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Forgotten Fire

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,403 ratings  ·  260 reviews
ANational Book Award Finalist.

In 1915 Vahan Kenderian is living a life of privilege as the youngest son of a wealthy Armenian family in Turkey. This secure world is shattered when some family members are whisked away while others are murdered before his eyes.

Vahan loses his home and family, and is forced to live a life he would never have dreamed of in order to survive. So
...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 9th 2002 by Laurel Leaf (first published 2000)
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Levon EVHS Gevorgyan If that teen can read Night, Anne Frank's Diary, and Thing's Fall Apart, then yes.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,515)
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Milo
To all those people who missed out learning about the Armenian genocide in school because of the US's trade with Turkey, this is for you. Educate yourself. The story is about a family that is torn apart as the killing begins; you are thrust in the midst of one of the most forgotten and gruesome genocides in history. The writing is engaging enough to keep you reading as you follow the survival of the boy Vahan through the pages. Though it is rather gory this book is easily one of the best histori ...more
Josh Stoll
This book is incredibly powerful. It deals with a forgotten period in history-- the Armenian genocide of the WWI era-- so it's already set itself apart. The writing is beautiful and appropriate for the subject matter. The main character, Vahan, is also a compelling one, as he is both terrified and determined.
Summary: Vahan and his family all live in the Armenian village of Burtis, and seem to live something of an idyllic life. Soon, however, his family members start disappearing, marking the sta
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Natalie
An illuminating look at the Armenian genocide, which we don't remember often enough.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Excellent book on the Armenian genocide in Turkey during World War I. Pair this with David Kherdian's The Road From Home.
Valen
VISIT MY BLOG: thereadersheartstring.blogspot.com

War, death, family and hope.

Heres' A Description:

'In 1915 Vahan Kenderian is living a life of privilege as the youngest son of a wealthy Armenian family in Turkey. This world of comfort and security is shattered when some family members are whisked away and others are murdered before his eyes. In too short a time, Vahan loses his home and family and, to survive, is forced to live a life he could never have dreamed of. Somehow Vahan's incredible s
...more
Carroll
Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian
This is one of the best books that I have read in a long time, simply because it is so well told and true to life. It is hard to think that the terrible actions in this book really took place, but the triumph of the main character over his circumstances is a hope to us all.
Major Characters:
Vahan Kenderian: A young (twelve years old when the book begins) upper-middle class Armenian boy who is thrust into a world he doesn’t recognize or understand when the Turks w
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Ryan
Adam Bagdasarian's Forgotten Fire is set during the Armenian genocide. The Armenian genocide is the genocide that actually led to the creation of the word "genocide." It was begun by the Turks, who were led by the "Young Turks," during the First World War. Wikipedia suggests that between 600 000 and 1.8 million people were massacred. Bagdasarian suggests here that about one million people were killed.

This young adult novel follows Vahan Kenderian, a fifteen year old born to wealth and power. How
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Erika
I read this book some months ago, and i can't stop thinking about it. It's a book about a very tough subject, genocide.

This book tells the story of a kid and his journey during the Armenian genocide that occurred in Turkey approximately in 1915, if I'm not mistaken. He came from a good and established family, his father worked for the Turkish government, they thought that because of this, they could have special privileges and not suffer through everything that was about to happen, but no. As Ar
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Jim Stewart
This novel, based on true events, is about a survivor of the Armenian genocide by the invading Turks. His name is Vahan and he is the youngest son of a rich Armenian family. Most of his family is murdered in the first third of the novel, and the pampered son becomes a refugee and fugitive, using wits, luck and the occasional sympathetic adult to get out of increasingly dire straights.
This novel is refreshingly free of sentiment and pretension. The prose is tight and unforced and results in a b
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Elisa
Rating: **** I thought this was a very well written book that was informative and gripping. Even though the Armenian Holocaust is a very depressing subject, I kept reading because the story was very moving.

Genre: historical fiction

Plot Summary: Vahan Kenderian is an Armenian living well in Turkey when the Turks start eradicating all Armenians. When most of his family is murdered Vahan begins a fight for survival and a journey that puts him in situations he never dreamed possible. Throughout his
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Andrew Aslnaian
There are two reasons to why I read this book. One being that the book is about my culture and the hardships they faced. Another factor is that both my grandparents have read it and recommend it to me.

