Publication date: November 16, 2021
The Year I Stopped Trying by Katie Heaney brings us an interesting premise: what would happen if the girl who always gives 110% in school and life just decides to stop trying? It starts as a mistake – Mary forgets to do her AP US History homework. When she sees the assignment crossed off in her planner but doesn’t actually have it done, she frets and is convinced the wrath of her teacher, parents, the entire school will come crashing down on her. But…it doesn’t. Her teacher doesn’t seem to even notice the assignment is missing, and life continues as normal. But for Mary, this is a life-altering development.
In the ensuing days and weeks, Mary begins to question a lot of things in her life, both in and out of school. She starts to question who she is without the structure of grades and rules and her role as a “good girl.” She is smart and funny (favorite quote: “Talk to an adult, everyone says. But what if the adult is stupid?”) and I really enjoyed following her journey of self-discovery. I do wish that the one discovery that she made towards the end of the book had been highlighted more, been made more of the plot earlier on, but that’s really my only quibble.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.