“Why are kids drawn into fragile things?”
Title: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
Date Published: October 03, 2017
Publishing House: Simon Schuster Audio
Goodreads Rating: 3.98
Personal Rating: 3 / 5
“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 antique 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. [Goodreads]
My Personal Thoughts
Whew! Colleen Hoover is undeniably one of my favourite contemporary writers and I’ve loved almost all her books. This is the only book of Hoover that I’ve rated 3 out of 5. It is full of life lessons and I love the fact that depression, family, first loves, and forgiveness were all tackled in the story. It was beautifully written, as always. It’s not the author or the book that made me decide to give it an average rating compared to the five stars that I’ve given to all her previous books; maybe it was my expectation, I think it was too high. I was a bit disappointed because this one is far different from all of her books; it did not surprise me nor even made me excited for the ending. I admit that sensitive matters were discussed and given justification but I find the story boring, plain, and odd. It is not mind blowing like most of her stories; I was hoping that there’s more and I guess I was dumbfounded in the end because that was it. The setting is entertaining; I actually find it weird that Merit’s family lives in a former church that was converted into a house. It is unique and somewhat interesting and it made me want to unravel the secrets that the family’s been hiding. The characters are twisted and I fell in love with each every one of them even though they are all fucked up. The main character is Merit, she is a 17 y/o girl who happens to be left out. She thinks that her family is a wreck and that the secrets that she knows about all the family members are suffocating her existence. It was a journey how she underwent all the shit and still managed to survive. Honor is Merit’s twin sister; she is the more beautiful one, the friendly one, the sweet one, the better one, and everybody loves her. Utah is their elder brother, overachiever but was struggling to find his own identity in a world that is full of judgemental people. Sagan is the only character that I like in the story. He is a book friend material and his character is easy to fall in love with. There are still other members of the Voss family but I just find these four characters to be the most relevant ones. The plot twist is not that jaw-dropping and surprising but I still managed to enjoy the story. Depression was discussed and dissected and I do enjoy books that are about mental health so that’s a plus factor. I admire how the author executed this sensitive topic in a well-explained manner. It was a simple overview but it is enough for the readers to understand the extent of this condition. I am impressed how signs and symptoms were enumerated and how to seek help when one is ready to admit that there is a problem. I even like the way Utah’s case was explained. How LGBT friendly this book is and how it wants us to be open-minded about sexuality. These things are sensitive and phenomenal and Colleen is just so brave to write something about these topics just the same way that she wrote something about violence against women and children before. There is nothing personal with regards to the rating that I’ve given this book, it’s just that it is lacking in so many aspects and it did not meet my expectations. Overall, it is still highly recommended for every reader especially those who are looking for a self-help book. The beauty of having a family and how important it is to be thankful and forgiving are the most amazing things that happened in this masterpiece. It is also important to not just look at things based on our own perspective because we don’t really know how other people feel or sees things. Being considerate and unselfish is not so common these days anymore and it saddens me personally. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts and of course I’ll always be excited about future books that Collen will be writing.
Overall Rating: ☆☆☆/5