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Never Fall Down

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  6,904 Ratings  ·  1,540 Reviews
This National Book Award nominee from two-time finalist Patricia McCormick is the unforgettable story of Arn Chorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge.

Based on the true story of Cambodian advocate Arn Chorn-Pond, and authentically told from his point of view as a young boy, this is an achingly raw
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
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Sarah I actually really enjoyed the book. I understand what Dawn said, it was very gruesome and hard to handle at times, but I think that it was worth it.…moreI actually really enjoyed the book. I understand what Dawn said, it was very gruesome and hard to handle at times, but I think that it was worth it. This book is based on true events, and it is important to know about our world and its history. People should know what happens during these genocidal events and then we can learn from them. You should know that these things actually happened to people and still happen to people in modern times. I understand how it is terrible to read about what people had to go through simply to survive through a day, but think of the people that actually had to live through these circumstances, it is pretty safe to say that they had to go through so much worse. (less)
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormickThe Translator by Daoud HariTears of the Desert by Halima BashirFirst They Killed My Father by Loung UngExecution by Hunger by Miron Dolot
Books for Genocide Project
1st out of 110 books — 44 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenCode Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire SáenzThe Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterEvery Day by David Levithan
Mock Printz 2013
33rd out of 87 books — 510 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 19, 2013 jo rated it it was amazing
general piece of advice to anyone who approaches the blank box with the intention of writing a pleasing-to-the-eye review: do not read one of mike reynolds' reviews first. it will make you walk away from the computer in utter discouragement.

arn chorn-pond was a young child when the khmer rouge decided to unleash on cambodia a mayhem that resulted in the extermination of one quarter of the population. notice that the khmer rouge were themselves cambodian. since the book is told from arn's point
Alyse Liebovich
Jan 02, 2013 Alyse Liebovich rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lit
I knew about a movie titled The Killing Fields for years, but never knew that the movie was about one of the world's worst genocidal atrocities. This past summer I spent some time in both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia during a month-long backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. We went to the Killing Fields at the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, and I walked around in a stunned silence as I listened to the audioguide in my ear describe what I was looking at: The Killing Tree, where the Khmer R ...more
Nov 23, 2012 Ken rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, finished-in-2012
As was true with her National Book Award finalist, Sold, Patricia McCormick uses her fiction writing skills and her journalistic writing ability to share a child victim's harrowing tale. In this case it is Arn Chorn-Pond, survivor of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. Never Fall Down, named for one of the first things the captured boy learned to survive, travels the full arc of his experience, from the last days of normalcy before the Khmer Rouge takeover through the years of captivity, force ...more
The rich, they chase you if you steal their thiNgs. Poor people, they the one who share.

All the old clothes, our old lifE, one big pile, is on fire now. And gone.

"To live with nothing in your stomach and a gun in your face, is that liVing or is that dying a little bit every day?"

Be like the grass. BEnd low, bend low, then bend lower. The wind blow one way, you blow that way.

But now the Khmer Rouge, they win. They kill [my] family in my mind.

Death is just my daily liFe now.

I let him
Jan 10, 2016 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I could have probably finished this in one sitting. However the story and the horrifying aspects of the crimes comitted by the Khmer Rouge made me stop reading once in a while. I just wanted to put the book down now and then and think about what this must have meant for the people who had to live under this "rulership". What did it mean for the children, the mums, the rich, the poor, even the people who were part of this movement?
It is highly disturbing and yet so important to read about it. I a
Jul 30, 2016 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't say that this was an easy read due to the horrific subject matter but it was a quick read and hard to put down. It's quite hard to get used to, to start with, as it's written from a child's point of view and in pidgin English but the subject matter is extremely gruesome throughout. It's based on a true story of a survivor of what happened in Cambodia whom the author extensively interviewed so is like a mixture between fact and fiction. Very glad that I have read it despite the unsettling s ...more
Arielle Walker
I... I really don't know how to review this. Or rate it. Will need to give it some thought...
Paul  Hankins
"As a child, I never imagined good people in the world. . ."

In 1979, fourteen-year old, Arn Chorn-Pond, wandered into a United Nations camp on the border of Thailand. He was adopted by a minister. A year later, Arn Chorn, now Arn Chorn-Pond was a New Hampshire high school student.

