Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books
Published on October 3, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, 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.
Let me preface this by saying I have not had great luck in the past with Colleen Hoover books. I have not read one yet that has blown me away like they have to everyone else in the world, apparently. I’m not saying she isn’t a talented writer, or an amazing human being, because she is indeed both of those things – I’m just starting to think maybe her books aren’t what I am looking for, they just aren’t for me or something. So I am not surprised that I was underwhelmed by this. Also, this was YA, which I don’t think I was aware of going in, and I have had my fill of YA contemporary. I’m kind of over it. Anyway, on to the review!
Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Some just deserve forgiveness.
Where to start… well that quote is pretty great. And true! So true. Her writing is witty and clever, per usual CoHo style. She has a big, funny, loving personality and I do feel like that part of her always shows in her stories. The characters personalities are all very colorful and distinct. I love the way they all bounce off of each other.
But so many things bothered me and left me feeling underwhelmed. First of all, Sagan and Luck probably bothered me the most, in the end. They seem likable enough, but the more I thought about them the more it felt like they were just far too wise beyond their years. They always just happen to have the best advice just waiting to be given. It just felt like a stretch for me. Trying to hard to have just the right kind of life experience to just the right things to say.
Also, I understand that depression is an important topic in this novel. I suffer with depression, and have suffered with very deep depression since I was a kid. So when I read a book with such topics, I always tend to look for a connection. I guess sometimes it’s nice to see yourself reflect in a book. I think all of us readers feel that way sometimes. But I didn’t find that connection here. Again, I felt like it was trying too hard.
It also seemed to be trying to hard with the weirdness of everyone’s situations. It was just a bit over the top. I don’t want to give the impression that this book wasn’t enjoyable, even though I know it sounds like that. Like I said before, its funny and heartwarming at times. I think the YA contemporary crowd will love this, especially since it is a bit more on the mature side. I also think that people will associate this, and it may be insightful and helpful to younger readers. I just think it didn’t necessarily work for me.
Something I can associate with:
Everything about him screams unstable, but my spontaneity and refusal to weigh the consequences of my decisions are my two favorite things about me.
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