Monday, October 2, 2017

Review: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends With Us and November 9 comes a moving and haunting novel of family, love, and the power of the truth.
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.

Jen Hagen
4 stars

“Out of all the places we could be, we’re right here.  At the same time.”

One would think after reading the above sentence that we are setting up for an in-the-stars romance, love at first sight; but… this is Colleen Hoover we’re talking about.  When has she ever written a 
straight-out romance without a little quirk thrown in?  The random place of togetherness where we first meet Sagon and Merit is a thrift shop where she is buying trophies to replace her feelings of inadequacy.  

Merit comes from a family of misfits.  Everybody seems to have their own little way of coping to get through life whether it be living in the basement and not coming out for 2 years, only dating the dying, having an affair while your wife is dying…it’s all here…plus another secret that keeps us guessing what could possibly be the source of animosity between a couple family members.

“Utah and I have nothing in common, other than being the only two people in the Voss family to know its deepest, darkest secret.  But since it’s something we’ve never once discussed since the day it happened, it’s barely a common thread between us now.” 

This family has more skeletons in its closet than you would find in the rows of Wal-Mart at Halloween!  And Merit knows them all.  The weight of all these secrets is bringing her down.  Merit can barely function.

I have Utah’s secret.
I have my father’s secret.
My mother’s secret.
Honor’s secret.
Luck’s secret.
I don’t wany any of them anymore!

Merit starts to unfold all secrets in a letter…and Merit hadn’t planned to be around for the revelation aftermath.  Merit now finds herself a precarious situation; a situation where people actually CARE about her and what she’s thinking and feeling.  Is Merit willing to talk about these secrets that haunt her face to face or will she go on playing indifferent?  Will their family be with or without Merit?

I found this book to grab me in from the peculiar setting of a thrift shop, and it continued to keep my interest, but I found the ending to be lacking.  I felt it ended suddenly – I could say it ended without closure.  Aside from that, the writing is your typical Colleen Hoover – engaging and fun without a lot of lengthy sentence structure.  Her short sentences grab the reader and entices them into the next sentence all while keeping the reader’s perpetual interest in motion. 

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 

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