Without Merit – Colleen Hoover


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.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Everyone thinks that they have a messed up or unusual family. If you think that your family is strange, unusual, or messed up, I can guarantee you this: your family has nothing on the Voss family. For starters, they live in an old Church. A Church that Merit’s atheist father purchased to spite the former preacher who owned it. Their “home” has a giant Jesus statue in the middle of it that Merit decorates frequently. Additionally, Merit’s father had an affair and married his mistress, both his ex-wife and mistress turned current wife live in this house.

All of the above information is given within the first couple of chapters. I repeat: your family has noting on the Voss family! I usually abhor this much drama in one book, but I was LIVING for it in Without Merit. Nobody writes a good drama like Colleen Hoover. Over the course of the book, she somehow got me to somehow fall in love with the entire twisted family, mistress turned wife included. I also loved the romance, it was slow to develop, and a little bit strange at times, but so believable. Sagan managed to give me as a reader butterflies a time or two.

Overall, I can’t say enough good things about Without Merit. It deals with a lot of deep issues, something that CoHo is known for writing about. The book discusses depression, suicide, sexuality, and adultery to name a few. As someone who has never dealt with depression personally, this read was a real eye-opener. I have friends and family who have experienced it and this really helped me understand what they may have been going through.

My Takeaway: As a recent CoHo covert, I can’t yet say that this is my favorite of her books total, but I can without a doubt say that this is one of my favorite YA contemporary reads of the year. It was both entertaining and insightful. I can’t wait to read more CoHo!

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