My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1.5 days
Pages - 385
Source - Bought
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
Merit is a bit of an odd ball, she acquires trophies that she has never won, they make her feel better and mean something to her. Acquiring her newest she falls under the watchful eye of an attractive young man and has the most wonderful encounter. Things never go quite right for Merit, she comes from a very different family, she has many layers and in Without Merit we get to meet and see them all.
Oooft guys! Talk about dysfunctional family, cringe, laugh, mortified, shock, emotive there is a whole host of topics, themes, situations and some very questionable and shady behaviours. Thus us my first time reading Hoover, I kept seeing her books all over Tiktok, had never heard of her before despite all my years of reading.
Merit is the main character, a teen skipping school and just having a bit of an identity type issue, I can't say she is a lovable character immediately but as the story goes on and we see just what Merit's family life is like you appreciate a bit more how she is.
There is also unexpected bits of humour dottered throughout, I laughed, smirked and had a Oh God NAW moment or two, I absolutely cringed a bit too and laughed out loud. There are some seriously hard hitting and dark themes that are hard to signpost without giving massive spoilers so just a loosey goosey heads up. I have a few more Hoover books to read and very much looking forward to them 4/5 for this first time dance with this author.