The Year I Didn’t Eat

Samuel Pollen. Yellow Jacket, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4998-0808-7
Max is a 14-year-old who’s devoted to friends and family, fascinated with ornithology and geocaching, and interested in the new girl at school, who seems to like him one minute but mocks him the next. He’s also a boy with a “monster” inside him, telling him not to eat. In order to “externalize the disease,” something his therapist thinks will help him, Max calls the monster Ana (short for anorexia—“Imaginative name, right?”) and starts writing to her in a journal, confiding his day-to-day life alongside his most troubling thoughts and his feelings about recovery. Max has a sturdy support system in his well-meaning parents, older brother, and therapist, but it’s up to Max to gain control of Ana. 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. Ages 10–14. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/26/2018
Release date: 02/12/2019
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