Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Review: WITHOUT MERIT by Colleen Hoover

Source: Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 384 (Paperback)


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.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.


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 lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Please visit ColleenHoover.com.

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I started reading WITHOUT MERIT the day that I received the ARC in the mail! 
When I opened the package, I proceeded to squee and hug the book to my chest. Not long after that I started reading and I couldn't put it down!!! I kept reading and I didn't stop until I'd finished!!!

Merit is definitely not a traditional main character. She's brash, abrasive, and extremely impulsive, but I really enjoyed her narrative and I loved her sardonic sense of humour. She was raw, and real and flawed...and I loved seeing her overcome all of the obstacles she faced in the book. And Sagan...oh boy. I loved Sagan!!!! He had some lines that were just soooo swoony!! I also really enjoyed getting to know Merit's family. She lives in a pretty unconventional household, and their family dynamics were really intriguing!

The story itself was wonderful!!! It was all about family dynamics, love, and perspective! When I finished reading that was my biggest thought, that the book was all about perspective and I absolutely loved that. So often we live our lives wrapped up in our own little bubbles, only ever thinking of and considering things from our own viewpoints, and WITHOUT MERIT kind of shows you that sometimes our perspectives can be extremely biased and completely wrong. The truths that we think we see aren't the full story and coming to terms with the reality of certain situations can be revolutionary, so I really loved what Colleen was doing with this story! It didn't wreak my heart like some of her previous books, but it completely enthralled me and it captivated my attention wholly and left me wondering and considering the world we live in, my place in it, and how my perspective could be shifted to keep myself from getting too wrapped up in my own little world!

Finally, and this is totally separate from the characters and the story as a whole, I also loved that Colleen dedicated WITHOUT MERIT to one of her sons! It's one of the sweetest, and best dedications I've ever read. It's also pretty clear that Merit's hometown is based on the town that Colleen lives in and there was a little bookstore that Cohorts will likely recognize...it was probably the most adorable cameo I've ever seen and it was in a book! ;)

I adored WITHOUT MERIT! Colleen Hoover is definitely moving away from romance-centric stories towards ones that are more on the literary fiction side, and while I love my swoony, sexy or sweet romances, I really love that she's creating stories with so much depth! Merit and her family deal with quite a few big issues in this book that they end up confronting head on and I really, really appreciate that Colleen is willing to bring sensitive topics up for discussion like she has here! Cohorts will definitely love this one, and I hope that newbies to Colleen Hoover who are looking for a story full of heart will pick it up and love WITHOUT MERIT, too!

Any other CoHorts out there?
Does WITHOUT MERIT sound like something you'd like to read?

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