By Colleen Hoover
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.
Author Colleen Hoover touches on a very important topic in her new novel titled Without Merit. Her distinctive wit and humor dance around the subject of mental health. Readers will find comfort in her familiar writing voice but will also notice Without Merit is a bit different from anything she has ever written. Packed with unconventional characters and intense family drama, this book was nearly impossible for me to put down!
Our primary character, Merit Voss, lives in a re-purposed church building located in a small Texas town. Dubbed Dollar Voss, the church building is now the home to seven Voss family members. Merit is the self-proclaimed keeper of Voss family secrets. From her point of view, her family is embarrassing and completely dysfunctional. She harbors pent up anger towards family members, resents her eccentric living circumstances, and blames both of these reasons for her lack of a social life.
We’ve all heard some of these questions asked – how do you know if your family is normal? Which human behaviors are considered dysfunctional? Is there even such thing as a normal family? While I was reading this novel, I found myself focusing on questions such as these. Without Merit forced me to consider my own family dynamics and other important themes such as perspective, judgement, and resentment.
From the viewpoint of a teenage girl, the behaviors or makeup of a family unit can be traumatic, even embarrassing and frustrating. Colleen Hoover was very clever as she penned Merit’s passive-aggressive point-of-view. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but throughout this story I had this sense that we were building towards something important. It was subtle at first, barely there, and then it became more gradual. But it was there – I felt this impending sense that something climactic was coming.
Without Merit has solid character development, creativity, romantic tension, and eccentric secondary characters – all the characteristics we love to see in a top Colleen Hoover novel. Hoover took a step away from the new adult genre with this novel – something that I was delighted to see! This fiction novel falls soundly into the young adult age group, with a lean toward the coming of age genre.
Without Merit is a fantastic read, but the truth is, this story has the potential to touch people’s lives. At the very minimum, it will open the eyes of readers to the importance of mental health. I am sure of this. I highly recommend Without Merit. I’m giving this book a 5-star rating and will be adding it to my list of 2017 favorites!
Without Merit by Colleen Hoover is one of those unique novels that doesn’t quite fit in any specific genre. It is the type of novel that will appeal to readers of all ages and all backgrounds.
Without Merit features a dysfunctional family seen through a teenager’s perspective. Like most modern day families,the Voss family structure is based upon busy schedules, individual agendas and poor communications. It is their normal until it no longer works. When one family member disrupts the cogs in their wheels, it’s the beginning of the breakdown of their family unit until they find a better way to function as a unit rather than a bunch of individuals living under one roof.
Merit Voss feels invisible amongst her family members and permanent house guests. Her family is dysfunctional in every way. Her mother lives in the basement while her father’s new wife is running the house. Her siblings are busy with their involvement in school activities and extra curricular activities. They each have their own quirks that add to the family dysfunction. Her twin sister’s boyfriend has moved in with them and she finds herself falling for him. The last thing she needs is to deal with the guilt of coveting her sister’s boyfriend. When her stepmom’s crazy younger brother joins the family home it disrupts the family dynamics all the more. His crazy antics and insightful observations add to the chaos.
One fateful moment brings clarity to the family. One dog bonds them together in an unusual way. Things have to change because no matter what happens, they love one another.
Colleen Hoover touched upon so many issues that plague the modern day family. Not only was the family dysfunctional, every person in the household had their own issues they were dealing with. Colleen added her quirky sense of humor to all of the characters and gave them individual traits that were easy to love. This lightened the heaviness of the subject matter in this book. She also showed that whether it’s blood or by choice, family is the foundation that made each individual strong in their own way. The family bond is what healed them all and led them on the path of healthier lives.
I would highly recommend Without Merit by Colleen Hoover.
Now for the fun….the #WithoutMerit Contest!
Enter the Rafflecopter to win a limited edition signed hardcover copy of WITHOUT MERIT! (5 winners in total) Contest is open until October 30th!
Don’t miss Colleen on tour for WITHOUT MERIT:
Monday, October 2nd
THIRD PLACE BOOKS
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/137295906877328/
LOS ANGELES, CA
Tuesday, October 3rd
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1911946199130358
KANSAS CITY, KS
Wednesday, October 4th
WOODNEATH LIBRARY CENTER
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/174560183089713
Thursday, October 5th
ANDERSON’S BOOKSHOP – LA GRANGE
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/264445024062577
Friday, October 6th
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/113057092698266
Saturday, October 7th
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/352249878530498
NEW YORK, NY
Sunday, October 8th
NEW YORK COMIC CON
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
New York, NY 10018
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1979991848924145
Tuesday, October 10
Southern Methodist University Bookstore
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/746877452165014
About Colleen Hoover
Colleen Hoover’s love for writing began in 1985 when she was five years old. Her first story was titled “Mystery Bob” and was a huge hit with her mother, who was really good at faking interest. Colleen continued to write short stories for friends and family until December of 2011, when she decided to write a long story she titled, “Slammed.” She self-published SLAMMED to Amazon in January, 2012 and it hit the NYT’s bestsellers list in May, 2012. She has since signed with Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and now has six NYT’s bestsellers. Colleen prefers to be called a writer, as the term “author” still terrifies her and makes this feel like a job with expectations. She doesn’t work well under pressure and hopes writing will always remain fun and exciting. Colleen’s newest novel, UGLY LOVE, releases August 5th, 2014. She is currently working on a new novel, CONFESS, which she is writing as fast as she can before she wakes up from this crazy dream.
You can follow Colleen on Instagram and Twitter @colleenhoover. You can also find her on her blog at http://www.colleenhoover.com where she holds a daily book-a-day giveaway, or on her very active Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/authorcolleenhoover where she loves to give away more free stuff when her husband isn’t looking.
Colleen also wants the world to know that writing short biographies in third person is incredibly awkward.