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You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra…
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You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

by Sarra Manning, Sarra Manning

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Sweet, that is the perfect word to describe this story...

So, so, sweet.

A young woman named Neve has struggled her whole life with her weight and loneliness, so much in fact that she decided to do whatever was in her power to change her life around and get the man of her dreams to fall madly in love with her. He is away in California and has been for the past three years. She lost weight, she feels a bit better about herself and the only thing that is still an unmarked territory is....relationships....

She never had one, and needs to get some experience pronto!

She meets Max at a party and has a disastrous one night stand that leaves her more bummed about her future then anything.

Neve needs a trial relationship to get any insight on how things work. Max needs a trial relationship to get to the bottom of his man-whoreness.

They strike a deal, the rest is history. ( )
  IvieHill | Aug 6, 2015 |
I skipped so many paragraphs while reading this book. I felt no interest whatsoever about Neve's friends or work. But when Max was on the scene, it was just perfect *_*. ( )
  Inessova | Mar 28, 2015 |
Read reviews and more at The Beautiful World of Books!

"What you look like is just one part of who you are - but it's not all you are."

Before I begin waxing poetic on the wonderfulness this book is, I have a few bones to pick and a rating to explain.

When I was eight years old, I bordered on anorexic. When I turned eleven, I was overweight. By thirteen, I was back to squeezing into my eleven year old sister's jeans, and when I turned sixteen, I was overweight again. I am now twenty, and even though I'd love to be able to squeeze back into a size eight/ten (UK size), I don't let the obsession of my looks and my body get the best of me.

Because I'm not fat.

I'm not saying that to sound big-headed or give myself an ego boost, I really am not fat. After my car accident, I gained the pounds because I couldn't move and I have NEVER been happier. I know that once my body is ready, I can hit the gym and exercise healthily, I know I can stuff my face with greasy Chinese takeaway every once in a while and I just need to be careful of how much bad stuff I eat.

Because fatty foods (crisps, chocolate, takeaway, McDonalds) aren't just dangerous because they make you fat, but they have an awful, terrible impact on your health. It's like that with all foods, though. Too much sugar, you're facing diabetes. Too LITTLE sugar, and you're on even more dangerous territory when you begin dealing with hypoglycaemia which isn't JUST a side effect to being treated for diabetes, so don't be fooled.

My point is, I know how Neve felt in the book, and Neve had every right to be obsessed about her weight. She was a size 32 when she was barely 21 and it ruled her life. My second point is, do not obsess over it. It's YOUR body and if you don't love your body, how do you expect anyone else too? Don't think that "just losing a couple of pounds" will bring you great things in life (in most cases a boyfriend, a glamorous job, whatever) because it won't. Fact of the matter is, if you don't believe in yourself and you don't love yourself, no one else will either.

The issues dealt within [b:You Don't Have to Say You Love me|8471815|You Don't Have to Say You Love Me|Sarra Manning|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1296530574s/8471815.jpg|13336502] are very real and they're issues that women obsess about every day. You are never going to look like the model on a bikini advert, and you know why?

Because that woman is covered in stretch marks, leftover skin and cellulite, too. The art of photoshop really is glorious, ladies.

And just to prove my point:

Kelly Clarkson:



Beyonce:



And I want you to read this article and watch those videos and tell me that those people are "perfect" before photoshop. I dare you.

The major problem I had with Neve in this book is how she wouldn't see any positives at any given time and she did not know when to quit. There's dieting and exercise and then there's being an obsessive workout freak who instead of looking at the fact she dropped six dress sizes in two years, moaned and groaned about the leftover skin. Even when she found the most glorious, perfect, gorgeous man Max, who didn't give to fucks about how she looked naked, she still managed to screw everything up with her insecurities and determination that he "wasn't the one" because "the one" was William, her phantom boyfriend who lived in LA, whom she hadn't seen in three years and whom she'd began dieting and slimming down for in the first place.

And you know what bugs me? Phantom boyfriends. SO many issues could've been resolved in half the time if Manning hadn't given Neve a long distance love interest, especially since we all know that Max and Neve would end up together, regardless if William suddenly showed up with 24 roses in every colour of the rainbow and a diamond ring as big as my head. It wasn't going to happen, because even though Max is the "here and now" and William was "the future", EVERYONE knows that Max is really the "here, now, future and whatever other tense you want to throw in there".

And there were literally pages and pages and pages of self deprecation that made me want to slap the silly bitch. I get that you used to be morbidly obese, but Jesus Christ, you're not any more! Grow some balls and stop worrying about shit that doesn't exist!

