Samuel Pollen’s honest and insightful YA novel, The Year I Didn’t Eat, is published in the US by Yellow Jacket today, and was published by Zuntold on Friday last week.

The debut is the first novel in ZunTold’s new Fiction as Therapy division, and the publication coincided with Eating Disorders Week, organised by the charity Beats.

The novel draws from Samuel’s own experience of being a teenage boy with anorexia, and originated from a post he wrote for Medium about managing Christmas with an eating disorder. It tells the story of fourteen year old Max, whose diary extracts give an open and honest account of his struggles with the disease…

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.

The Year I Didn’t Eat is a heart-breaking, deeply affecting and surprisingly funny book, which sheds light on a subject often swept under the table.

The novel has garnered a huge amount of media attention, and Samuel has had a full page spread in the Sunday Times Magazine and has appeared on Women’s Hour talking about the illness and his book.

It also received a starred review from Kirkus, who said: “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.”

Samuel grew up in Cheshire and now lives in London. He’s a writer, runner, crocheter and serial dog-botherer. He works as a copywriter and in his spare time photographs his fiancée’s cookery creations.