of affairs. I love that Emily is the exact opposite of that negative stereotype.The story itself is funny and romantic and I loved every page. In a year where there's not much in the way of contemporary UKYA being published I was so looking forward to this and I wasn't at all disappointed.
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  • Jimi (Jimi Can Read)
    January 1, 1970
    A cracking book. A must read for all teens although it is definitely enjoyable as an adult too. It brought me back to my teenage years reading Adrian Mole. Bethany Rutter has put a lot into this, including her fashion wisdom and music taste. It is funny, serious, gentle, and touching. Some bits were way too real and weighed heavily on me, other bits had me laughing out loud. Definitely recommend this one!
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  • BookSteff
    January 1, 1970
    Let me start by saying that you don't have to be fat or even really suffer with body image issues to appreciate the beauty of this book. I myself have suffered with body image from a young age, which in turn contributed to eating disorders that I still struggle to maintain control on now. This story was beautiful, amazing, empowering, and gives a message that all girls regardless of age need to heed. We follow Emily who although happy with her own body is made to feel like she should be ashamed Let me start by saying that you don't have to be fat or even really suffer with body image issues to appreciate the beauty of this book. I myself have suffered with body image from a young age, which in turn contributed to eating disorders that I still struggle to maintain control on now. This story was beautiful, amazing, empowering, and gives a message that all girls regardless of age need to heed. We follow Emily who although happy with her own body is made to feel like she should be ashamed of it, she receives criticism from people at school, from strangers on the street and even her own mother. Her happy go bubbly self is pushed down and taken over my worry, by self doubt, and by a feeling of worthlessness. This then contributes to her overlooking the way she is treated by a guy because she assumes she is just 'lucky' to have any interest in the first place. Now, I don't care who you are, where you're from, or what shape your body is...as girls, as women we have ALL experienced selling ourselves short because of what we believe we do and don't deserve. We have all stood in that changing room, and suddenly had the urge to burn the place to the ground because 'that top didn't look right' or 'that dressed didn't fit well'. We are a society notorious for judging our women by the way they look, or what size they are; this book was a message to all women that you shouldn't settle for less. That you are beautiful and deserve all the respect afforded to you. You are worth no less than any other woman no matter what size clothes you wear. I cannot stress enough how nice it was for me to read Emily's inner strength, and her realisation that she was worth more than how she was being treated. I honestly wish that when I was younger I would have had the courage to say "No, I'm worth more, I deserve better!" I loved this story, and I am so glad I was given an eARC through Netgalley! I really hope this book finds all those girls out there who don't realise how awesome they are!
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adored this book. I wish I’d read about Emily as a teenager but I’m still delighted to have met her now, what a cool gal. Really uplifting read and I learned a lot from it. Definitely read it or gift it to a teenager in your life ❤ I absolutely adored this book. I wish I’d read about Emily as a teenager but I’m still delighted to have met her now, what a cool gal. Really uplifting read and I learned a lot from it. Definitely read it or gift it to a teenager in your life ❤️
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  • Danni Jervis
    January 1, 1970
    A must read for fans of Dumplin'!A really good, honest story about what it's like to be a teenager, "big boned" but confident, falling in love for the first time. The insecurities brought up in the story are genuine. The best part about is that Emilys personality is already very strong and she wants the world to stop judging her body that she is happy with already. She has her fair moments of weakness which make her an entirely relateable character and inspirational for young girls of all sizes.
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  • Shawna
    January 1, 1970
    I very much enjoyed this book, but it wasn't until the last couple of chapters that I was punching my fist in the air going, "That's RIGHT!"First of all, I super appreciate that we have a young fat protagonist who is mostly okay with being fat. (I say mostly okay, because I think even the most confident amongst us has trouble completely blocking out the messages of the world.) Emily has a mother who is always on a diet, a best friend who's come back from holiday a couple sizes smaller, a low-gra I very much enjoyed this book, but it wasn't until the last couple of chapters that I was punching my fist in the air going, "That's RIGHT!"First of all, I super appreciate that we have a young fat protagonist who is mostly okay with being fat. (I say mostly okay, because I think even the most confident amongst us has trouble completely blocking out the messages of the world.) Emily has a mother who is always on a diet, a best friend who's come back from holiday a couple sizes smaller, a low-grade nemesis who delights in popping up and sticking her oar in. All of the times when Emily is confronted with fatphobia and societal pressure to lose weight seem completely true and reasonable. And while her inner monologue is not pristine and she has doubts and fears about how people perceive her and her lovability based on her size, she's lucky (and knows she's lucky) to have a largely supportive group of friends and family, who have given her a solid self-esteem. It's pointed out that her mother might have had a better body image, if she'd grown up in the present day, where positive images of fat people are at least available. (They're definitely not the norm, but if you seek them, you can find them.) As a reader more the mother's age, I would agree with that. I think the internet is a minefield, but if I'd had Instagram and/or Tumblr when I was 16, as well as access to clothing that wasn't from Lane Bryant or the JC Penney plus size department, I might have felt way better about my body, too.There is a romantic arc to this story, which ends kind of brilliantly, but I don't want to spoil that. Four stars over all, bumped up to five by the last chapter.
