Without Merit is the story of a teenager coping with depression who learns the importance of family and self-love.
Everyone has secrets. And the Voss family is no exception.
Merit Voss is part of a unique living situation: Her blended family unit lives in a repurposed church nicknamed Dollar Voss. The family’s once cancer-stricken mother resides in the basement, and Merit’s father had an affair with her mother’s former nurse, who he now has a child with. Merit’s twin sister is exclusively attracted to terminally ill boyfriends, her older brother acts as though she doesn’t exist, and her little half-brother absorbs all of the family’s craziness and negativity.
Merit is a spunky, quick-witted teenage girl who observes her family as if she’s on the outside while keeping all of their secrets on the inside. She feels down about her life, acting as though she isn’t a part of her own family, and believes no one would care if she weren’t around. Merit gradually stops going to school, begins to sleep during the day, and grows increasingly angry at her family situation. The only light in the current tunnel of her life is an intriguing boy she meets named Sagan, who happens to be off-limits since he is dating Merit’s twin. Another strike for Merit.
When I picked up Without Merit, I expected a light, contemporary romance, and what I got was a story with layers and depth. The reader slowly learns that Merit is depressed, even when she doesn’t realize it herself. Gradually, family and friends close to Merit begin prodding and suggesting she may have depression, but Merit refuses to believe she is the one needs therapy. After all, everyone in her family has dirty secrets so why don’t they talk about them?
Maybe they need therapy. Merit then decides to take matters into her own hands, and that’s when things go downhill, and quickly.
But a world Without Merit is not a world her family wants to live in, and this novel is filled with humor and hope for our protagonist. It’s the story of a teenager living with depression, and author Colleen Hoover stresses the importance of family, communication and loving ourselves. Merit’s feelings of despair and sadness are relatable and realistic to the reader, and my heart went out to her character as she navigated a journey of self-discovery and self-love. Sometimes depression sneaks up on us; sometimes we don’t realize we have it, regardless of what others see around us, and that’s what Merit struggles with. Her romantic suitor in the story also helps her heal, and, like us, he falls for our unexpected hero.
I loved the way Without Merit unfolded and I enjoyed the beautifully flawed characters. I recommend this read to anyone who would relish in an authentic story about a girl with a dysfunctional family, who also happens to have depression, and to a reader who also loves an uplifting ending.
via Esperanza – Hope To Cope
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