Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Pages: 384

Published: October 3rd 2017 by Atria Books

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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.


My Thoughts

I am a self-proclaimed CoHort, which is strange because I am not a fan of contemporary, but I am addicted to CoHo. There is something about her writing that ensnares me hook, line and sinker. This, however, was one of my least favorite that I’ve read.

Without Meri was interesting but fell somewhat flat for me, CoHo usually writes with one to two damaged individuals in a story, but in this particular one everyone is. Which is interesting!

This story follows Merit Voss, who lives in a renovated church with her family and stepmother. Her mother, who is sick, lives in the basement of the church. Agoraphobic and unable to venture out. Merit’s family is full of secrets and each individual is closed off and unwilling to discuss anything with anyone.

Merit especially lives in her own world, judging from her pedestal and comes across as highly unlikable, even though she has many issues of her own. She has an obsession with collecting trophies she didn’t earn and it is while browsing an antique store that she sees Sagan, a mysterious unknown guy. Not a few minutes later is she kissed by said random guy.

This is a turning point because she realizes soon that Sagan knows her twin sister, Honor, and he had mistaken her for her sister.

Merit has endured a lot, but so has the rest of the characters and Merit comes across as cruel, ignorant and immature. Maybe that’s the point of her but I wasn’t keen on it. She holds herself in such high regard [and yet not?] That she constantly casts stones and evens scoffs at mental illnesses and illness in general. I know the point was for her to learn but to me, this aspect just made her cold.

The rest of the characters are just as complex and they all have their battles to fight, too. I just felt there was a multitude of scenarios that were just thrown together and it created clumsy storytelling.
I think I enjoy Hoover so much because she isn’t afraid of delving into dark, serious notes of YA Fiction. Bringing light to mental health is a huge thing, but I felt as though the overall execution was a bit clumsily thrown together.

What is your favorite contemporary read? Share with me! 



    1. I did enjoy it in the sense I easily devoured it, I just was expecting more. I think I was more underwhelmed than anything and all the dynamics simply didn’t work for me. It was still GOOD though.

      Happy Reading/Writing.

      Liked by 1 person

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