You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

I ordered You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning from the Book Depository even before I read her debut novel Unsticky because I had a feeling I’d want to read the former as soon as I finished the latter. I was right! Good thing I didn’t have to wait too long for the book to arrive.

Here’s the summary from Sarra Manning’s website:

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?

Neve is a relatable character, with her love for the written word and her determination to trim down her weight. I always enjoy reading about bookworms in fiction and Neve’s literary passion is pretty obvious in the way she narrates and how she uses big words that people around her don’t understand. She also rereads old favorites when she wants to be comforted and I’m sure that’s something many of us do. So many girls will also be able to relate with her struggle to shed off pounds. I sure did! I’m too lazy to exercise properly and I love to eat and I know it doesn’t work but I keep hoping that wishful thinking will enable me to lose weight. I should be inspired by Neve and her constant vigilance when it comes to staying fit. She’s just like Vaughn in Unsticky – in fact, they share the same trainer, Gustav. And Neve’s sister Celia works in the same magazine as Grace. So there are glimpses of the two main characters from Unsticky in this one. Max, the male lead in this novel, also works in the same magazine as an editor. Neve and Max are total opposites and at first glance, they don’t have anything in common. But they find out that they get along well so they agree to try having a practice relationship. Practice for Neve for when her true love, William, comes back and practice for Max because he’s never been in a committed relationship.

I’m becoming fond of lengthy women’s fiction novels because there’s more room for character growth and development. Readers find out more details about the characters and see them slowly get to know each other instead of being instantly attracted. Months occur in these novels and there’s enough time for the characters to pick apart each other and discover what makes the other person tick. Sarra Manning does these things and more in her two adult novels. I love that her characters, like Neve and Max in You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me aren’t perfect and they have to work around those imperfections to build a solid relationship. Just like Neve, Max has his own issues and I found it hilarious that even his dog, Keith, had problems. I didn’t even notice the length of the novel and consumed it as fast as I could. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is different from Unsticky because it’s not as dark and edgy but I enjoyed reading this just as much. When it comes to her adult books, Sarra Manning has now made it to my auto-buy list and I can’t wait for her next novel. In the meantime, I’ll check out her YA books to see if they are as good as their adult counterparts.

Other reviews:
Janicu’s Book Blog
About Happy Books
Judging Covers
Fluttering Butterflies


19 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

  1. I felt the same way – different kind of book, but just as addictive reading as UNSTICKY. (And I loved Max’s dog! ) — Manning’s adult novels are on the autobuy list now.

    • Keith’s hang-ups were hilarious! Max had to bring more of Keith’s stuff than his own for the sleepover. I really love Manning’s adult novels and I’d want to read more books like them.

  2. Woho, I’m so happy that you enjoyed the book and I agree with everything you said.

    My favourite from Sarra Manning’s young adult novels is “Let’s get lost”. And btw, her next adult novel will have 576 pages 🙂 Just as you I love the length of her books so I was very happy when I saw that her next book will be as long as her two other ones.

    • Oooh I have a copy of Let’s Get Lost in my TBR pile! It’s the only Sarra Manning YA that I have. Good to know that it’s your favorite out of all of her YA books. 🙂 Sarra Manning said on Twitter that her next adult novel will be called 9 Uses For An Ex-Boyfriend and it will be released on February 2 next year. Can’t wait!

  3. I haven’t read this author before, but this book sounds very cute. Will have to keep an eye out for Sarra Manning’s books.
    I’m happy too when a favorite author writes longer books. Lovely review.

    • Hope you get to read her books soon! She has some YA books as well if you’re more interested in those although they’re probably a lot shorter than her adult ones.

  4. I didn’t realize Grace and Vaughn (and Gustav) makes cameos in this one! I love it when authors do that. This one has been on my wishlist since I read UNSTICKY, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I cave and buy it too 😉

    • Michelle, you’ve read Unsticky! Are you planning to post a review of that on your blog? Grace and Vaughn appear in some scenes in this one and it was interesting to see what other people thought of them but I wish there were more scenes that included them!

      • Yep, I did read it and loved it. it was one of those pleasure reads right after I had the baby 😉 I intend to review it eventually, I am just a major slacker these days..

      • Yay, good to know that you loved it! It was surprisingly easy to read in spite of its length. So glad Angie decided to review it so know we’re all aware of what a great read it is. I should’ve mentioned in my review that I want to read more books like this so I could ask for more recommendations.

  5. I saw this book mentioned on Angieville awhile ago and promptly forgot about it, even though it sounded good. Now that you’ve reviewed it, I’m glad to be reminded about it! I’ll see if I can get it on the Kindle.

    • It was Angie who first got me to read Sarra Manning’s Unsticky and then I had to read this companion novel as soon as I finished that one. They’re UK books so you can get the Kindle editions from Amazon UK.

  6. I really liked Neve and Max too. 🙂 Hopefully I’ll get around to reviewing this sometime. I’m with you on the length – I love that there’s so much room for character development. Sarra Manning’s novel’s seem to be their own brand of chicklit/contemporary romance. It’s very refreshing. She’s definitely made my auto-buy list as well and I can’t wait for her next novel. Thanks for sharing the title and date. 🙂

    I also want to try Manning’s YA, but I’m worried I won’t like it as much. In fact I was talking to Angie the other day about this and we couldn’t think of any author’s YA and adult that we liked equally. Can you think of anyone?

    • Holly, I hope you get to review it soon! It’s good to spread the word about Sarra Manning’s adult novels so more people would get to read them. Yep, I’m really lengthy contemporary romances like this. Can’t wait for the next novel too! I hope we find out what the premise is soon.

      Hmm you have a point there, I can’t think of any author with YA and adult titles that are equally amazing. I already have a copy of Let’s Get Lost so I’m definitely going to read that. And I remember that Ari of Emily and Her Little Pink Notes loves Manning’s YA.

  7. Pingback: Want Books: Contemporary Romance with Depth « Chachic's Book Nook

  8. i like the idea of this not being as dark and edgy (my fave books always seem to be lighter in feel and content)

    i really want to read this now ~ just based on your review ~ your job here is done, LOL

    • “your job here is done, LOL”

      LOL it really is when someone says that they want to read a book based on my review! I feel so happy when that happens although I’m also worried that people won’t like the books that I recommend as much as I did.

    • Maybe they’re not available in the US because they’re UK editions? I ordered my copy from the Book Depository. Yay, so glad you find my reviews helpful. 😀

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