June Teen Book of the Month – The Year I Stopped Trying

The Year I Stopped Trying

By Katie Heaney

256 pages, Gr 8+

Mary Davies misses an assignment and expects the wrath of her teacher and her world to fall crumbling before her. When nothing significant actually happens, she starts to wonder what else can she stop caring about and how long it will go unnoticed.  Mary then starts an experiment where she deliberately doesn’t do homework or study. The experiment slowly evolves into her defying her over-zealous manager at La Baguette, changing her look, and pursuing the school’s bad boy.  As the good student and responsible child of the family, Mary finds “not trying” to be more challenging than she thought, and has to work to keep it up:

"Everything I do – almost everything, anyway – I do to prevent a later guilt over not having done it. Sometimes I know where the guilt comes from: my parents or my teachers or the dentist or the law. But sometimes I can’t figure it out. Sometimes I do things in such a specific way, so convinced that it’s right, but I can’t figure out where it comes from. Nobody told me I had to wake up at exactly 5:35, but I know when I hit snooze (which I’ve only done twice in my life), I wake up feeling like the laziest scumbag on planet Earth."  (Heaney 118)

Funny and romantic in unexpected ways, this is a story that will have you wondering what it actually means to stop trying and what exactly would happen if you tried.

Check out other Teen Picks of the Month. 

Teens Read Pick of the Month List created by SCCLD LIBRARIANS FOR TEENS

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