Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Never Fall Down” as Want to Read:
Never Fall Down
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Never Fall Down

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  7,362 Ratings  ·  1,612 Reviews
When soldiers arrive in his hometown in Cambodia, Arn is just a kid, dancing to rock ’n’ roll, hustling for spare change, and selling ice cream with his brother. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, Arn's life is changed forever. He is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp; working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Never Fall Down, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
jo
Dec 13, 2012 jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Alyse Liebovich
Oct 25, 2012 Alyse Liebovich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca McNutt
Personally I think the Cambodian Genocide is an event that needs to be taught more in schools in North America, not to scare kids, but to show them how some people survived, beat the odds and lived to share their story of this frightening 1970's turmoil. Never Fall Down is a fictional memoir based on true events and based on a real person, a boy who lived through the horrific years of the Pol Pot Regime. It's disturbing, but well-written and undeniably important.
TL
Feb 22, 2017 TL rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part audiobook via overdrive app, part paperback
===

“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.”

“All the time you fighting, you think only of how to survive. All the time you survive, you wonder why you don’t die. But now my life can be something different. Now, in Ameri
...more
Ken
Nov 21, 2012 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Susana
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
...more
Stephen
Jul 28, 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
...more
Emma
Sep 14, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Grace
Dec 29, 2015 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
...more
Elise  (The Book Actress)
4 stars. This is one of the most impactful memoirs I’ve ever read.

Never Fall Down chronicles the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, a survivor of the communist revolution in Cambodia. This revolution led to the deaths of around 1/4 Cambodia’s population, a higher proportion of the population than almost any other genocide.

In terms of emotional impact, the book hits hard. We see the journey from relative peace to constant violence firsthand here, and it’s just as shocking as you’d expect.

The writin
...more
adrian anderson
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
Sonja
Aug 25, 2012 Sonja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Skip
May 02, 2015 Skip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Burcu
Oct 26, 2016 Burcu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yazarın diğer kitabında da olduğu gibi hem nefret ettiğim hem de çok sevdiğim bir kitap oldu bu da.
Nefret etmiş olma sebebi Amerika'nın gereğinden fazla övülmesi. Dünya üzerinde yaptıklarının sebebinin iyilik olmadığını gayet iyi biliyoruz. Ama bunu geçersek. Kamboçya'da yaşanan bir vahşeti çok çarpıcı bir şekilde anlatıyor.
Amerika mevzusunu umursamadan okumanızı tavsiye ederim.
Prerna
Sep 29, 2015 Prerna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved it from start to finish, an amazing comfort read but still contains many places to take notes and dig deeper.
Louise
Oct 28, 2012 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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’
...more
Evie
***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
...more
Richie Partington
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
...more
Amy Sherman
Nov 27, 2012 Amy Sherman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Ally
Aug 30, 2013 Ally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems as if Patricia McCormick intended on having her book pull her readers in by some of the very emotional things happening to the main character Arn, but in some cases she pushed her readers away. Throughout most of her book she kept her readers guessing and wondering what would happen next to Arn, making you not want to put it down.

Arn Chorn-Pond is the main character of this historical fiction book who lived and survived his life through the Cambodian Genocide. It really demonstrates th
...more
Alicia
It took me quite a while to get used to the voice of Arn, the main character, a Cambodian boy who has been taken and forced to work in the country during the Cambodian genocide under the watchful gazes of the Khmer Rouge. During the four years he spent working, playing music, and trying to keep himself alive, he was separated from his aunt and siblings and tried to form relationships, but with so much death and destruction, many of these relationships ended in death. For a young boy, this was tr ...more
Anne Osterlund
Apr 02, 2013 Anne Osterlund rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lara
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
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
...more
B.A.  Wilson
Jun 14, 2014 B.A. Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Trisha
Oct 10, 2012 Trisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
...more
Pamela
McCormick captured the voice I know so well - that of my first boyfriend, who like the main character Arn survived the Khmer Rouge era. When I read this book, I heard from my own past, how the Cambodians I knew put English words together, structured sentences, painted pictures. I admire the way McCormick used poetic devices such as the tiger in Arn's heart to show the raging emotions imprisoned inside - for a time. Even as much as I enjoyed McCormick's mastery of story-writing, Arn's tale impres ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: #12 - Never Fall Down 1 3 Jan 23, 2015 03:51AM  
Wild Things: YA G...: November 2013 Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick 4 42 Aug 07, 2014 05:34AM  
Epic Reads Book Club: This book is hard to read. . . 2 47 Jan 25, 2014 07:00PM  
Epic Reads Book Club: Survival 1 14 Jan 13, 2014 10:21AM  
  • The Good Braider
  • No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller
  • Endangered (Ape Quartet #1)
  • The Final Four
  • In Darkness
  • Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95
  • Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust
  • A Moment Comes
  • Now Is the Time for Running
  • My Book of Life by Angel
  • Shadow on the Mountain
  • The Wicked and the Just
  • A Certain October
  • The Unfortunate Son
  • Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am
  • October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard
  • Beneath a Meth Moon
  • Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon
26250
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
More about Patricia McCormick...

Share This Book



“You show you care, you die.

You show you fear, you die.

You show nothing, maybe you live.”
22 likes
“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
More quotes…