A moving and haunting story of family, love and the power of truth, by international bestselling author Colleen Hoover
‘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, the once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, 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. Then she meets 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.
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.
Praise for Without Merit
'Emotionally wrenching and utterly original, Without Merit's characters stayed with me long after I finished.' Sara Shepard, New York Times Bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars
'Hoover does an excellent job of revealing the subtle differences between healthy teenage rebellion and clinical depression… This quirky, complex, and frustrating heroine will win hearts and challenge assumptions about family dysfunction and mental illness in a life-affirming story that redefines what's normal.' Kirkus Starred Review
‘Hoover joins the ranks of such luminaries as Jennifer Weiner and Jojo Moyes, with a dash of Gillian Flynn’ Library Journal, starred review
In this surprisingly serious look at the experience and consequences of untreated mental illness, Merit Voss's eccentric family amplifies her typical teenage angst as she tries to shield herself with dismissive, defensive humor. Her bubbly twin sister, Honor, keeps falling in love with terminally ill boys. Her reclusive mother has not left the basement for years, and her preening stepmother (her mom's former oncology nurse) lives upstairs. The recent appearance of Sagan, a perfect example of a dreamy stranger, in the household awakens strong jealousy in Merit when she assumes he is Honor's boyfriend. Merit keeps repeating how much the town hates her family, but her depressive slide into dropping out of school does not allow any proof of social rejection. Finally fed up with her family's willful ignorance of her problems, she drunkenly pens a letter that exposes secrets, including an explanation for her chilly relationship with ambitious, chipper older brother Utah. When her suicide attempt is foiled, the whole family has to learn to cope with these revelations. The romantic thread between Merit and Sagan is flimsy but stays intact through to the end. Hoover relies a bit too much on pat conversations to resolve resentments, but her characters are lively and her honest approach to difficult issues makes this contemporary novel more solid than its fluffy feel suggests.
Without Merit was amazing. My favourite Hoover book since the Finding Hope and Slammed series. Def worth the buy!
This was really not what I was expecting to read when I started this book. I've loved all your books Colleen, your style and quirky content, and wanted more of the same but it wasn't the typical romance I was after. Most of the characters were unloveable and I felt as in turmoil as Merit did for most of the book. If this was your intent then you succeeded. You drew out those feelings in me. I love your writing style, the way you express exactly what a person is feeling and this is what you have accomplished in this book too.