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  • Emmie (Oncemorewithreading)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I honestly didn’t realise how much I needed a book like this in my life. It was everything I wanted and more. Emily is such a strong character and has an amazing personality that it’s almost impossible to love her. As a big girl myself I connected so much with Emily and honestly wish I had her mindset, she loves herself and is so confident in her own skin.This book is at times hard Thank you to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I honestly didn’t realise how much I needed a book like this in my life. It was everything I wanted and more. Emily is such a strong character and has an amazing personality that it’s almost impossible to love her. As a big girl myself I connected so much with Emily and honestly wish I had her mindset, she loves herself and is so confident in her own skin.This book is at times hard hitting and I felt myself tear up while reading it. Emily is struggling with what every girl at one point suffers from. Doubt. Doubt that you’re pretty enough, doubt that you’re not skinny enough because that’s what the media has implanted in everyone’s head. This is a book about self-acceptance that every young person needs to read. I honestly loved this book so much and even read it in one sitting because I found it impossible to put down. My only qualm with it is I wish I had read it when I was seventeen, this is a book my younger self really needed. Another thing I really loved with this book is how Bethany Rutter touched on the fact that these doubts carry on from being a teenager into adulthood. Emily’s mother is incredible self-conscious about her weight, constantly trying different diets in order to lose weight because she isn’t happy in her own skin. I honestly do recommend reading this book. This is a story about loving yourself and never settling for anything less then what you deserve. It’s a lesson that everyone should learn no matter what size you are.
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  • April Leigh
    January 1, 1970
    I expected to like this, and maybe not entirely be able to engage with it due to it being a YA novel.. but i really loved it.It completely took me back to how it felt to be 17, all the confusion, anxiety, uncertainty and lack of self worth.. and to remember those feelings and think of the impact reading some of the things in this book would have had on me at the time...i cried (especially the conversations towards the end with Emily's mum and sister).'But there really are people out there who wi I expected to like this, and maybe not entirely be able to engage with it due to it being a YA novel.. but i really loved it.It completely took me back to how it felt to be 17, all the confusion, anxiety, uncertainty and lack of self worth.. and to remember those feelings and think of the impact reading some of the things in this book would have had on me at the time...i cried (especially the conversations towards the end with Emily's mum and sister).'But there really are people out there who will make you feel magical and beloved and special and important. I’m just sorry you don’t know that already. Compromise on where to go for dinner. Compromise on what movie to see. Compromise on how to balance your work–life relationship. But don’t ever compromise on the level of love, attention and enthusiasm you know you deserve.'The weight watchers style meetings and conflict with her mum really struck a chord too. I remember being sat in those meetings, hating myself.. completely naive to such poisonous language, and i remember my mum feeling the exact same ways about her body. Imagine reading something with so much empathy and tenderness at that confusing time we all have to go through..I can really see why almost everyone is saying they wish they'd had this to read as a teenager.
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  • Carlyn (The Bookworm Mum)
    January 1, 1970
    FULL DISCLOSURE: I have followed Bethany on socials for as long as I can remember and we’ve chatted a lot. I think she’s an amazing human being, but I like to think I will still be fair in my review.I LOVED THIS. A fat girl clearly written by a fat girl. I read this in virtually one sitting. I haven’t done that with a book in a long time (I have a toddler I don’t have the time but I made it for this). This was such an easy read, Bethany is clearly a natural writer. I can’t quite believe this is FULL DISCLOSURE: I have followed Bethany on socials for as long as I can remember and we’ve chatted a lot. I think she’s an amazing human being, but I like to think I will still be fair in my review.I LOVED THIS. A fat girl clearly written by a fat girl. I read this in virtually one sitting. I haven’t done that with a book in a long time (I have a toddler I don’t have the time but I made it for this). This was such an easy read, Bethany is clearly a natural writer. I can’t quite believe this is a debut. I loved the natural diversity. Nothing seemed forced at all, which is the way ALL the books should be. Buy this for every teenage girl you know. Buy it for every teenager you know. HELL, buy it for every human being you know. My only, TINY, criticism would be, I thought Emily was wiser than her years. But I found it really hard to be sure if that is the case, or just that I was never that confident and intelligent at that age. I forget I’m 30 now, and kids have changed *insert “fellow youths” or “damn kids” meme of your own choosing here*Anyway I digress. It was fantastic, I loved it and I want more.
