Published by Atria Books on October 3, 2017
Genres: Fiction, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
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.
Poignant and powerful, WITHOUT MERIT explores the layers of lies that tie a family together and the power of love.
Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing a mistake deserves is forgiveness.
“Far from ordinary” according to the synopsis, but I would say the Voss family puts the D in dysfunction. With every CoHo book I read, I become more and more aware that living in her must always be an adventure. Her imagination knows no bounds. I’m thinking that Without Merit must be the embodiment of what a typical day in Ms. Hoover’s daydreams HAVE to be like.
The challenge with a story like Merit’s, is to balance the heavy subject with fairness, light, and objectivity. While Merit may seem like a normal teenager, her life is anything but and the beginning of the story digs right with Merit purchasing a trophy and meeting Sagan. The unconventional meeting sets the tone for the entire story, and it was one that I could not put down.
The Voss family is not perfect. Each character carries baggage, each bag carries garments that belong to other family members. There are a lot of lies, misunderstandings, and defiance. It takes Sagan to bring to light the darkness that Merit truly feels. The more she falls for him the more bleak her life and her family appear. Eventually, it all has to come to a head. The journey is difficult for Merit but she has Sagan to lean on right? Ha! Not so fast. It’s never that easy.
Even though I kept thinking how crazy, quirky, weird this Voss family was, I eventually realized, they really aren’t that much different from all of us. They’re just wrapped up in a different package.
* I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book *
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2vtqsL8
Don’t miss Colleen on tour for WITHOUT MERIT:
Monday, October 2nd
THIRD PLACE BOOKS
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/137295906877328/
LOS ANGELES, CA
Tuesday, October 3rd
126 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1911946199130358
KANSAS CITY, KS
Wednesday, October 4th
WOODNEATH LIBRARY CENTER
8900 NE Flintlock Rd
Kansas City, MO 64157
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/174560183089713
Thursday, October 5th
ANDERSON’S BOOKSHOP – LA GRANGE
26 S La Grange Rd
La Grange, IL 60525
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/264445024062577
Friday, October 6th
2692 Madison Road
Cincinnati, OH 45208
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/113057092698266
Saturday, October 7th
351 W. Schuylkill Road Ste G16
Pottstown, PA 19465
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/352249878530498
NEW YORK, NY
Sunday, October 8th
NEW YORK COMIC CON
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
500 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1979991848924145
Tuesday, October 10
Southern Methodist University Bookstore
3060 Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX 75205
RSVP and details: https://www.facebook.com/events/746877452165014