Book Review: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover **CONTAINS SPOILERS**

NOTE: This review contains spoilers. If you have not read this book, come back when you have. If you want my spoiler free review, click here. Seriously. I’m about to spoil the shit out of this book. Look away. Go.


Okay. So if you’ve read this book, you know what the plot is, so I’m just going to leave that out. I’m basically going to copy and paste my spoiler-free review and elaborate on that a little bit. So if you read both, I’m sorry if it’s repetitive. I just want to have the two complete reviews.

My Rating: ★★★★★

Genre(s): Young adult


  • This is completely different from anything Colleen’s ever written
  • These characters were each complex in their own ways, making them extremely lifelike
  • The message of forgiveness and understanding is really strong
  • That cameo!
  • It was written by Colleen and let’s be real, she could write gibberish on the greasy back of an old takeout paper bag and I would still read it
  • It was a refreshingly different type of read, but it was still so full of feels
  • “Bitch you”
  • She gets me every damn time with these awesome covers
  • Books about depression will never stop being important; especially when it’s a character who does not realize she is depressed


  • I’m not sure there are any, to be perfectly honest
  • Okay well maybe Merit was sort of a brat

My Thoughts: Where do I even start with this book? This is, obviously, quite different from what we normally get from Colleen Hoover. I was honestly just a little hesitant going into this book. I didn’t go in blind, per se, but I read as little about it as I could because I wanted to be surprised. But I was still hesitant. Why change something that works well, right?

So I picked this book up a day early. After reading that Colleen didn’t really care if we bought her books early because she’s already been a bestseller, I drove straight to B&N and waited for them to open and bought it. And started reading in traffic on the way home. Don’t tell my husband.

The journey this book took me on was one that I don’t think I really expected. I laughed, my heartstrings were tugged, I was angry, I was worried. The whole spectrum of emotions ran through me, basically all within the second half of this book. This isn’t just a romantic love story, this is a story about family love, and self love.

And every single character in this book has something that we can love or admire about them. Their personalities are all different. Right down to four year old little Moby. But together they form this great unit of characters that are very fun to read.

The way that mental illness is touched on in this book is very important. First, we have their mother and her phobias (and later, her hypochondria and stuff). Then we have Luck, who admits he’s depressed and that he takes medication for it. Then there’s their dad, who has Tourette’s. Then there is Merit, who realizes and comes to terms with the fact that she is depressed. There’s such a wide range of realization and manifestation of these illnesses, and that is so important because not everyone who has a mental illness is going to have it the same way.

And while many teens have had suicidal thoughts, sometimes it really does take that attempt or that urge to make them realize, “Okay, maybe there’s something wrong here…” And once they accept that, it’s easier to accept other things around them.

I wrote a book about depression. Specifically about a girl with an odd family dynamic who didn’t know she was depressed. It showed up in her life in an unusual way. And Colleen fucking blew that out of the water and I’m so proud of her for it. 

I think that this is a book that every parent should go out and buy their teenager. Right now.

Their feelings our valid. All of our feelings are valid. And it’s important to know this.

Also, Sagan’s story broke the fuck out of my heart. I hope we get a novella where he gets that call someday.

Quotes [Only listing a few here because I loved the whole book]:

  • “Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.”
  • “We’re all a degree of fucked-up.”
  • “Bitch you.”
  • “Your emotions are valid, Merit. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. You’re the only one who feels them.”


Colleen Hoover

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