Series: Standalone Novel
Published by Atria Books on 10/3/17
Genres: Young Adult
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“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.
Poignant and powerful, Without Merit explores the layers of lies that tie a family together and the power of love and truth.
This was such a different book, such a different reading experience for me, and I absolutely enjoyed it. Without Merit is a refreshing change for this author and it offered a refreshing change for me as a reader. If you need something different, something outside the box, something entertaining that’ll make you shake your head at times and laugh and feel, but that will also stun you with it’s twists and turns, with it’s important message, Without Merit is that book.
4 “Yes This.” Stars.
This story is quirky. It reminded me a bit of a few independent family dramas I’ve watched on screen. You know the type. Those movies that feel a little weird right from the start, the kind that confuse you with the bizarre dynamic between the characters, the movies that have you feeling completely unsure where the storyline is going, but despite all of it you can’t look away. Without Merit is just like those movies because amidst all the weirdness is a hidden message about humanity, about hope, about family and what we call home. The Voss family is odd. Everything about this book is odd and strangely addictive and I just couldn’t look away. And the messages Colleen Hoover allows the Voss family to deliver to readers are pretty unforgettable, especially when they’re set against the unorthodox backdrop that is Dollar Voss.
Merit’s family functions seamlessly in their dysfunction. Everything about their life is so strange, but they go through the motions, ignoring their problems, accepting that they’re social outcasts. Merit’s day to day interactions with a colorful cast of characters had me equal parts intrigued and confused straight out of the gate. This is a story that is unlike anything else Colleen Hoover has written, truthfully it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read. This story is fascinating in all of its dysfunction, in all of its quirks, and you really just need to buckle in and see where Hoover takes you because the destination is an important one. It’s unpredictable and riddled with curveballs, always entertaining, always a bit strange, often funny, sometimes emotional, and it’s profoundly important in the end.
What starts out lighthearted and quirky certainly becomes much heavier and more emotional when the Voss family secrets start coming to the surface, when each turn of the page brings new insight into the dysfunctional dynamic that is this family. At the heart of it, Without Merit is a thought provoking story of an eccentric family struggling to come to terms with the rifts and resentment that lies between all of them. While I can’t say I necessarily connected with any one character in particular on the level I typically do while reading a Colleen Hoover novel, I was certainly fascinated by the refreshing dynamic in this book. I was fully invested in where Hoover was taking me even though it was difficult to see the path at times. These characters aren’t the most relatable and I think Colleen Hoover deliberately made them feel a bit quirky, a bit outside the box because who can define normal anyway? But their issues are certainly relevant, certainly the kind of issues we can each relate to in some way. I didn’t always understand the Voss family but I did understand their fears, their sibling rivalry, their quiet resentment, their family secrets, their need to be seen and understood.
This was such a different book, such a different reading experience for me, and I absolutely enjoyed it. Without Merit is a refreshing change for this author and it offered a refreshing change for me as a reader. If you need something different, something outside the box, something entertaining that’ll make you shake your head at times and laugh and feel, but that will also stun you with it’s twists and turns, with it’s important message, Without Merit is that book. This is a book that will make you think. It’s certainly a bit out there, in the same way some artsy, dark indie family dramas are in the movies. But amidst the quirks and the eccentricities and the family secrets are some perfectly placed messages about forgiveness and acceptance and love that I truly appreciated.
About the Author
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, This Girl, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, Confess, November 9, and It Ends with Us. She has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance twice – for Confess in 2015 and It Ends with Us in 2016. Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Colleen and her family founded The Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service offering signed novels donated by authors. All profits are given to various charities each month to help those in need. Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Please visit ColleenHoover.com.
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PS: Without Merit has it’s on site with full book tour information! Make sure you check it out at http://www.withoutmeritbook.com/