Title: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publish Date: October 3, 2017
# of Pages: 384
(From Goodreads) 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.
Rating (1-10, 10 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 6
Pace – 9
Plot Development – 6
Ending – 6
Characters – 5
Enjoyability – 7
Ease of Reading – 9
Overall Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Without Merit by Colleen Hoover follows the perspective of Merit as she navigates life and struggles with depression. Along the way her quirky family falls apart and comes together, and she discovers what it’s like to fall in love.
I’ve read several of Colleen Hoover’s books over the years. Some of them I’ve really liked, and some I didn’t. I would say this book falls somewhere in the middle. It’s an entertaining, light read that has some great moments but falls short of being a 5-star book.
The quality of writing is average in Without Merit. The author uses simple language, so the book is easily understood and easy to read. I think this quality helps to make this book a quick, light read. (Heading to the beach? Take this book with you!)
The pacing of the book is excellent. It’s fast-paced with drama unfolding with every page turn. This book kept me up at night, because I wanted to know what happened next! It’s fun reading a fast-paced book that keep you at the edge of your seat with anticipation.
I thought the characters in the book were on the weak side. Yes, they were quirky and different, but there wasn’t a lot of character development, so they felt flat. I never really understood Merit, the main character in the book. From her random moments of thievery to her house-wide silent treatment, I found her to be brash, immature, and uninteresting. Don’t get me wrong, despite my lack of love for her character, I still wanted to know what was going to happen next, but I never felt attached to her. The other characters in the book got such a cursory development that I had a hard time picturing them and their interactions in my mind.
The plot development of the book was okay but not great. Some of the events in the book just felt strange and out of place. I kept getting pulled out of the book with head-scratching moments. The overarching storyline is decent though. I liked the romance and the twin confusion. I liked that depression is covered and not tippy-toed around.
While depression was discussed and given weight, I didn’t care for how suicide was handled and discussed in Without Merit. It almost seemed as though the book was normalizing suicide and downplaying the gravity of such a decision.
The ending of the book was fine. I liked that Merit’s family starts pulling together in the end and acting more like a functional family. I was also glad that each of the family’s quirks was explained in more detail to help you understand the characters a bit better.
Overall, this book would make a good beach read, so if you’re looking for a little light reading, add this one to your TBR shelf.
Have you read Without Merit? What did you think of the book? What other books have you read by Colleen Hoover?
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