By Colleen Hoover
Read by: Candace Thaxton
Simon & Schuster Audio
October 13, 2017
Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
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.
This book features a whiny teen with weird habits, and an attitude. Her family is strange with a catalogue of what one the whiny teen, Merit, sees as secrets. But, here’s the thing, the story is told from the teen’s point of view and like anyone who only sees things from her own perspective, and who thinks she is pretty smart and somewhat righteous, she is probably missing something. Of course, when I was a teenager, I didn’t realize that parents do not, nor are they obligated to, tell their children all of their secrets. Some of the secrets are big, and others are blown up. But, in a disturbed family of characters where there are secrets, and a weird situation, the way the secrets come out is what makes the book. There’s a wee romance too. Thank goodness for a guy who can see past whining.
There are some fun things: a church marquee and a Jesus statue who Merit dresses up for the season.
One thing that is interesting is that through Merit’s eyes, we see the other characters from Merit’s point of view. Like Merit, everything can change when we get facts and see things less myopically.
On the other hand, if the idea is to gets us to think about our poor judgment, great. But, I hate listening to whiny teens and the things they believe are issues — I don’t really want to read them. I am also confused about whether the book is YA or lit-fic. I found that Merit was portrayed as a character hovering between being a teen and adulthood.
I’m on the fence about it.
The narration was fine — she has the whiny teen solid!
At the end of the book, I was neither happy or unhappy about listening to it or about it ending.