When someone spray-paints FAGGOT on the car of Janice Green's favorite teacher, her community is thrown into turmoil. To Janice, Mr. Padovano's being gay is no more important than having brown hair, but to Janice's fearful mom, Mr. P is a threat, and to Janice's nemesis, Kevin Lynch, he's a daily reminder of a painful reality in his own life. First published in 1994 by Lodestar Books and reissued in paperback by Puffin Books in February 1997 (under Ellen's former name, Ellen Jaffe McClain), No Big Deal gives a smart, funny 9th-grade misfit a distinctive voice as it explores an issue that has grabbed headlines around the nation.
Critical praise for No Big Deal: “Fast-moving ... captivating ... a sensitive book that gets right to the heart of a timely issue.” — School Library Journal
“McClain makes a deft debut with this thought-provoking, timely novel. . . . [She] handles the various reactions to Mr. P’s homosexuality and, especially, the antagonistic relationship between Janice and Kevin with an astute eye and sharp sense of humor. Her multifaceted characters go well beyond the categories of good and bad to show that appearances can be deceiving.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Janice is a strong character with whom many kids, especially those who’ve been teased, will identify readily, and her love-hate relationship with Kevin is one of the best things about the book. . . . McClain is to be commended for making Mr. P good but not perfect — in other words, a believable human being. . . . [She] has accomplished her purpose with a minimum of preaching, which is often a difficult feat for a first novelist with a strong message.” — Lambda Book Report