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Review: You don't have to say you love me by Sarra Manning

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?

My thoughts

 Yet another Sarra Manning book which I couldn't put down. Quite honestly I love this lady's writing and can't get enough. You don't have to say you love me was another brilliant read which I enjoyed thoroughly.

You don't have to say you love me is the story of Neve. Neve is in love with William and has been for years. Unfortunately he is both yet to notice her in that way and currently overseas. Neve cannot wait until the day he returns to the UK and falls madly in love with her. The problem is Neve is somewhat lacking in experience with men and has been directed by her younger sister to get some to prepare for William's return.

For me there were several things I loved about this book because they made me think.

Firstly I loved Neve as a character. She is a complex little soul hiding behind a whole lot of self esteem issues after being hugely over weight in her younger year. This has affected her greatly in her confidence levels meaning she has never been able to feel like she has the ability to be attractive to men. This book said a lot about the way in women can make themselves feel worse about their own body because of the pressure they feel from the media etc to need to look 'perfect'. In my minds eye I saw Neve as a really fat girl the way she discussed her own body and problem areas but yet you find out that actually she is a smaller size than the average for the UK. It was fascinating to see how it impacted on her life and the way she held herself because in her minds eye she was gross overweight and repulsive when everyone saw her very differently.

I really loved the relationship between Neve and Max, the man she decides to 'practice' having a relationship with her. Quite honestly Neve's quirks and way were hilarious to see through Max's eyes as he got to know her better. I loved how the two of them acted as a couple and watching them fall for each other without wanting to admit it and quite honestly by the end of the book I wanted to be their official cheerleader to champion their relationship even when they weren't so keen. One section where Neve, the academic is taken off to a WAG wedding by Max was so brilliantly funny it was untrue. Oh and the sexy times and tension between the two was totally steamy!

Another reason why Neve was so under confident was due to the bullying she faced as a teenager as the hands of her now sister in law. I actually loved the way this was done in the book because people often think of bullying as something that happens to kids and they get over it but actually you could see that despite all Neve's achievements the way in which she was treated continued to affect her adult life in a huge way.

All in all a book I would highly recommend and look forward to adding to my 'reread regularly' pile.