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  • Sinéad O'Hart
    January 1, 1970
    The book I needed to read at 17. I adored Emily; I wish I'd known someone like her for real, when I was her age and trying to navigate the world in a body that took up too much space. This is a book I related to on several levels - it spoke to the shy, fat, desperately unhappy teen who still lives inside my large middle-aged heart, but it also spoke to me as a parent, reminding me of the importance of raising children without passing on your own hangups and complications (in this case, surroundi The book I needed to read at 17. I adored Emily; I wish I'd known someone like her for real, when I was her age and trying to navigate the world in a body that took up too much space. This is a book I related to on several levels - it spoke to the shy, fat, desperately unhappy teen who still lives inside my large middle-aged heart, but it also spoke to me as a parent, reminding me of the importance of raising children without passing on your own hangups and complications (in this case, surrounding body image, but it's a good lesson in general!) A book which is needed by so many readers, this is a great, heartfelt and uplifting story (with a totally banging soundtrack). Whether you're fat, whether you're not, this one's recommended!
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  • Laura King
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Emily, the confident, funny and caring heroine of No Big Deal. She's definitely a lot more self assured (and more fashionable!) than I remember being in final year in school, but it was so refreshing to read this in a YA book. Emily knows she's great, but people around her think that she should feel held back by the fact that she is fat, even if this doesn't seem to bother her. This is a really fun and uplifting book, but it also has a lot to say about self love, teenage friendships, neg I loved Emily, the confident, funny and caring heroine of No Big Deal. She's definitely a lot more self assured (and more fashionable!) than I remember being in final year in school, but it was so refreshing to read this in a YA book. Emily knows she's great, but people around her think that she should feel held back by the fact that she is fat, even if this doesn't seem to bother her. This is a really fun and uplifting book, but it also has a lot to say about self love, teenage friendships, negotiating difficult family members, healthy romantic and sexual relationships and has a brilliant soundtrack, too! I can't wait for everyone to read it so I have someone to fangirl with
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  • Hannah Rae
    January 1, 1970
    LOVED LOVED LOVED THISThis story is so refreshing, so unique, so body-positive that if I didn’t have to work I would’ve indulged this book in one sitting. I wish I had this book when I was a teenager, this would’ve helped me think that I wasn’t the only one out there who didn’t have a boyfriend, who didn’t experience relationship things, who still valued their friends and life experiences/adventures above getting a boyfriend for the summer. This, is a work of art.
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  • Ash Marshall
    January 1, 1970
    I honestly wish this book had existed when I was a fat teen. Bethany has absolutely nailed it and I hope this goes on to be a source of comfort and empowerment for all of us women crushed by society's expectation that life is not worth living and you are not deserving of good things unless you are thin.
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  • Amy Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a big fan of Bethany Rutter's for years and it doesn't surprise me that her first foray into fiction is as fantastic as everything else she does! This story of a fat babe dipping her toe into the dating pool, navigating teenage friendships and deciding what to do with her future with wit, warmth and a few crises of confidence, was absolutely the kind of YA book that I wish I'd read as a teen. It was so refreshing to see a fat character who is not defined solely by her relationship wi I have been a big fan of Bethany Rutter's for years and it doesn't surprise me that her first foray into fiction is as fantastic as everything else she does! This story of a fat babe dipping her toe into the dating pool, navigating teenage friendships and deciding what to do with her future with wit, warmth and a few crises of confidence, was absolutely the kind of YA book that I wish I'd read as a teen. It was so refreshing to see a fat character who is not defined solely by her relationship with her body (Emily is so wonderful, I want to be her pal!) but who also has to live in the world that wants to define her that way. It was a truly nuanced portrayal of the realities of being a fat teen who loves fashion, doesn't want to diet (and quite rightly!) but still has to deal with the commentary of those around her. Basically, it's a banger. More, please!
