You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me
A very good read, with fantastic writing and extensive character development, and at 555 pages (!!!) I really feel like I got to know them well. But at 555 pages, it took me a few days to finish it, with a few stops and starts along the way as I went (especially between 30% and 45%… it was still good, but lagged somewhat at that point). I’m a fairly fast reader, but unless a book has me on the edge of my seat and I simply can’t put it down, a book of this length will take me some time. While it didn’t have me hooked to that extent, I was certainly in for the long haul, and by 50% I was good to go the rest of the way.
I could tell that I would very likely end up loving it (especially if these recommendations are anything to go by. :)):
Cece: Just finished Sarra Mannings “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”! I actually think I liked it better than Unsticky. It is set around the same place/people. I won’t be able to play a game of scrabble again without thinking of Max!
Libby: God I love “Unsticky” and “You Don’t Have To Say You Love” Me by Sarra Manning. They were both fabulous. I even read Adorkable which is a YA book because I love the author so much. Wish she would write more adult fiction. I also wish I could find more books like these.
Lengthy or not… it was well worth it. If you’re in the mood for a nice long read with moments of quirky humor, sweetness, realistic angst and romance, but not on a roller-coaster-ride level, this is for you. Oh… and it does get steamy. Not erotica steamy, but certainly steamy enough for me. *blush*
But it’s the life lesson that stands out the most. When I think about where the main character started, all the way through to the end of the book, I really do feel like I went on a personal journey of self-discovery with her and I’m thrilled at where it took us. What an incredible, wonderful difference, and all of it was just… right.
So lifelike in detail, from her own self-image and body issues to her interactions with her family, her work peers and… Max.
You see, Neve was once obese and lost most of it with the help of a trainer (and her own strength and self-determination). But she still suffers from self-deprecating thoughts. From her innate tendency to still cower from her childhood bully turned sister-in-law (GAH!!) to her fear of rejection, to her plans of wowing her best friend, William, into one day… falling in love with her. Neve has plans for a “new her” but her past and her insecurities continue to haunt her. Stifle her.
And that’s where Max comes in.
Max wasn’t a cad. A cad would never treat a woman quite so badly. Max was simply, the lowest of the low. Exactly the same as those well-bred, boorish boys at Oxford who’d only ever noticed Never when they wanted to have a cheap laugh at her expense.
He’s an obnoxious, known womanizer that works with Neve’s pretty sister and haphazardly sets his sights on Neve one night at a company party. Despite pretty much ignoring her that evening (preoccupied with his usual bevy of girls on his arm) he ends up following Neve home.
… when Max smiled back at her she could understand why the Skirt girls forgave him for being such an obnoxious flirt. It was a suggestive smile that stopped just short of being leer, and when it was aimed in Neve’s direction, it made her feel as if she was sexy and desirable and worthy of it. In fact, it was such a good smile that Neve was powerless to resist its potent charm. “Come on, then,” she said.
What a great start to the book! I could absolutely feel her desire to crawl into a hole and hide at times…
She stared at a spot on the rug where she hoped a handy vortex would open and swallow her up. Alas, those handy vortices never appeared when you really needed them…
Her shyness and insecurities palatable. Her embarrassment when men at the party would overlook her…
Neve was already talking to Martyn’s back. Now that she knew she was boring and physically repulsive, even to a man who did spellchecking for a living, there was no harm in standing up and giving her knickers a good yank.
… and her disgust with the flirty promiscuous Max.
“Max eye-f@&ks everyone,” Celia said nonchalantly.
“He’s our Editor-at-Large, he’s a complete slut and he is not, repeat not, the kind of man to practise your light flirtation skills on, Neevy. He’ll eat you up for breakfast and still have room for a full English afterwards.”
From her initial awkward party interactions to finding herself wrapped up in that very good looking… “cad” 😉 at the end of the night. I was excited!!
And then… things went south. And I knew I was in!
I thoroughly enjoyed their tentative friendship that had no choice but to to develop into something more considering the “deal” they made. Max would teach Neve how to be in a relationship, so when William came home from California, she’d be ready for him. She could finally win him over. But both learn many new and unexpected things along the way, which turns this sweet, “sort of predictable” storyline into much more.
… she felt like she was getting a glimpse of the real Max that was buried so deep beneath the glitter and the free champagne and the air kisses, the she hadn’t realised he existed.
They are just tooooo cute at times!!!! I truly loved them.
And you know what? Max is AWESOME. *heart* If I had experienced just a bit more intensity and adrenaline in this one, I might have really bonded, and totally fallen for him. He could easily be one of my #1 heroes, but because of the slower pace and the lighter romantic feel, it didn’t turn me inside-out (which is usually what I need to fall into that love-fog).
But you know what? It didn’t need that. The depth of the characters and the easy-going feel of the story (even with the darker more personal issues) was “bigger” than that. More than a romance. Chick lit? Maybe that. Personal angst (but not melodramatic), a personal journey, personal achievements, mistakes and realizations (especially “you’re your own worst critic”…) and the cherry on top. Romance!!
Mind you… the romance doesn’t come easy, but that’s where the growth comes in and seals the deal on this solid read. 😉
… her last conscious thought was that everything that she thought she knew was wrong.
Very good, fun and light (even with it’s contemplative side).
P.S. Just to give you an idea… for those of you that read “Unsticky” (also by this author) I liked this book more!
Now about that giveaway. See… a long time ago, I received quite a few recommendations for this book. But it was only available in the UK (in Kindle & in print format). No Kindle or Nook version for me. 🙁 So I purchased a used print copy. And then… ’cause I’m an ebook snob, I never read it. I wanted to, but instead… it sat on my bookshelf. And when I found out that this book was on sale last week (AND was available to US Kindle users) I jumped on it and moved it to the top of my TBR list. So I’m giving away my copy!
How to enter for a chance to win it? Just leave a comment below, and tomorrow night (Thursday May 30th, 2013) by 10pm EST, I will randomly select one winner.
The winner will be contacted and will have 48hrs to respond with a mailing address, so if you are picked, do not delay or you will lose your chance. Sorry for my international readers, this is a open to U.S. residents only (but you’re welcome to comment and join in any time!!).
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