Not to mention how self involved, narcissistic, depressing and hypocritical Neve was.

"If Shelly's the kind of woman you prefer, then there's really not much point in either of us continuing this little charade," she told Max coldly. "I'd hate to think that all the time you were with me, you were wishing you were with some other girl who--"
"You've got a fucking nerve!" Never had never heard Max sound so angry and she really didn't like it. He turned to her. His face was pinched and tight, eyes blazing with sudden fury. "The whole point of "this little charade" is because you're in love with some guy on the other side of the world, in case you'd forgotten!"


I'm so sorry but if I had someone as wonderful as Max by my side, I'd dump my phantom boyfriend and run into the sunset with him. Not only is he hot, but he's also sweet, kind and caring:

"William would never shove the word WAG into pop songs to make me laugh and he wouldn't bite the chocolate off chocolate-covered strawberries for me and he'd never, ever watch a film with Sandra Bullock in it... he'd never go down on me for half an hour beacause he'd lost a game of Scrabble."

So yeah, you can say I spent a lot of my time growling at Neve through clenched teeth, trying desperately to not lose my temper whenever she pulled another self-centred, arrogant move on Max and every time she made the boy go through hell because it "wasn't a real relationship", but the book was actually an eye opener and I would definitely recommend it to every girl I meet.

It doesn't matter what you think you look like or how much you weight. All that matters is that you love yourself, because the day you start loving yourself is the day people will love you, too.
( )
  Aly_Locatelli | Jan 26, 2015 |
I took my sweet, sweet time with this because it was so wonderful. I ~think I haven't read Sarra Manning before, but somehow I had high expectations which were not only met but exceeded!

Amazing writing, great chemistry between Max and Neve - wonderful, realistic, lovable characters that you really get to know and love inside and out - and I'm not only talking about Neve, but you get to know Max so good as if the author wrote the book from his POV as well! The story grips you from the very beginning and really, I thought they were doomed because of the way how things started between them.

Neve has so many body image issues (understandably) but not in an annoying way that I usually find these heroines to be. While she does wallow in self-pity and has a bit of a problem with instant-gratification, she is determined to reach her goal and finally find that happy place even if at first she has this huge misconception of what happiness should be for her. Actually, my heart was breaking for her every time she would talk in such a condescending way about herself, or let Charlotte get to her!

And Max...where do I even begin? I loved him - everything I thought he would do, everything I usually expect in a book like this from the hero, he did something completely different and I loved that so much because he kept surprising me. He never really gives up on her, even when she was at her lowest (or meanest. Or stupidest.) The author completely makes you change your opinion on him from their first encounter by the end.

The book spans over a time period of five months and this was great, there's none of that insta-love nonsense which makes it believable.

I have to say I'm glad I gave this a chance. It's not very chick-lit-y, in my opinion it's not as light as I like them to be. There are a couple of graphic sex scenes (that are actually awesome!) so be warned if you like your chick-lit clean. Overall, a wonderful book which I would recommend everyone read! ( )
1 vote AriBookzilla | Sep 21, 2013 |
I wanted to love this book, I really did and I think my desperation to love it made me stick it out when I think, a lot of times, the frustration I felt would have caused me to abandon it for a few days. The premise is promising - a twenty something woman (Neve) is reinventing herself after losing a substantial amount of weight in preparation for her 'the one' (William) coming back into the country. He, unaware that she is literally half the woman she was when he seen her last, will then fall head over heels in love with her, they will go off and live Happily Ever After - The End. Of course, in order to be ready for the whirlwind which will be 'the One...yada yada yada...The End' she has to have experience in dating so she knows how to act in a relationship. Thus, Neve ends up seeking a 'pancake' boyfriend (you throw the first pancake away, hence the analogy. Yes, I don't throw the first pancake away either but apparently, everyone else does so it kinda works...) and happens to find one in Max, her sister's boss who is a rampant womaniser and is only too eager to impart his knowledge to Neve.

So far, so great right? You'd think so...we have the awkward first meeting (and beyond awkward first sexual encounter), the friendship, the misunderstanding, the awakened feelings, the increased intimacy both physically and emotionally, the looming spectre of the 'pancake' being thrown away, the spectre of William, the inevitable breakup etc etc...it should be the perfect chicklit? Should be, but isn't and I feel like a traitor by saying this, but it is entirely because the main female character continually ruins everything.

