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The Year I Didn't Eat
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The Year I Didn't Eat

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  510 ratings  ·  103 reviews
"Some days are normal. Some days, everything is OK, and I eat three square meals, pretty much, even if those squares are ridiculously small squares. Some days, I can almost pretend there’s nothing wrong."

Max is 14, and anorexic. His eating disorder has pretty much taken over his whole life.

His brother, Robin, gives him a geocache for Christmas. Max hides it in the forest n
Published March 5th 2019 by Bonnier/Yellow Jacket (first published February 25th 2019)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Lucy Powrie
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.
Savannah Brown
Gentle without condescension, THE YEAR I DIDN’T EAT offers invaluable, honest representation of an often overlooked group, situated harmoniously alongside buckets of humor and warmth. A hugely important story.
Lizzie Huxley-Jones
I absolutely loved this important, beautiful little book.

Max loves birds, wants to be a zoologist, has just discovered geocaching, and has anorexia. The novel follows him through the realities of eating disorders -- how they feel and how they make your thoughts distort -- but also how he copes with changes in his family, new friends, a new school year. It is overall a beautiful novel, that ends with a positive note and hope for recovery.

In terms of content notes, BMIs are never mentioned. Max’s
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this book is destined to be an important middle grade novel.
Karen Barber
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max is a character you’ll feel for, but simply because his experiences sound exhausting.
When we first meet Max he’s struggling to deal with his illness. He gives it a name, Ana, and is acutely aware of the impact it has on his family. Max can’t pinpoint what started it, but he recognises that his constant calorie counting and obsessive attempts to control his food intake are destructive. He tries to go along with his counselling sessions, but that voice becomes stronger.
This was a sensitively to
Perla Torkan
"And here’s the important bit. The bit I got really, really wrong. Those people who are trying to help you? Those people who end up saving your life?
They don’t need to understand everything."

Táto kniha by mala patriť k povinnej literatúre.

“THE YEAR I DIDN’T EAT” by SAMUEL POLLEN is a beautiful and honest portrayal of a teenage boy with anorexia.

This was one of my most, if not my most, anticipated releases of 2019 because an own~voices novel featuring one of the most overlooked and ignored victims of eating disorders? Yes please!

This book follows Max, an aspiring zoologist, lover of birds, brother of Robin and anorexia sufferer.
Max was a protagonist I instantly connected with. He’s raw and relatable and so precious. I felt my h
I grew up thinking that anorexia and bulimia were only diseases that women got. Nobody directly told me this, I believed this because any book I read or anything I saw in the gossip magazines talked about how these diseases were affecting women, not men. We rarely talk about the men that deal with this horrible disease and this impacted how I understood eating disorders. When I was older I learned that both men and women suffered from these diseases. But still, it boggles my mind that I could ha ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the beginning, I struggled with a lot of things: the writing, the way the story was told but there was this undeniable drive to it that really made me connect to Max and his story. It is an incredibly important story, one as real and raw as it can be and if I ever become a teacher, this would surely be on my list.
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a woman in her fifties, I'm not the target market for this book. However, as a reader, and a person who appreciates fine writing, it's an absolute to pleasure to read this novel.

Men's and boy's mental health has been discussed a lot this year, and ZunTold believe that it's important that we keep talking and keeping it high on the radar.
The Year I Didn't Eat will be part of their 'Fiction As Therapy' arm, focussing on books with a therapeutic value.

I think it's safe to say that most people, wh
Jennifer Whitt
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read that allows reader to have a glimpse into the mind of a boy with anorexia. Cautious about sharing this book with impressionable students though.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never had anorexia, but disordered eating and twisty thinking are familiar ground. I'm glad the author warns about the content, because I knew to watch myself a little closer and to make sure I ate normally over the two days I was reading this.

I can't remember the last time I tore through a book in two days! I did it because I *couldn't not.* I sank into Max's story like a warm bath. It is human, it is relatable, and it will stay with me for a long, long time. The characters are well-develo
Gabriel Dylan
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping, poignant, and very well written read - sometimes funny, sometimes downright terrifying, always warm, I really enjoyed this debut. A very important book - as someone who works with young people I've learnt a lot from this, and I think this is a novel that every school library in the country should have a copy of. ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*TRIGGER WARNING* As the title and summary suggests, this book is about a boy who has anorexia, thus it may be triggering for some. There is also a fair amount of calorie counting too.

