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.
I read romance typically. Like, I’m a heavy duty romance reader, but I have read this authors previous YA works and loved them. I didn’t exactly know what I was getting with Without Merit. But I want to start by saying this, this is a YA novel about family and secrets and mental health and so many many other things, with a very light side of romance.
All of that said, I really loved this book.
Colleen Hover has a way about her writing. A very delicate of touching on subjects that are important but too many people shy away from even talking about because they are scary or they are scared they will offend someone or hurt somebody. And she did this in Without Merit impeccably. My chest ached for this girl and her odd family that I somehow found endearing even when I thought they were being awful to one another. Even though they were incredibly quirky and flawed, but so very real.
As for the romance, it’s there in the form of Sagan. A wildly different boy than Merit’s loud, boisterous, odd family and all it’s quirks. He’s quiet, tentative, and he makes Merit incredibly angry. She loves him.
So this book y’all. It pulled at my heart strings. It made me laugh with all it’s craziness. It made me cry too many times to count. Sometimes happy tears. Sometimes tears so ugly my heart hurt for Merit. But most of all, this book made me remember that no matter how impossibly imperfect my family is, their mine and I love them. It made me want to pull my loud sometimes crazy momma closer. It made me want to tell my quiet, odd engineering brained husband that I loved him a little more. It made me want to cherish my children’s oddities, because their quirks make them so incredibly special.
Five “family is everything'” Stars!