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  • Kate Dansette
    January 1, 1970
    The main character's relationship with her mother gave me all the feels and I was rooting for her all the way. This book is a great, fun read for teens with great messages: don't diet and don't suppress yourself for f*ckboys (or anyone).
  • Isobel Wilson-Cleary
    January 1, 1970
    I wish there were more books like this, especially for YA. While it followed a very conventional YA romance plot, it certainly differed from the ones I read as a teen - more body positivity and a confident protagonist who doesn’t let other people’s hang-ups and insecurities get her down. It also did not try too hard to be youthful and felt quite timeless; it could be set now, five years ago or five years from now. There’s excellent musical references throughout and a really thoughtful author’s n I wish there were more books like this, especially for YA. While it followed a very conventional YA romance plot, it certainly differed from the ones I read as a teen - more body positivity and a confident protagonist who doesn’t let other people’s hang-ups and insecurities get her down. It also did not try too hard to be youthful and felt quite timeless; it could be set now, five years ago or five years from now. There’s excellent musical references throughout and a really thoughtful author’s note at the end.
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  • Lieske Huits
    January 1, 1970
    While this book is definitely a must-read for people of all sizes, and a perfect specimen of the genre, it's so nice to finally, finally read a YA contemporary romance that feels relatable and relevant to my own experiences as a fat teen.
  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    This is a YA book, no doubt. But I’m a 35 year old crying in the dark because it spoke to me about dating - regardless of age. I could be Emily. I’m a confident bad ass. I’m dating. I’m also being treat like shit while I’m under the impression I’m being modern and cool and ‘going with the flow’.No compromises. No lowering of standards. All of the fireworks.
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  • Keri Bainborough
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adored this YA novel and wish I had been able to read it as a teenage girl. I giggled (a lot) and even cried a little. Smart, clever writing from Bethany Rutter made me feel like a kid again! Cannot wait for my little girl to read this one day. Highly recommend.
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  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    This book is everything that I’m feeling, everything that I’ve ever felt, and everything I’m worried about. I wish I had this book when I was a teen. I say this about a lot of plus size books, but it’s true. I’m beyond happy that teens now and future teens have a this and other books. 10/10
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  • Alice (most ardently alice)
    January 1, 1970
    Review originally posted here: https://ardentlyalice.wordpress.com/2...Emily is fat. She doesn’t have a problem with it, so why should anyone else? What’s more, there are a billion and one other things that make up who she is besides her body type. For instance, Emily is always wearing something cute, her make-up is killer, with an eclectic music taste to boot. She’s also incredibly smart, well-read, and has a great bunch of friends; Camila, Abi, Ella and Sophia. Unfortunately, everyone else see Review originally posted here: https://ardentlyalice.wordpress.com/2...Emily is fat. She doesn’t have a problem with it, so why should anyone else? What’s more, there are a billion and one other things that make up who she is besides her body type. For instance, Emily is always wearing something cute, her make-up is killer, with an eclectic music taste to boot. She’s also incredibly smart, well-read, and has a great bunch of friends; Camila, Abi, Ella and Sophia. Unfortunately, everyone else seems to think being fat is a big deal, or, worst still, a problem. And as friendships are put to the test, boys are introduced, and the future is looming, Emily’s fierce and unrelenting body confidence might just be at risk of slipping.I haven’t been reading a lot as of late, and if I have, it’s rarely been YA. My point? I inhaled ‘No Big Deal’ in 24 hours and it reminded me just how important Young Adult fiction is and all the ways it’s paving the way for tackling all that icky, tricky stuff and reminding us it’s really, actually, completely and utterly okay. Emily as a character is a freakin’ icon. She is potentially one of the fiercest, strongest characters I’ve ever come across in YA and, all at once, I wanted to protect her, even though I doubted she’d ever need my help. Emily, even as a teen somewhat blindly stumbling through A Levels and UCAS applications, knows her own mind and sticks to her guns. She doesn’t take things lying down and she absolutely will not tolerate body shaming.Too often fat characters are used as a catalyst for the unloveable protagonist; an unconventional love story that unfolds with the popular, perfect guy. The idea that she is beautiful or loved despite the fact her body doesn’t pertain to society’s unreachable standard of beauty. Many books tackling fatphobia end up being a part of the problem. But ‘No Big Deal’ and the unapologetic Emily obliterate that. Not only does Emily have a level of comfort in her body that far outreaches the idea of simply ‘body positive’ — in that it rarely even registers as something worth identifying and labouring over. She also has the fight to take down other people’s shame, including her own mother’s and the copious