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.

Colleen Hoover continues to out-do herself with every book she writes. Without Merit has
became one of my favorites. I shouldn’t even be surprised cause Colleen Hoover loves to collect
tears and this book doesn’t stray from that. This story is so powerful and has so many layers to it.
The writing is absolutely brilliant. The story builds and builds and finally it all just comes
tumbling down like a snowball effect. Colleen Hoover breaks my heart into a million little pieces
but manages to put it together by the end of the last page.
Merit is a very unique and refreshing character. She is struggling with sadness and trying to fill a
“void” that she can’t quite figure out. Merit is character that is very relatable to many of us. We
all struggle with the hard times, we have crazy and dysfunctional family members that we want
to punch at times, and live with the general ups & downs of life.
One thing I loved is that romance is secondary to the story. More importance is given to family
and issues related to it. Don’t worry there is romance in the story. It’s just, more focus is on
mental issues regarding family and one’s own self.
My favorite passage from the book:
“It annoys me when people try to convince other people that their anger or stress isn’t warranted
if someone else in the world is worse off than them. It’s bullshit. Your emotions and reactions
are valid. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. You’re the only one who feels them.”
I’m more than sure that I did not summarize it justly, so go check it out for yourself because all
the fuss is definitely true about this one!

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