I received a free copy of this book in return for a review.
Blurb: It’s not my body that’s holding me back. It’s the people that keep telling me it should. Emily knows she’s smart. Emily knows she’s funny. Emily knows she’s awesome. Emily knows she’s fat. She doesn’t need anyone to tell her any of these things – she likes herself and she likes her body. She just thinks it’s time everyone else caught up. With a newly slim bestie, a mum knee-deep in fad diets, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to be her true self. But when she meets gorgeous Joe, things start to change. Somehow, she’s going to have to convince everyone, and herself, that it’s all no big deal.
Title: No Big Deal
Author: Bethany Rutter
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books, an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Genre: Fiction, YA, Romance, Contemporary
This book follows confident Emily during her last year of school as the pressure to be thin creeps ever closer. Her best friend comes back from the summer holidays having lost weight and now being interested in boys and Emily can’t help but wonder if her lack of romance is because no one finds her attractive.
For anyone who’s ever struggled with their weight and society’s expectation of what you should look like, Emily is most definitely a relatable character. She’s fierce and confident and I love that she’s become a figurehead in my mind of body positivity and loving yourself. It broke my heart watching this confident young woman begin to question her worth based on her weight. Isn’t it funny how we’re so hard on ourselves but usually more understanding and sympathetic of the plight of our friends? This was my favourite thing about this book as it made it so much easier to connect to the story and the characters. I also really enjoyed the tone that Rutter writes in, offering humour and sass, making the narrative fairly upbeat and moving at a good pace. The postitive message of this book, coming from multiple characters, was brilliant and offer a comforting word to any readers struggling with the same things as Emily. Not only body positivity, but also consent and fad diet culture, this book truly spreads the message of looking after yourself and standing up when things aren’t right. Sidenote and (SPOILER ALERT): I also LOVED that Joe didn’t get some stupid redemption ark at the end – we should never accept less than we deserve and Rutter really drives that point home here!
As for what I disliked about this book, there wasn’t anything huge. This was an enjoyable read but the end let me down very slightly. I adored Emily’s speech to Joe at the party and that she was putting herself first but the last minute addition of a new love interest at the end was a bit meh. I understand that this is to potentially display the message that not all relationships (and people) are the same which I agree with but I was so happy that Emily was a strong independent woman living for herself that all I could think was, is this situation that’s just been resolved going to happen again? Definitely doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story but just a personal niggle.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a healthy dose of body positivity with their reading, particularly with a proudly plus-size main character who knows she’s amazing, no matter how much she weighs.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Is it now on your TBR? I’d love to know!