Vahan Kenderian is the youngest son in a wealthy Armenian family that lives in Bitlis, Turkey. Obviously, his happiness and stability was removed by the fact that his family was destroyed. Vahan now must endure his upcoming quest towards survival knowing he will live a life in poverty throughout it
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Emilie W
It's a gripping work of historical fiction. Vahan falls from his life of priviledge and security gradually separated from his beloved family and cast out into the reality of a strong billowing hate--the Armenian/Turkish conflict. His story is one that will impact its readers. I felt most impacted during Sisak and Vahan's walk, Vahan wants mothing more than to surrender, but he summons power to persevere by pretending he was someone else--his father. I felt empowered reading about Vahan's inner s ...more
Shannon
Plot summary:
Vahan Kandarian has it all: a happy and blessed family, friends, a big home, riches; he never has to worry about his needs being met and exceeded. But all of that changes when the Armenian Holocaust begins. Literally overnight, this 12 year-old boy is demoted from prince to pauper. This novel is the story of his survival in chaotic and violent Turkey. What happens to young Vahan is unimaginable and depressing. He learns a hard lesson about character and dignity and what it really me
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Kristine Kouba
Plot Summary: A 12 year old boy grows up in a wealthy household, with family, friends, money, and laughter. A war/ destruction takes place in his town and the family endures several struggles. The boy sees his family members killed and taken, and he ends up becoming an orphan. He moves from town to town and travels.. he is trying to find safety, food and possibly people who will bring comfort to his empty life.

Main Characters: Vahan- careless in school, lacked disipline and character, wanted to
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Kara Danielsen
I thought this book was extremely well written. I loved that the book was written by the main character, Vahan Kenderian’s great nephew. My favorite type of books is nonfiction and although this is a realistic fiction, I enjoy that so much of it is true and as the author quotes, “I felt that the most important thing I could do was involve the reader emotionally.” The author listened to his great uncle’s recording of his life and decided to write a book about it. Vahan is from a wealthy Armenian ...more
Grace
Adam Bagdasarian, author of Forgotten Fire, did a superb job of fictionalizing the story of his great uncle's run for survival from the Armenian genocide during World War I. The author spares no expense in truly articulating the degradation of mind, body, and spirit as twelve year old Vahan Kenderian is taken from his home and forced to endure in several situations unfathomable for a child of that age - he sees his two older brothers shot to death; sees his sister, dead from taking poison, carri ...more
David Schaafsma
Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let’s not forget this. -Dave Eggers

Last night I finished this book about the Armenian genocide in the early twentieth century, now all but forgotten in the wake of other international genocides that are more recent and more written about. I knew about it, but didn't know details, and still don't in an broad sense, as this book is not about the political and social conditions in which these horrors happened. It's a tale m
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Molly
The story is brutal; the first fifty or one hundred pages walk the reader through bodies like detritus. Parents taken, killed, siblings shot and buried in gardens, suicide by poison, death by disease. Walking through the streets in escape, attempting a passive face while stepping through the massacre.

For me, the connotation of the word "family" has changed in the past several years, and this is the lens through which I read literature. When a decade ago, I could have read this passively, as an
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Ann Marie
I choose this book because of my step father...he fled Turkey when he was just a teenager and came to America...I never got to hear anything about his life in Turkey...this book was yet another way to say -- hey, everyone, every nationality, every culture, every religion, every blood line somewhere along the way was persecuted, tortured, starved, mistreated...everyone of us has it in our history...I think people need to be reminded...no one race can claim ownership of the worst of it...no one ra ...more
Konstantin
This somewhat tragic book is about a boy who lived through the Armenian Holocaust. His family disappears, one by one, and his life is turned to rubble; he struggles to survive. His once high regard is now diminished and peasant-like. The language is not impressive; it is child-like which gives the book a more genuine narrative. Something doesn’t feel right as one reaches the end, it is not complete and the ending is a cliff-hanger with no walkway to continue on. The story itself is unimaginative ...more
Tracy
This was well written and tells an important story about the Armenian Genocide. It is a quick read. I found myself looking up information and reading more about the genocide. The author fits many of the important details into the book though.
Bryan Willis
Brief Summary: It is the tale of an Armenian boy who grows up during the world war I persecution of Armenians by the Turks and manages to survive the various stages of the butchery.