In Patricia McCormick's newest release, we read about Arn Chorn-Pond's experiences as an eleven-year-old in "The Killing Fields." Forced by Khmer Rouge soldiers to play their revolution songs, Arn must learn not only to
Sep 14, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: guest-reviews
Review by Shelly

I have to say that I do not know a lot about Cambodia and the war that went on there so was fully engrossed from page one. The book is written as Arn and takes on his speech patterns and language which did take me awhile to get used to but once I did it was like he was speaking to you through the pages and you went on his journey with him. And what a journey it was. Sometimes it was brutal and was very hard to read especially when it focussed on the children and how they were tor
May 02, 2015 Skip rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
McCormick writes a novelized version of Arn Chorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge. Somehow Arn manages to ingratiate himself with others, first through music and then through volleyball. The story is heart-wrenching and very brutal/violent: life was cheap in Southeast Asia in the mid-1970s. I did not really like the pidgin English used either.
Aug 25, 2012 Sonja rated it it was amazing
One day, Arn is a street-wise child - catching frogs, gambling a little, and sneaking into movies in his city in Cambodia. Then, the Khmer Rouge took control of the country, forced Arn and all the citizens into work camps. His life became defined by starvation, endless labor, and death. Arn spent four years in the heart of what became known as The Killing Fields, surviving partly because of his skill as a musician and partly because he told himself just never fall down.

Because it is told wholly
Oct 10, 2015 Prerna rated it it was amazing
loved it from start to finish, an amazing comfort read but still contains many places to take notes and dig deeper.
Richie Partington
Nov 05, 2012 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: NEVER FALL DOWN by Patricia McCormick, HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, May 2012, 224p., ISBN: 978-0-06-173093-1

“With their hearts they turned to each other’s heart for refuge”
-- Jackson Browne, “Before the Deluge”

“The Khmer Rouge, they want the name, the background of everyone here. But the Khmer Rouge themself, they all the same. All black uniform. All grim face. All name ‘Comrade.’ Comrade Soldier. Comrade Elder. Comrade Cook.
“In my mind, I give them names. The one who steal is Com
Amy Sherman
Feb 07, 2013 Amy Sherman rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-reviewed
The usual questions driving personal reviews--did you like this book; what did you like/not like about it; why did or didn't you--must, I feel, be dispensed with in this case. There are two questions I do feel are worth asking:

First, is the book worthwhile of its topic?
And the answer of course is yes. To explain the question, however, let me say that I hesitated to begin reading this, confused and not sure exactly how the book would unfold--was it fiction or non-fiction? Why was it written by an
***Originally posted to: Bookish Book Blog |YA and Adult Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Guest Posts, Giveaways and news! ^___^

Never Fall Down was one absolutely devastating read. I was not prepared for its searing authenticity and intensely emotional message; it took me by surprise, broke my heart to pieces and left me drained and breathless, but also very satisfied and enriched. Reading this book was an experience like no other. Profoundly harrowing and cathartic, Never Fall Down tells a true
Anne Osterlund
Apr 04, 2013 Anne Osterlund rated it it was amazing
Arn isn’t satisfied with being ordinary. He’s always striving to become “just a little bit famous.” When the Khmer Rouge march into his city and order all of the citizens to march out, this is the only element of Arn’s life that doesn’t change.

Separated from his aunt, his sisters, and ultimately everyone Arn can remember from his previous life, he is forced to work the rice fields of Cambodia. To pretend he doesn’t know about the bodies piling up behind the Mango Grove. And eventually, to play m
Oct 28, 2012 Louise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
My Review:

Arn Chorn-Pond is only 11 years old. In his town of Battambang, Cambodia the people come out at night and make music. Music is everywhere. Rich people and poor people alike congregate together and play radios, record players and eight-track cassettes. In Arn’s town, “music is like air, always there.” The men and ladies stroll through the park to catch the newest songs. Men play cards while ladies sell mangoes, noodles, wristwatches and other wares. Kids fly kites and eat ice cream, it’
Really powerful and horrifying book. I read Chanrithy Him's When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge a couple years ago, so I had an idea of what to expect from this book, but the knowing didn't make the reading any easier. Though at first I had a little trouble with the dialect, I quickly got used to it, and for the most part, it stayed consistent enough that I completely forgot about it in the midst of Arn's story. I think Patricia McCormick has done a fantastic job of transl ...more
B.A.  Wilson
Apr 02, 2016 B.A. Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This is a difficult story to read, due to the fact that I typically read to escape, and it's a story of Cambodia genocide. When you think it can't get worse or become mote painful to read, it does.

However, I can't believe how much I didn't know about this part of history. It also reminds me how lucky I am to have grown up in a better time and place. Everyone has struggles and trials, but I cannot imagine living or surviving under such circumstances. When I read a story like this, it reminds me
Joyce Yattoni
I listened to this story through Overdrive. The reason I picked this book is because I was intrigued by a character in another novel....Trouble by Gary Schmidt. A Cambodian immigrant Chay Chouan who accidentally kills an affluent teen. The town is racist against the Cambodian immigrants, as a result Chay and his family are hated on.

