AUTHOR:  Colleen Hoover

GENRE:  Romance (Young Adult)

Available @ AMAZON

REVIEWER:  Pistol Annie

RATING:  2 Stars 


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.


You’ll get no argument from me that Colleen Hoover is a creative genius rolled into a talented and powerful writer. I’ve read each of her books and never felt the least bit of disappointment . . . until her latest. And still I’m not complaining about the plotting idea or the writing.

No, my problems are directed at the execution and the freaking colossal mess that is Merit and her family. I get “different” and I’m not unwilling to give it a try, but off-the-rails is another thing altogether.  It was just too much of a circus all the time – sometimes less is more. And every problem got swept away without much thought or resolution/solution or whatever.  Nothing ever felt real or believable when compared with real life situations.

And then there was Merit Voss, our leading lady.  She sparked nothingness in me.  I didn’t feel any connection with her.  Maybe it’s an age thing – but that girl just irritated the hell out of me from start to finish. That’s as good an excuse as I can give.  Believe me, I tried.  

Sagan, Merit’s male counterpart, was another matter.  I really would have appreciated more of his character’s background. And I think he could have added a bit more interest to the storyline. Less craziness and more relationship building. But he just got left behind in a cloud of teen lust.

Much ado about nothing – that’s all I could think of as the big secrets were unraveled.  And there are way too many secrets. Everybody has a secret!  And they generate far too much ill will and cynicism amongst the populace.

In the end, there were a few too many dangling ends unresolved that weren’t tied up to my satisfaction, leaving me with some significant “duh” moments.  

I can appreciate the fact that many readers will eat this one up and be completely giddy with praise.  And I hated the thought that this is my first negative review for a Hoover book.  Assigning any author, much less a favorite one, a 2-star rating isn’t something I do easily.  And I readily concede that I’m totally in the minority with my opinion.  You win some – you lose some.  Not all are winners.  And this one just wasn’t my cuppa.  

I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next CoHo fix, and keeping my fingers crossed it won’t be too long before I’m once again deeply involved in another of her special gems.  



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