You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is a makeover book with not one but two characters who need some perspective. Where she obsesses over what she looks like, he has hang-ups in the relationship area. And just like Grace and Vaughn in Unsticky, Neve and Max had me so frustrated at times. While her with her size ten goal and him with his missing the hints did bother me, there were times when they could be sweet and funny.
Even if the transformations were lengthy in this one, things balanced out with both of them growing out of what I didn’t like (one more so than the other.) She’s in her twenties, has got job that she loves and some pretty good friends as well as rather interesting family. Two of her problems stem from what she sees when she looks in the mirror. Her physical transformation notwithstanding she’s still not happy with what she sees, a fact made worse by her wanting to impress the man of her dreams. It’s her insecurity and lack of experience that results in a harebrained scheme. Hilarity! Her life gets interesting, romantic, steamy and all kinds of confusing after setting out to find a body willing to do a trial run with her; a man willing to show her the in’s and out’s of man-woman interaction. A series of disastrous internet dates and she ends up Max. Max who from the get is referred to as office Man Whore.
If not the characters, then I can say I LOVED how their relationship moved from one stage to another. Starting with the Horrendously Awkward first moment moving on to the slow building up of a friendship that addressed both their issues (her insecurity and his unable to commit.) Wait! Did I just type ‘unable to commit’? Max seems the typical man about town. And maybe he is. He likes women; he unashamedly goes with one then another then another. It’s his experience that draws her to him, (well that and a couple of alcoholic beverages.) But a couple of chappies later after what they'd shown each other had allowed for more. And I bought them... their growing feelings as well as their deepening intimacy.
Again, it’s their relationship that I liked. She’s simply too insecure and food/weight obsessed for me to like all alone. I sympathized at points, but I got tired of her and her whining. Now, Max. Oh Max! What an ass he was close to the end! But he wasn’t just an ass. And I think that’s what made them an interesting read. He’s capable of being good, thoughtful and sweet, as was Neve. Both were very able to say what’s what, call things out like they were. Their delivery was a whole other matter though because some things best left unsaid were said; both of them crossed a line or two.
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