Never Fall Down is a memoir of a Cambodian refugee who at a very young age was forced to fight for the Khmer Rouge, a Cambodian communist guerrilla faction. Arm is r
Sovichea Kon
Jul 27, 2014 Sovichea Kon rated it it was amazing
This small 216 pages book, I give it a five. Even though this book is short, but it described a long journey of how did Arn Survive at the darkest age of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia 3 years 9 months and 20days. This book is totally awesome and can introduce us to the feeling of people that time. Try it. I bet you really like it and I feel like I am him by the plot that Arn escaped and got adopted in America.
Jabiz Raisdana
I have been reading this book for the last few hours, and it hasn't been easy. Not because the language is difficult or the "plot" complex, but because it is a harrowing grotesque look at the events of the Cambodia genocide in the 1970's.

As an English department, we have discussed whether this book might be too harsh for MS students. And my first reaction is yes. It is. Too harsh. But I feel we must admit that atrocities like these are too harsh for any human being to witness, and that is exact
Feb 03, 2015 Trisha rated it really liked it
I know very little about the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge. But the horror and awful things humans will do to other humans - sometimes it's just too much to believe.

But this is an important story - and should be told Although it's hard to read, although it breaks your heart - it's important for that very reason. We should remind ourselves what others have done and remember the horror - so we never let it happen again.

This is an amazing story told from th
adrian anderson
Aug 30, 2013 adrian anderson rated it it was ok
Never Fall Down attempts much but has obvious shortcomings. Set durring 1970's Cambodia, protaganist Arn is forced to leave his city and is seperated from his Family under the Cambodian militant group Khmer Rouge. He eventually uses his talents to his advantage, but is forced to become a soldier. McCormick attempts to be realistic and writes as Arn by using broken english, which wasn't as effective as she might have hoped. Also, background details on the Khmer Rouge and genodcide in the time per ...more
Jan 08, 2014 NotoriousGOT rated it it was amazing
Read this from start to finish in one sitting and is now the second book to ever make me physically cry. I had no pre-existing knowledge of the Cambodian Genocide and now I after reading this I feel embarrassed that I didn't know about the atrocities committed. This is an important novel, one that I believe everyone, young adult and adult alike, should read.
Oct 24, 2015 Kimia rated it really liked it
This book was really amazing. Arn's story is absolutely astonishing but also very lucky. I liked how the author wrote it almost exactly how Arn was telling his story even though it sometimes did not make sense. The book may not be for everyone since it is very sad, but it really is a great book.
Mar 04, 2014 Marg rated it it was amazing
Never Fall Down is a difficult but powerful read. Set in Cambodia during the time of Pol Pot and The Killing Fields, it is based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond whose childhood changes overnight when the Khymer Rouge, a radical Communist regime, marched whole urban populations in the country out into rural areas and labor camps. He is eleven years old at the time.

A glimpse of his former childhood with family, friends and normal activities turns suddenly into a harrowing account of his time i
Megan Lamb
Feb 25, 2015 Megan Lamb rated it it was amazing
Arn begins this journey as a kid, but when soldiers take over his hometown and separate him from his family, he quickly learns that being a kid is not an option. In 1975, genocide rippled through Cambodia. Patricia McCormick takes this historical event and tells the story of a boy who could do nothing but survive, even if that meant succumbing to the evils surrounding him. Arn's story shows how surviving physically can lead to the death of your soul.

For me, Never Fall Down is so powerful becaus
Diego Herrera
Apr 27, 2016 Diego Herrera rated it it was amazing
I think this book was very interesting because the point of view it felt like the first person and like I was actually there and how he talked wasn't correct because he had no education and I really enjoyed that because if he would have corrected it the book would have been really plain and not enough things supporting he was poor and only the rich people go to school. I recommend this book to Alejandro because there's guns and people dying.
Jared Braun
Apr 04, 2016 Jared Braun rated it it was amazing
The story Never Fall Down is about a horrible mass killing by the Khmer Rouge. The author Patricia McCormick really gives you a eye opening experience of what happened in 1975. She writes this story in a little boy’s perspective, Arn Chorn-Pond. The story is about survival and takes place in a pretty big-sized village in Cambodia. When the soldiers come and march, the entire village out of town killing people, making everyone leave their lives. Everyone has to start a new life in camps outside t ...more
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Wild Things: YA G...: November 2013 Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick 4 42 Aug 07, 2014 05:34AM  
Epic Reads Book Club: The narrator's voice 3 26 Jan 28, 2014 08:04AM  
Epic Reads Book Club: This book is hard to read. . . 2 47 Jan 25, 2014 07:00PM  
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Patricia McCormick is a journalist and writer. She graduated from Rosemont College in 1978, followed by an M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1986 and an M.F.A. from New School University in 1999. Her first novel for teens was Cut, about a young woman who self-injures herself. This was followed by My Brother's Keeper in 2005, about a boy struggling with his brother's ad ...more
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“You show you care, you die.

You show you fear, you die.

You show nothing, maybe you live.”
“Long time I been on my own, but now really I'm alone. I survive the killing, the starving, all the hate of the Khmer Rouge, but I think maybe now I will die of this, of broken heart.” 13 likes
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