BOOK REVIEW — Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

“There’s a lot of baggage in our family. I think sometimes you luck out and get a family you connect with. But sometimes. . .” I try to fight back an embarrassing and unexpected tear. “Sometimes you get stuck with family members that do nothing but make mistakes they never have to apologise or pay for.”

WOW ok, this book was really wonderful. I’m still feeling the impact even after a few hours. But before I say anything about the book itself, I wanted to explain my rating (which is 5 stars, btw). I didn’t finish this book with my usual ‘omg!’ reaction. It was something completely different. Difficult to explain even. Powerful even. For me, it hit a spot that not all books do. In fact, I haven’t felt this way after finishing a book in a really long time. Not everyone will feel this way of course, but I feel as though I needed to explain that. My 5 star rating needed to reflect that, even if just for myself. And the more I think about the events that unfolded in this story, the more that ‘feeling’ gets stronger. I really hope you guys get it too!!

Now, onto my review. Although the writing style we’re used to with Colleen Hoover changed with this book, it was easy to see that this was, in fact, the amazing work of the brilliant ‘Coho’. Hoover’s words are magical. Her writing effortless. And her stories are some of the very best I’ve ever read. And Without Merit is absolutely no exception.

I’ve had a few people ask me what ‘kind’ of book this is so I thought I’d address it here. For me, I feel it’s categorised as YA. More YA than Slammed and Hopeless in my opinion, but I would say it was on the NA side of YA rather than the early teens because of some really powerful topics with important messages within this book that I think a more mature teen would definitely benefit from.

“I’ve met a lot of people in my life, Merit, But you might be the strangest of them all.”

I think Colleen Hoover hits the mark with this one in the YA category. It took me completely by surprise and I am so happy that I stuck with my gut feeling and picked it up considering YA isn’t usually a go-to genre for me. But because it’s Colleen Hoover, I wasn’t going to pass it up. This story is incredibly well written and you don’t even get to appreciate how well thought out it really is until the events start to unfold. The planning that must have gone into writing a book to this quality would not have been easy at all. The topics discussed are extremely relevant in todays society, so I think it was incredibly well done from the authors part.

“Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing a mistake deserves is forgiveness”

As with all of Colleen Hoover’s books, it’s really best to go in without knowing anymore than the blurb. But i guess the most important thing to remember when reading this is that this book puts a lot of emphasis on a persons perspective. Keep an open mind for each and every one of these characters. Don’t judge. Let the story unfold and just take it all in. The words, the storyline, the characters and their actions and consequences all have meaning.

“You don’t get to decide what your life means to anyone else.”

For me, the best thing about this book was that I had no idea where it was going. Even up until the final chapter. It played out so simply in my mind, yet I knew each and every single character had their own battles. And until they opened themselves up to communication and understanding, the dynamics of this family were never going to improve. I think it sends a really important message to not only the kids of today, but adults of all ages, that what you see from where you’re standing may not necessarily be the same in someone else’s eyes.

I can honestly say that Colleen Hoover is an author I will literally stop my life for. I’ll send the kids to grandmas and throw a frozen lasagna in the oven for dinner, just so I can sit back and read until the very last word. Her stories have a way of changing me even in the slightest of ways. I feel as though I can connect with her characters on a level I don’t usually find easy when reading books. They are relatable, lovable, funny and charming. I think you guys will really get a lot out of this book. It’s definitely a really refreshing addition to the YA genre.

5 stars. 

WITHOUT MERIT (paperback)
WITHOUT MERIT (hardback)

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