Now Neve is not as abhorrent as other female protagonists in the genre this year (I'm looking at you, [b:The Girls' Guide to Homemaking|9745639|The Girls' Guide to Homemaking|Amy Bratley|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SHNTKnJfL._SL75_.jpg|14634796] ), but for large parts of the book I alternated between wanting to strangle her and wanting to scream at her to just shut up because she was killing my happy buzz while reading the book, so Lord knows what she was doing to the actual characters. She is a character that should have been easy to root for - she's struggling with her self-esteem, an unrequited 'love', food issues etc but for 90% of the book it was just self-involved, self-centred, self-deprecating 'me, me, me and what about me?' rubbish. I didn't need to hear about her obsession with food constantly, or hear her talk about the mythical 'size 10' goal constantly, and I certainly didn't need to hear her bitch and blame Max because she'd put on five pounds, and then find out about the rapid detox that involved colonic irrigation and not eating solids for three weeks. (Did you know you could lose 10 pounds via colonic irrigation? Neither did I but that's the kind of information that we learn...a little TMI to be honest.) I should have felt sympathy for her, and I admit, occasionally I did but it was so fleeting that I started to wonder how anyone could bear to be around her for an extended period of time? The one time I really liked her was when she was happy with Max - we got a couple of blissful chapters where food was hardly mentioned and it was great. In fairness to the author - she does have Neve's sister Celia voice what I'm sure everyone will be thinking near the end when she tells her how she's been behaving, but after 500 pages, it was a little too late.

I loved Max, and although he was a bit slow on the uptake (her hints at wanting to un-pancake the relationship were missed) I had a lot of sympathy for him. He didn't get into the arrangement for altruistic reasons but he stayed, accepted her and cared for her, no matter what. Their relationship worked really well - they were coming from very different areas, but were in the same place emotionally and helped each other progress. He made swifter progress than she did, and that perhaps made her issues more frustrating as he did everything he could to get her to a place where she could just relax and have fun and smile without the spectre of weight/size hanging over her because he accepted her for who she was, even when most sane thinking people would have ditched her ages ago. He didn't handle the break-up particularly well, and their later fight had them both being a little cruel to each other (although I agreed with every word that he said incidentally - it was a hard truth, but still a truth) but I think the fact that it was a little ugly when it went wrong made it feel more realistic. Unlike the fake relationships (Neve's with Will, Max's with...well, everyone) this one hurt - it brought out the best and the worst and for that it was easy to invest in it. Even the scene at the end, although a little convenient (I don't mind convenient though) was perfect for them. It worked and it made you smile.

Some plot points weren't necessary - Neve's brother marrying her High School bully and the bully continuing her reign of terror using the same stick (her weight) even when it wasn't an issue was a bit...obvious but other ones (the WAG wedding party, Gustav, Neve's relationship with her dad) were a lot of fun/interesting.

All in all, I don't really know what I thought of this. If I could mute Neve for 70% of the book (she whined for 90% of it - but I could have put up with some of her issues, just not all the time), it would have been an easy 5 stars but as it was, wanting to strangle her did dampen my enthusiasm. It's a decent enough read and I can imagine going back and re-reading it one day, but for now, I can't help but be a little disappointed. Sure, it's nice to have dimensional characters with flaws and realistic issues - but I don't want to read 500 pages of issues for -50 pages of non-issues.

The balance was just a bit off and maybe on the re-read it won't bother me that much, but reading through it for the first time, every time Neve mentioned her weight, her size, food, I wanted to throw things at her until she, finally, got it through her thick skull right at the end of the book. Instead of feeling pleased that she finally had her Eureka moment though, I was silently calling her names for being so slow on the uptake and I'm usually overly sympathetic as well, which is what surprises me. She was just so frustrating because when she wasn't obsessing, she was a good character with a good back story and she was a nice person. Sadly, it was sometimes hard to remember that because you knew she was only ever a few pages away from obsession again. She should have been easy to like and admire but by the time she finally got it together and realised how unhealthy her obsession had gotten, I was so tired of her behaviour that had got worse as the book progressed that even though I was pleased for her, I couldn't really be happy for her. At least she admitted she had issues, but still...too little, too late.

I think if you can deal with her that it's worth a read - as chicklit storylines go, it really is a good one. ( )
  sunnycouger | Sep 20, 2013 |
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Neve could feel her knickers and tights make a bid for freedom as soon as she sat down.
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Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her. So she's not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she'd better get some, well, experience. What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia's colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he's such a man-slut, and so not Neve's type, she certainly won't fall for him. Because William is the man for her...right? Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve's lost her heart - but to who?… (more)

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