Without Merit – Review

img_8415Originally published October 2017.

Thank you to Atria books and Netgalley for allowing an ARC for review.

I feel completely conflicted and expect this will be one of the most difficult reviews I’ve ever written. I’m a huge Colleen Hoover fan and have read every one of her novels, I met her last year at The Bookworm Box, and consider her one of my favorite authors. I would even go so far as to say, this blog probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Colleen Hoover. You wouldn’t believe my excitement when I saw I was chosen to review Without Merit. Such is my luck that this would be the one CoHo book that didn’t resonate with me.

Without Merit is an out-of-the-box novel, even for Colleen, and completely different than anything she has ever written. The characters all had their own quirks and oddities, almost to the point of being ridiculous. I found most of the characters challenging to like, and some downright repulsive. Obviously, Merit was the most likeable character within the 384 pages. She lives in a family of secret keepers, where no one is able to show love or tell the truth. Sick and tired of living with her family’s burdens, Merit spontaneously decides she’ll write a letter revealing her family’s dirty secrets and take her own life. When her plan is foiled, she is stuck dealing with the consequences of airing the family’s dirty laundry.

Colleen does a great job of making her readers feel connected to Merit through the first half of the story. It’s obvious why she feels the things she feels, living in a family of crazies. Though I’m not advocating suicide, I was able to see why Merit, in a moment of weakness, considered this a viable option for her problems. However, I felt the story dragged in getting to this point that the blurb details as the main event of the novel. I was unsure of which direction things would go throughout the majority of the book, making me wonder what the point of the story was. Finally, around the halfway mark things started rolling in true Hoover style, allowing me to understand the build-up in the first half.

I will say, I found Without Merit to have an important message overall. I think this book can have a positive impact on people who may struggle with some of the things Merit thought to be challenging in life. I was able to appreciate getting into the character’s heads to understand the causes for their actions. Unfortunately, it seemed as if Merit was left out to dry, for the most part, in the conclusion. At times, I even felt as if Merit was being manipulated by those around her to see situations the way they wanted her to. And though there were resolutions in the end, many of the characters did not learn the lessons I hoped they would. It seemed as if they were making excuses for their actions, rather than accepting responsibility. Though, one of the main points Colleen makes in this novel is this:

“Not every mistake deserves a consequence, some just deserve forgiveness.”

I suppose because I like “karma” as some call it, that makes me less apt to understand the feeling of forgiving without consequences. I prefer to see justice for mistakes because many times people don’t properly feel remorse and learn otherwise. Nonetheless, Colleen gives readers things to think about, which leads to my conflicted feelings over the whole of this novel. There were parts I liked and beneficial topics discussed, but overall, I did not relate to the story which created a bit of a disconnect. Regardless of my feelings and difference of opinion on many topics discussed within the plot, I will continue to be a Colleen fan and will eagerly read anything she produces in the future. This highly anticipated novel is sure to resonate with many readers, so please take my adverse opinion with a grain of salt. It may be just what you need at this moment in your life and simply wasn’t a favorite for me.

Purchase on Amazon!


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4 Comments Add yours

  1. I hate it when one of my favorite authors writes a book that’s a miss for me. You go into it knowling you’re in for a good read and the disappointment is higher than it would be for others when it’s a letdown.

    Yours isn’t the first review for this book that expressed similar feelings. I have it on my shelf in audio but still plan to listen to it someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jonetta.
      Isn’t it the worst? And it’s so hard to write a negative review because you love them so much! Such a bummer all around.

      I definitely think you should listen to the audio at some point and see what you think. You may like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve found that a lot of loyal CoHo fans didn’t like this book very much. While I have liked a couple of her books, mostly they’re just not my cup of tea. That’s probably why I liked this one more than most of her books I’ve read. I liked that the angsty romance wasn’t the main plot point. But, I think all of your points are pretty valid and understand why this one is so polarizing. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashley, I LOVE that picture! Your review is thoughtful and understandable. I’ve not read this one yet, but I’ve seen some mixed thoughts on it. I hope you love your next read!

    Liked by 1 person

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