“It’s not my body that’s holding me back. It’s more of a problem that people keep telling me it should.
“Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious 17-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.”
I was pulled in right from the opening scene of No Big Deal. The particular predicament that main character Emily was in is something that I have experienced several times and it just made me relate to her from the get-go.
The topic of body image is obviously explored a lot in No Big Deal and Emily’s attitude towards being larger is something that a lot of young girls and boys could aspire to emulate. The fact that Emily loves her body and is comfortable in her skin is just so inspirational and I wish I had had her confidence when I was growing up. She’s sassy, she’s bold and she sticks to what she believes in. I found myself relating to her a lot; in fact, she’s probably one of the most relatable characters I have encountered in YA for a long while.
Whilst reading I also found myself experiencing many emotions. I was laughing one minute, crying the next, then shouting in anger after that. It took me on a journey of ups and downs, but it was one that I loved being on. The ending was incredible and I found myself applauding Emily for what she ended up doing. She stuck up for herself and did what she wanted and that is so admirable.
No Big Deal is a great feminist read. It brings the topic of body image and body positivity to the forefront of your mind, and it certainly made me think twice about how I feel about my own body. For a debut YA novel it is fabulous, and I do hope Bethany continues writing about this topic as this book really shows how passionate she is about it.