The Year I Didn’t Eat

Samuel Pollen

The Year I Didn’t Eat tells the story of fourteen year old Max, a boy suffering from anorexia, over a year of his life through diary extracts and Max’s narrative. Drawing from the author’s own experience of being a teenage boy with the disease, it’s a heart-breaking, deeply affecting and surprisingly funny book, which sheds light on a subject often swept under the table.

Christmas Day is going to be super-hard. Like, the hardest day of my life so far.

Breakfast will be OK, because it’ll just be me, Robin, Mum and Dad, and they already know what I’m like. They won’t mind when I say no to coffee, and croissants, and the juice with bits in they’ve bought specially. They won’t mind when I just eat one slice of toast with the thinnest smear of low-fat spread.

Well, they will mind. But they won’t say anything.

But then, everyone else will arrive. Auntie Jess, Uncle Rich, James, Louise and Gran. And they’ve not seen me like this.

They don’t know what I’m like now.


One of The Telegraph’s best YA books of 2019.


Sensitive and heartfelt from the first sentence.

Lara Williamson
Lara Williamson

Samuel Pollen is a new and exciting voice in teen fiction. The Year I Didn’t Eat offers a sensitive and honest insight into what it’s like to live with anorexia, whilst also being full of warmth and heart. I loved it.

Lucy Powrie
Lucy Powrie

A delicate, nuanced take on navigating life whilst living with anorexia.

Melinda Salisbury
Melinda Salisbury

A super engaging novel about a boy with anorexia. I stormed through it.

Alice Oseman
Alice Oseman

The Year I Didn’t Eat offers invaluable, honest representation of an often overlooked group, situated harmoniously alongside buckets of humour and warmth. A hugely important story.

Savannah Brown
Savannah Brown

Max is a thoughtful, appealing narrator to whom readers will relate, and his story brings attention to an illness most commonly associated with girls and older teens or adults. This no-holds-barred, debut novel based on the author’s own experiences as a tween will be a significant addition to any library’s middle-grade or teen collection.

Booklist review, Starred
Booklist review , Starred

Telling the story in a candid, often humorous first-person narrative, debut author Pollen draws Max’s life and recovery process realistically as a series of steps and setbacks: obsessive running and calorie-counting, a Christmas meal plan gone awry, and Ana’s constant voice (“Do you really need to eat that?”) share billing with school humor, moments of hope, and a loving family life.

Publisher's Weekly
Publisher's Weekly

Pollen writes from the inside about anorexia, effectively communicating the feelings, obsessions, and difficulties Max experiences and making it clear that it is an equal-opportunity disorder. Readers will appreciate the raw and real portrayal of anorexia from a group often left out of the conversation.

Kirkus Reviews, Starred
Kirkus Reviews , Starred


Middle Grade

UK Publication

ZunTold, March 2019

US Publication

Bonnier / Yellow Jacket, February 2019

Rights Sales

UK & Commonwealth: ZunTold
US: Bonnier / Yellow Jacket
Romanian: Editura Gama
Slovak: Albatros Media