Rating: 5/5 Bookworms
Short and Sweet Summary: Merit is deemed the keeper of secrets in the Voss family, but when the secrets become too much who is going to be there for her?
I’m tired of everything I say not having meaning to anyone. I’ll just stop talking so that when I do talk, my words will count.
Oh man you guys, I really loved this book. I’m going to try and do my best writing this review because typically the more I love a book the more difficult it is to write the review. I don’t think there’s enough words in the English language to accurately describe how much this book touched me, on a soul deep level. This book really focuses on mental illness and as someone that has struggled with anxiety and depression for many, many years it really resonated with me. If you suffer from mental illness, know someone that does, or even don’t know anything about it I highly suggest that you pick this book up.
If this is his idea of flirting, it’s a strange way to flirt. But sadly, I’m attracted to unconventional and strange. So the entire time I browse the store I force myself to seem unaffected, when in reality, I’m very affected.
I truly love all of the quirky characters in this book but I especially love Merit. I immediately felt a bond with her and it only continued to grow as the book progressed. Merit is genuine and unapologetically herself, in a way that typically rubs people the wrong way. She’s opinionated and has no problem telling people, especially her family members, what she thinks. She feels invisible and misunderstood, living in a house/church full of such big, crazy personalities.
Honor called me a sociopath once while we were in the middle of a fight. I’ll make it a point to look up that word later. There might be some truth to that.
In the beginning a lot of the characters are self-absorbed but I genuinely think that they don’t realize it. I say that because they open up as the book goes on and sort of recognize that they are ignorant of the things happening around them. I’ve read that some people are having trouble connecting with this book and I think it’s because it’s unlike anything Colleen Hoover has done before, and while it has a satisfying ending it’s not necessarily a HEA. I loved this book because I feel like it is so real: none of the characters are perfect; important, life-altering things are swept under the rug; questionable life decisions are made, and important realizations are made.
“Having depression is no more out of your control than Sagan’s intolerance to milk, or Utah’s pale skin, or Honor’s bad vision. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. But it’s not something you can ignore or correct on your own. And it doesn’t make you abnormal. It makes you just as normal as these idiots.”
The most important message to me is that you should NOT be ashamed of having a mental illness and please seek help if you feel it is necessary. It took me so long to be able to open up about my mental illness and to talk to my doctor about it. As soon as I did and I got on medication I wondered why I had waited for so long. Mental illness has been so taboo and something to be ashamed of for so long and the fact that more people are speaking out about it and incorporating it into their books makes me so incredibly happy. Thankfully, the stigma that surrounds mental illness is slowly going away as more and more people learn and speak out about it. WITHOUT MERIT can definitely be a conversation starter for those that have trouble opening up about it. I’ll definitely be giving this book as a gift this holiday season.
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.
Buy WITHOUT MERIT here:
Get to know Colleen Hoover:
Colleen Hoover is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including the #1 bestseller, Hopeless. She lives in Texas with her husband and three children. She is the founder of The Bookworm Box, a book subscription service which donates 100% of its proceeds to charity. She also owns The Bookworm Box, a specialty bookstore located in Sulphur Springs, Tx.
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