diet fads she cycles through to no avail. I valued the way Emily, well, I guess, valued herself. Even as she battles to hold onto her sense of self worth at her lowest points, she still comes out fighting for the unwavering self-love and respect that is constantly trying to be ripped away from her.There’s a special place in my heart for books where the character chooses to put themselves first and put emphasis on the importance of self-acceptance. I felt like Emily took that for herself and stood her ground countless times. It’s a kind of resilience I hope more teens continue to hold onto, because I think too early on we come to doubt ourselves, when we should keep firm grips on that sense of untouchability for a little longer. Emily knows her own mind, highlighted in one of my favourite moments when she called out Joe for not consuming enough media by women. She didn’t shy away from the awkward conversation of gender politics. She flat out had it out with him, and I will give it to Joe that he actually let some of it sink in. But that’s about all the credit I’m giving him, because, let’s be real, we shouldn’t be applauding dudes for doing the bare minimum. Just sayin’.The relationships explored in ‘No Big Deal’ were cripplingly authentic. I related hard to Emily’s feeling of almost betrayal at Camila, not only for changing but for getting a boyfriend. It’s a rite of passage, losing your best friend to a romantic relationship, and although it’s life, it’s hard. And Emily rolled with the punches of that and didn’t allow it to break her down, even when there was that slight bump in the road for her and Camila. She kind of just… got on with it. It felt as though ‘No Big Deal’ was a testament to girls doing it for themselves, working at their own speed, and, above all else, lifting each other up and empowering one another. From Katie’s sisterly speech of never settling and always remembering you are deserving of the absolute best, to Abi who can also stay for, like, ever. She was the true MVP throughout, not giving into peer pressure and reassuring Emily she didn’t have to either.Above all else, it felt like ‘No Big Deal’s’ message was to love number one first. Despite society’s internalised fatphobic attitudes constantly niggling Emily — that maybe to succeed, to be fancied, to be loved, she needed to be thinner — ultimately she said it best when *spoiler alert* she let Joe go:“I like you, Joe. But I like me more.”
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I managed to snag this ARC unexpectedly in a charity shop - yes I know you aren't meant to buy them but it was 95p and it went to charity so I don't mind so much. Ohh so much of this book made me angry - but not in a 'angry at the book' way but rather I was angry at the things that were said to Emily throughout this book whilst knowing that these are most definitely things that have been said to people before. Emily is an amazing female lead; she is utterly confident and believes in herself unti I managed to snag this ARC unexpectedly in a charity shop - yes I know you aren't meant to buy them but it was 95p and it went to charity so I don't mind so much. Ohh so much of this book made me angry - but not in a 'angry at the book' way but rather I was angry at the things that were said to Emily throughout this book whilst knowing that these are most definitely things that have been said to people before. Emily is an amazing female lead; she is utterly confident and believes in herself until other people tell her she shouldn't. Emily doesn't have a problem with her weight until her mum is telling her she needs to lose weight and she realises that people will always judge her solely for how she looks. Rutter makes this such a heartwarming book even though half of the time you want to scream and rage at the treatment Emily gets. I found this to be such a body-positive story and it is so utterly refreshing that Emily does not change herself for others during the story. She stays true to who she is and doesn't take less than she deserves. I honestly felt connected to Emily; the core message of this book is that you should love yourself no matter what and not accept comprises on who you will allow to love you. It's just so heartwarming and so honest that I couldn't help but love this book.Although this is a YA novel I feel you could give it to anyone of any age and they could relate to this. Emily has an amazing range of friends who constantly boost her up and reaffirm to her that she deserves someone who deserves her. There are some pretty shitty characters in this book; namely Emily's mother and the love interest Joe - LET ME MURDER YOU JOE. Emily's mother means well, but really doesn't understand the negative impact that she's having on Emily. And Joe. Well the less said about that knob the better. My only issue is that at times it felt a bit rushed? There's a scene with Emily and Joe at his house which just came a bit out of nowhere for me and felt rushed. The ending also ruined it for me slightly; Emily has this massive and breath-takingly refreshing speech to Joe about how she deserves more and tells him to take a hike, and the book then ends to her opening the door to another guy and commenting that he's the "cutest guy she's ever seen" and it just irked me. Yes I realise that this is YA but it felt that Emily had really boosted herself up and realised that she could be happy just being her, and then we've got another bloke thrown at her door. It just felt a bit of a sour end for me but overall didn't ruin the entire story.Other than that I really enjoyed this story and enjoyed Emily having the courage to say that she deserves more; I wish I had her confidence. A lovely body-positive read.
