By Colleen Hoover
Published October 3rd, 2017 by Atria Books
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Synopsis from Goodreads.com:
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.
Another Colleen Hoover book! And another win for me. :) Without Merit is everything I’m used to from Colleen Hoover and yet different at the same time. This is a young adult read and one focused more on mental health and loving oneself. I absolutely enjoyed this and while it wasn't my FAVORITE of Colleen’s it was still incredibly good!
Merit is kind of the outcast in her family or she feels that way at least. She collects trophies for every negative occasion and she is fed up with all the secrets that the members of her family keep. I think that some might become annoyed with Merit at some point because she’s prone to seeing things through her eyes only. She can be sensitive and she can even seem cold or uncaring at some points. But this is all done for a reason and once reading it, I’m sure some will be able to see why.
I wasn’t annoyed with Merit though. I actually felt like I knew what she was going through and I understood it! Part of it felt like simply being a teenager again and going through all those strongly felt emotions. And the other part of it simply felt like the depression that I felt so strongly during those teenage years. Merit feels and truly believes that she is the one in the right and everyone else is in the wrong. She doesn’t realize until Sagan starts talking with her that she isn’t exactly like how she used to be. It was truly a lesson that resonated with me. I knew that some of these issues that Merit felt were a big deal weren’t always so big, but reading through her eyes helped me to see that they were huge to her.
The rest of Merit’s family members had their faults as well but I felt like they were slowly learning to deal with them. I also felt like they were slowly learning more about Merit and how she felt they were treating her. They each had their own issues and Merit wasn’t able to see that until she really took the time to listen and see them. And I liked that Merit was able to grow and learn more about herself and her mind. Sagan, I feel, really helped the family see the light and for that I loved him. But there were definitely a few times where even I felt slighted on Merit’s behalf.
Aside from really understanding where Merit came from I also loved how different this family was. Merit's family isn't like one that you would expect. The family members are all different and dealing with their own demons but they still accept each other in the end. Also, there is a dog in this book and I loved it!
Overall, this was another fantastic read. There were definitely times where I kind of got annoyed but there were more times where I was just interested in what was going to happen with this family. I feel like Without Merit is more family oriented as a book and deals more with serious topics like depression, suicide, and mental illness. It’s a heavy book and yet it’s easy to read at the same time. I couldn’t put this one down!