It’s taken me a while to write this review after finishing the book because I’ve been struggling to put my thoughts into words. This is because the book is such an incredible and powerful read that I want to make sure that I do the book justice. As someone who knew someone with anorexia when she was a teenager, I c
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-favourites
This is the first book I’ve read about someone who is living with an eating disorder. It is an incredibly honest story and the language used is not metaphorical nor does it try to poetically dress up with Max is going through. It is at times gut-wrenching. This being said, it is a very important, well written book and whilst I feel a little uneasy saying I enjoyed it, I am very glad I read it.

I think it’s important to add, however, that I found this book very difficult to read in parts as I rec
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Both heartwarming and heartbreaking at times, Samuel Pollen's debut novel has given me an insight into eating disorders that I never thought possible. Max's tale of self discovery, teenage angst and friendship is a delight to read.
Samuel writes with empathy and I immediately felt a strong connection to Max. I read this book in only a few sittings, driven by a desire to find out how Max's story ends, and was delighted by this novel which was entertaining, educational and ultimately emotionally re
Shauna Holyoak
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Someone doesn't need to understand you to save your life. They just need to care." A touching and authentic story about a teenage boy with anorexia. I grew to love Max, his loving and supportive family and all those in his network who rallied around him as he struggled with his eating disorder. So many kids will benefit from this beautiful story. ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, difficult-subject
I loved listening to this young man's voice in this book. Most people associate anorexia with teenage girls and young adult women but boys and men get this too. I don't have anorexia or any type of eating disorder but I do hear some of the words that Max heard. Most of the time it's "You're not good enough". How many others hear that too? My heart goes out to these people who are dealing with issues of food. Of course, it isn't the food but the "out-of-control so I have to have control over some ...more
A fast paced read. I think it's the first book I read where it is a young man who has anorexia. Good perspective to show anyone can have the disease. I hope Samuel Pollen writing helps others know there is help out there and to ask for it. ...more
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was shookth. It was beautiful, moving and so freaking educational all at once!! If you are passionate about mental health, you should read this!
Lesley Robinson
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good Young Adult book, not suitable for younger (primary aged) children at all. Lots going on for the main character, Max. He's anorexic and struggling with relationships with his parents, brother and school friends. Told through 1st person chapters and private letters. Enjoyable and quite a quick read. ...more
Potsdam Public Library
I understood so little about this that I was surprised it was about a boy -- I now understand so much more. Fantastic read.
Sarah Dawson
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: t-realistic
Honest look at anorexia from a underrepresented point of view. Tragic and hopeful, brutal and touching.
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good read. Thank you to the author for writing this.
Lynn Schlatter
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Jr high about having anorexia and with a male perspective . I liked the letter format and the geocaching. I can understand his focus on eating, what, when and how much.
Simon J Alvey
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a deeply moving book, and one that is characterised by profound empathy and kindness. It is a book that effectively shows how anorexia is a disease of the mind, and as such can also as emphatic telling of anexity and depression. But its profound good nature is most clear in its heart breaking portrayal of parents desperate to make right an awful situation. It also has some of the finest author's notes I've seen in a book. This is an important piece of YA fiction and deserves a place in e ...more
Marisa Noelle
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book capture the very essence of anorexia and what it feels like to have an eating disorder. Done in a heartfelt way that produces both laughter and tears, this is a great book for any teen struggling with their body image.
Cerys Weston (Library of Cerys)
I was gifted an advanced reader copy of this book by ZunTold Publishing, though all my thoughts in this review are my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains descriptions of disordered eating, anorexia and calorie numbers.

This book was totally immersive and engaging from the beginning. I believed Max's story, and that is so important in a book like this. I haven't read anything about what it is like to have an eating disorder, and I neither have an eating disorder nor am I aware of anyone I know
Ms. Yingling
Public Library Copy

Fourteen-year-old Max has been struggling with anorexia for a while. His family is doing all of the right things: he's in therapy, they don't make a big deal about food, and his brother Robin is especially supportive. Still, while he is generally holding things together, there are rough moments. When things don't go according to plan (like Christmas dinner with relatives), he gets very upset. Things are going fairly well at school, and he has good friends, as well as a new gir
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