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 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.
This is NOT an own voices review – I just want to start off by saying: I am not fat/plus-sized; therefore, I cannot relate on a personal level to Emily in that sense. I can only give my opinion on the way things come across.
It’s YA contemporary – Super quick and easy to read; you can fly through it in an afternoon. It’s easy to stay engaged with the story and I did find myself wanting to read on. The book definitely got better as it went on; at the beginning, I didn’t know whether I’d like it or not. The plot is engaging and interesting, I was instantly invested in the story and I wasn’t bored during it at all.
Emily, the main character, isn’t someone I instantly took to. She had some decent development and grew on me by the end. She’s still by no means one of my favourites, she was just okay. Her friendships were nice, I liked the dynamic between the characters. It all felt realistic and relatable and not forced at all.
The romance – a little predictable, as most YA romances are. But it wasn’t cringy, the thing I struggle most with in YA contemporary is secondhand embarrassment – I hate OTT cheesy romances but this one wasn’t!
I liked the ending though, in regards to the romance, without going into spoilers: GOOD FOR EMILY!!
At the start, Emily does a lot of telling that she is happy and accepts herself but it rarely shows.
About her friend’s weight loss – ‘There was a lot less of her to hug back.’ – It makes Emily seem insecure, from the fact she has to comment on it in a negative way. Just because she doesn’t want to lose weight and change herself doesn’t mean everyone feels the same. (That being said, she is a teenager and I can understand her frustration/self-doubt)
Love interest – Emily is worried about boys finding her unattractive because she is fat.
‘crushing despair at how much more difficult the whole thing is going to be because of… well…this body […]’ – this to me isn’t someone who confident and comfortable in themselves. Why would someone who’s happy being fat think it was a problem being fat when dating/meeting boys? I just think this part was a little unnecessary.
Emily DOES get so much better throughout the book though. Eventually, becoming more confident in herself and not allowing her body hold her back. I like the fact Emily doesn’t conform and resists changing! I think the overall message of the book is really good; it is nice to see a plus-size/fat main character – especially a teenage one. I think all kinds of diversity and representation is important. It’s refreshing to read about and important that everyone can find themselves in represented in books!
I also think Emily’s mum’s story/struggles was really well done. It shows how insecurity/self-hate can follow you throughout your life and how never learning to love yourself can have a real impact on your life, happiness and your kids.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
*Thank you to MacMillan Children’s Book for providing me with a copy of No Big Deal to review. All opinions are my own.