Main Character: Vahan

Key Concepts: Survival, morality, faith, hope, and hatred. A twelve year old trapped amidst one of the least known and yet none the less savage attempts at genocide in human history. How would you feel, think, act, hate, and hope all at once when you are almost certain that your entire family has
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George C
I have read the book The Forgotten Fire witch was recommended to me by the library lady.
The book takes place mostly around Armenia and Turkey it shows through a true story of how the Turks murdered the Armenians even do it dint really spend much time on whats going on it was throughout a young boys point of view by the name of Vahan Kenderian who was the son of a respectable Armenian lawyer/politician but one day the Turks are gonna go out and kill his whole family and him and him alone will hav
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Jenna
My friends are big readers, they commonly ask me what I'm reading and what it's about so when my friend named X inquired about this book and what it was about I answered with "The Armenian genocide from the point of a fifteen year old boy." Though, I was surprised to hear her ask "What Genocide" (or something along the lines, I'm not a tape recorder).

Which got me researching. I have never recalled hearing of the genocide in school or even a mention of it in media. Odd, isn't it? During WW1 the
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Shushane Yesayan
I chose this book around the time of the Armenian Genocide remembrance because i wanted to learn more about the history of it through the eyes of someone around my age.Its about Vahan Kenderian, a 12 year old boy that has to survive trough the war on his own, after his family gets killed in front of his eyes. He has to do anything and everything he can to stay alive among the turks and all their cruel doings. My favorite quote from the book was “Who you are and what you believe in is your real h ...more
Ashot
May 20, 2014 Ashot added it
The reason i chose this book was because i read the summary and i noticed that it was about the Armenian Genocide. I knew the main things that happened during the genocide but i wanted to be more informed. The book is about 12 year old Vahan who is from a wealthy and honored family. His family gets taken by the gendermans during the genocide. His mom tells him to escape and try to survive. He does escape and survives by going through many difficulties. My favorite quote in the story was "Pick yo ...more
Raya
I chose to read this book because I was interested in reading a book about the Aremenian Genocide. This book is about Vahan Kenderian, the son of a rich Armenian living in Bitlis in the beginning of the 20th century. After the Ottoman Empire begins the massacre of Armenians, his family is torn apart and Vahan loses the all; he is alone on the streets trying to survive. This book had many, many powerful quotes but my favorite was, “The problem with loneliness is that, unlike other forms of human ...more
Kath
This book has been on my radar for six years, but other books kept getting in the way. I just had the chance to complete a course about the Armenian Genocide from Facing History and Ourselves. After studying the primary sources and other historical documents in the class, there was no way I could ignore this book anymore. It really was an unbelievable story of survival and a heart-breaking coming-of-age for Varhan, a 12-year-old Armenian whose family is systematically destroyed in 1915. It's a p ...more
Kay Pelham
The genocide of Armenians in Turkey prior to and during WWI was an episode of history that if I had heard about before, I did not remember. This is the story of the author's great-uncle which he chose to write as fiction. From the Q&A at the end of the book the author Adam Bagdasarian explains why he chose to write this as fiction: "I was always a fiction writer, so it was natural for me to do it that way. Nonfiction tends to be more detached and analytical, and I felt that the most importan ...more
Dina Donofrio
My 8th grader read this for school and recommended I read it. Very sad and sometimes hard to read historical fiction, but it was interesting and well written. I wanted to keep reading to find out what became of the narrator. Definitely shows the strengh of the human spirit in horrible circumstances.
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Adam Bagdasarian is an Armenian American writer for teenagers and young adults. His first novel, Forgotten Fire, became a National Book Award Finalist. His second novel First French Kiss: and other traumas gained as much success as his first one. He resides in New York City.

Son of Ross Bagdasarian creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks and younger brother of Ross Bagdasarian Jr.


I read My Name Is Aram,
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More about Adam Bagdasarian...
First French Kiss: And Other Traumas

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“The problem with loneliness is that, unlike other forms of human suffering, it teaches us nothing, leads us nowhere, and generally devalues us in our own eyes and the eyes of others.” 39 likes
“There is nothing these hands can hold worth having. They cannot hold the moonlight, or the melody of a song, or even the beauty of a woman. They can touch her face, but not her beauty. Only the heart can hold such things.” 12 likes
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