Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning
Publisher: Corgi
Publication date: 3rd February 2011
My rating: 4 stars

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?(

Manning’s You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is chick lit at its best. It was a book which reminded me why chick lit books were the only ones I used to devour; with its funny witty characters, predictable plot ending which I didn’t care about as I was having too much fun. It was a book which left a smile on my face and with warm fuzzies as it was such a feel good read. 

Neve has known William her student advisor has always been the one, he gets her enthusiasm about literary authors and has always been the guy that she can have proper conversations with. But William takes up an offer as a professor in California for three years. Neve takes this and another major event in her life as the wake-up call to lose weight; she used to be a size 32 but decides to become a size 10 by the time William gets back. Her sister Celia suggests Neve also needs some relationship experience which will help to build her confidence before William gets back and so tries to set her up with some guys from work. This alongside internet dating ends up being a huge failure, but then when Neve ends up going home with Celia’s editor Max, the work Casanova, they both end up getting more than what they bargained for. 

Max at the beginning was a complete arse, he was a guy know for his reputation with the ladies, always known to be with a new one every single night and so that’s why Celia warned Neve against being with him as she didn’t want her sister being used for one night and then flung out to dry. But Neve and Max came to a compromise, they decided to have a “pancake relationship”; a fake relationship where they get to have a lot of fun but also have a bunch of rules in place to remind them it’s just a pancake relationship, it’s not like they have a lot in common anyway, and it’s only so that Neve can get the experience she needs before William gets back.

Like Neve I was always constantly thinking over their time together what was in it for Max? He could get any girl that he wanted, but he decided to take Neve to all of his magazine events in the evening and when making his way around the room making sure Neve was part of the conversations too. Neve had self-esteem issues because of her weight, so Max did everything he could to help her. Mid-way through this book I didn’t really care why Max agreed in the first place to this pancake relationship, as it was clearly obvious that their relationship was quickly moving beyond the pancake stage. The time Max spent with Neve was clearly having a great effect on his character, the cocky player was soon disappearing and in its place was a charming considerate funny guy. I loved how he could make Neve feel so confident in herself too, how quick he was to cheer her up when she started having self-doubts. Max definitely won me over by the course of this book. 

William where do I even start with this guy? I could see why Neve thought he was the one; he was her intellectual equal and always expected much more of her. But through their phone conversations and letters, he came across as a bit self-absorbed and patronising. I’m glad that Neve decided to have some fun with Max as he definitely showed her what a good time was instead of being cooped up in the British library double checking references for William. 

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me was a book that took me by surprise, because it was a book that I ended up in buying in the moment, leaving on my shelf unread for ages and then not being able to put it down once I started it. This book was another example of why I’m such a bad read-along partner, as I finished it days ahead of everyone else. I hugely recommend picking up You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me when you’re looking for a perfect rainy day comfort read, it has some great swoony scenes; it’s laced with the perfect amount of humour and will leave you with a warm glowing feeling for the rest of the day.


  1. This is the first time I've heard of the term pancake relationship. Yay, I learned something new today!

    Like Neve, I too am insecure. It's wonderful that she found Max. I'd want to find someone (but not too soon) who will bring out the best in me. As well as make me feel beautiful. Teehee~

    Great review, Jasprit!

  2. How have I not heard of this book before?! This sounds like such a great book w/a fun story and a great message. Max sounds awesome! I've always been a huge lover of chick lit, too, Jasprit.
    Great review!

  3. Awww! This sounds totally like my kind of book, Jasprit! I need to meet this Max. I love that he supports her through her weight issues. That right there is the sign of an awesome guy, totally boyfriend material. You know how much I love chick-lit too. So, I'm totally going to get this book, Jasprit. I hadn't heard of it before, so thank you so much for reviewing it on the blog.
    Fab review,Jasprit! :)

  4. This sounds so cute Jasprit! The cover is so soft and pretty, it makes me immediately want to go out and buy it so I can start at it on my shelf. And I never get tired of the "fake romance" setup where people enter into it as part of a charade or a game or whatever, and then it develops into something else. So. Much. Win. Fantastic review!

  5. Fun and witty sounds like a winner to me. The fake romance is such a good one when it develops so much.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  6. Aw, this sounds cute. I really liked ADORKABLE, so I definitely want to read more Sarra Manning at some point. I didn't realize this author wrote adult fiction too, thanks for the review!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  7. The blurb sucked me in and your review has cemented it. This book needs to be in my life now :D
    Fake romances are my favourite because they normally involve a lot of Squee moments.
    Fab review, Jasprit!!!

  8. I can see why this would be a perfect rainy day read. I read this one a long time ago and maybe it was the wrong timing, but I didn't like it as much. Though I loved Max, it was Neve who really frustrated me with her insecurities. I still think I would enjoy it more if I read it again. We'll see :)
    Wonderful review, Jasprit!

  9. Aww this sounds like such a fun book! definitely perfect fora change of pace from the usual darker books I usually read and I do love a good chick lit that just makes you feel good you know! Plus all these characters sound like they have so much charisma! Also I'd never heard of "pancake relationship" before O_O lol

    Great review, muffin! :)

  10. Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jasprit! It was such a quick read and I really loved the romance. I did have a few qualms with it, but I am itching to get my hands on another Manning novel soon! :D

  11. From reading your review, I think I'll like Max. He sounds so charming! Thanks for introducing me to the book :)

  12. I just read another review of this on the weekend and like with that one, yours has put the song of the same title in my head!

    I'm really keen to read this, now esp. as I feel like some more adult fic in my life!

  13. I loved your review Jasprit! I, like yourself, picked this one up and then left it on the shelf for ages! After reading your review I'll definitely have to get to it soon :)

  14. I think that this is one of the only Sarra Manning book I haven't read - but your review has prompted me to bug the three local county libraries to get a copy. I think I need something a little more up-beat than my current reads.


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