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  • Victoria Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of this when I attended NYAlit fest earlier this year, and I’m embarrassed to say that this has been sitting on my TBR pile since then.I feel like novels like this are so important in this day and age, I’m definitely here for people losing weight if they want to (hell I have started going to the gym and I’m trying to eat healthier- she says, knowing that there is a tiramisu with her name on in the fridge) But there is definitely something wrong with people ma I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of this when I attended NYAlit fest earlier this year, and I’m embarrassed to say that this has been sitting on my TBR pile since then.I feel like novels like this are so important in this day and age, I’m definitely here for people losing weight if they want to (hell I have started going to the gym and I’m trying to eat healthier- she says, knowing that there is a tiramisu with her name on in the fridge) But there is definitely something wrong with people making you feel like you have to lose weight in order to be happy and go on dates.“It’s not my body that’s holding me back. I think it’s more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back”Emily was such a fun and sassy character- I loved her sense of style, would I be able to wear leopard print and feel confident? not a chance! but I adored how she would wear what she wanted to because she felt good in it.This could have so easily been a 5 star review, I found it so relatable, as much as I love my mum she does have a habit of making me second guess myself sometimes, much like Emily and her mother. I was glad when she stood up to her in the end, it was obvious that her mum didn’t mean any malice behind her actions- she just didn’t want Emily to feel the same way she does.Aside from Emily and her mother there doesn’t seem to be very much in terms of other character development, sure we find out that not everyone is falling to peer pressure and Emily isn’t the only virgin in her group of friends, but occasionally the other characters seemed pretty two dimensional.I really wanted to like Joe- I would have probably been in the same boat as Emily in regards to him, but teen boys are just not the way to go- instead of actually having a pretty kick ass girlfriend, he was more bothered about what his friends thought about him and the type of girl he was dating.The only thing that let this novel down was the ending- I feel like it could have ended on “An Emily who know’s what she’s worth” and it would have been perfect, she held her ground in front of the boy she liked when she realised he felt embarrassed to be around her because of her weight- bloody hell the speech she gave him gave me chills, that was empowerment! And she was ready to go into the new year as a new her, I just feel like adding a new potential romance right at the end killed the vibe.I can’t wait for this to be released in August- although I know that some people have been able to pick up early copies at YALC this year.If you are looking for a teen role model who is ALL ABOUT body positivity then Emily Daly is the one for you
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  • Sasha
    January 1, 1970
    Bethany Rutter's debut novel was a heartwarming and stand-out story about body positivity, friendship and first love. No Big Deal tells the story of Emily, a fat girl who loves her body - even when the world refuses too. This book was fun and easy to read, at the same time as telling an important and meaningful story, and I loved!One of my favourite things about this book was the main character, Emily. She's so enigmatic and she felt very relatable. She's such a fabulous girl with an awesome, re Bethany Rutter's debut novel was a heartwarming and stand-out story about body positivity, friendship and first love. No Big Deal tells the story of Emily, a fat girl who loves her body - even when the world refuses too. This book was fun and easy to read, at the same time as telling an important and meaningful story, and I loved!One of my favourite things about this book was the main character, Emily. She's so enigmatic and she felt very relatable. She's such a fabulous girl with an awesome, real personality. I really liked that though a central theme to the story is that Emily is very positive about her body, she still felt insecure about love and school, and other teenage stuff. Her character arc was awesome and told the important story of loving yourself first and foremost. Society definitely needs to hear her voice! The message this book sends is definitely an inspiring one, that I think a lot of people need to hear. It's empowering and important.‘It’s not my body that’s holding me back. I think it’s more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.’Another aspect of this book I really enjoyed was the relationship between the characters - the friendships, and the different dynamics between Emily and her friends, and between her and the love interest.I liked that this books had moments that made me sit and think, and others that made me laugh out loud, with the perfect balance of "important" and "fun" that contemporary books often need!The main issue I had with this book was its predictability - maybe it's just me, but I could see the story arc from beginning to end. It's still a good arc, but it felt very simple and generic for any book about love and self-acceptance. This didn't take away from how much I loved the characters though, so I still thoroughly enjoyed this book.I would definitely recommend No Big Deal, no matter your size, to fans of contemporary and books that send an important message to society, but are still fun and playful. Bethany's debut was a great read that definitely needs to shared!
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