Title: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: NA contemporary
Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.
The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.
Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.
Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.
There’s a reason Hoover is one of my favourite authors. Her books one-up the previous ones every single time.
Seeing through the eyes of Merit Voss, who is part of a very complicated* family, we are taken on a very gripping ride. I am very thankful we’re given an “intro” bit with the family because I would be very confused otherwise.
*totally wanted to use a cuss word there but I’ll hold back
Okay, I’ll admit, I’ve been staring at the screen with my hands pressed to my cheeks for the past five minutes because I have absolutely NO CLUE how to go about this review. I AM SPEECHLESS. So forgive me if I’m all over the place.
Like last year with It Ends With Us, I started reading this book in college and I did not pay attention to anything else. I was just drawn into the book. The whole time I was reading it, my mood became that of Merit’s. I WAS IN and there was no way out.
- The story is about the family as a whole, and also Merit as an individual.
Every person of this family struggles with something, has secrets and is simply doing their best to live. And considering how big the family is, the dynamic and relationships were complex. It was all explained beautifully and all I could think was how did it all become like this.
- This book is also about depression.
It’s about one event setting off a dozen others and eventually you don’t know when it started. It’s about recognising depression for what it is and not throw around words like therapy. It’s about how depression creeps up on you or your loved ones without you even realising it.
- I won’t say I loved the characters. I didn’t.
Especially Merit because she blamed the others for so many things and thought she was perfect. She also was blind-sided a lot and did the same things. It was hypocritical. And the other characters had their own faults. Huge ones. But that’s not the point here.
We’re not here to love the characters or the story. We’re here to read the raw truth about the result of several mistakes by several people and how they tie up.
But I have to say, Merit is a very interesting character. Her thing with trophies, especially. It sets her apart.
- The whole vibe given off by the writing style was perfect.
Any other way and it wouldn’t have been good. Merit’s thought process and feelings were just right. Everything was just right and I loved THAT.
I felt eveything Merit was feeling and this is why I love Hoover’s books. She makes me FEEL it all.
- This book is about family.
The mistakes, the blame, the favouritism. The healing. Everything standing in a precarious balance, falling apart with a crash and coming together again slowly. That process was beautiful.
The family dynamic was written perfectly. Right from the beginning, you form the image. With every sentence, every dialogue and thought I formed those bonds in my head. Almost as if every single word in the book was deliberately put to form those images.
- I didn’t like the romance.
I just didn’t, and I was surprised because I usually do with Hoover’s books. But I can overlook that a litle with everything else going on.
I do feel a little misled by the Goodreads synopsis as it made me think Merit had this plan, but it wasn’t so. Everything just happened and she took a decision.
I know that this book has been very vague and all over the place but I can’t help it. I just don’t know how to review this book.
I really do recommend this, though. If you want to read about depression, a complicated family and even more complicated relationships, or simply a gripping book—pick this up.