No Big Deal tells the story of Emily, a fat teenager who is perfectly happy with her body, thank you very much. With a mum signing up to new fad diets every week, and friends who appear to be having grown-up sexual relationships, Emily faces the constant battle to stay strong and not conform to society’s idealistic image of a young woman. Can she remain the strong feminist (with a great sense of style) that she is and retain her identity as a happy fat girl?
Written by Bethany Rutter, aka one of the coolest people we've ever had the pleasure of knowing, No Big Deal was bought by Editorial Director Rachel Petty in a pre-empt from Siobhan O'Neill at WME. Bethany Rutter is a journalist and blogger who writes about fat bodies, plus-size fashion and body positivity. She works in marketing at a plus size fashion brand, but is also a podcaster, DJ and occasional agony aunt for a website aimed at young LGBT people. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, Telegraph Magazine, Dazed, RedOnline, The Debrief and others.
Bethany said: "Even though it's been 10 years, stuff that happened to me when I was a teenager has never really left me. I always felt like I stood out so much because of my body, and I made decisions and accepted things that I shouldn't have done. Looking back, a range of stories that represent fat teenage girls would have made me feel less alone, which is why I want to contribute even one story- this story- to that. I wrote No Big Deal so I could faithfully record some of the highs and lows of being a fat teen girl, and I hope that people (fat or thin, male, female, both, neither, teenage or otherwise) can find something to identify with in this story of romance and anxiety and family dynamics and friendship. It feels like we talk about 'body positivity' a lot now, and I wanted to write something that specifically reflected the weird experience of being a fat teen and hopefully that will resonate with the people who need it, and enable them to feel more positively about their fat body, or reassure them that they're right if they already feel good about it."
Rachel said: "I've been aware of Bethany online for a while, and I found the way she spoke up about issues surrounding fat shaming and body positivity really inspiring. When we met and she told me she had an idea for a YA novel, I couldn't believe my luck! What she came up with is completely brilliant - I knew she was smart and funny, but she's also an absolutely fantastic writer. No Big Deal is the perfect book for any teenager who feels uncomfortable in their own skin, as well as those who don't, but live in a society that keeps telling them they should be."
We'll have lots more to tell you about No Big Deal soon, but for now you can follow Bethany on Twitter here.