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Just Don't Fall: How I Grew Up, Conquered Illness, and Made It Down the Mountain

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  916 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Read Josh Sundquist's posts on the Penguin Blog.

One moment Josh Sundquist was your typical energetic and inquisitive nine year- old boy. The next, his entire life changed when he was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a particularly virulent cancer strain that would eventually claim Josh's left leg. Told in a wide-eyed, winning, heartbreaking voice, Just Don't Fall is the s...more
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published January 21st 2010 by Viking Adult (first published December 17th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,026)
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Josh Sundquist is a funny funny man. I've been a subscriber of his YouTube videos for a while now (Game of Thrones for Math Nerds is great, as is his advice on how a man should choose and wear a suit), and I bought his book to get a background for the videos I have enjoyed so much. It succeeds on every heartwarming, cringe-inducing, literally laugh-out-loud-and-quote-to-your-friends level.

Sundquist narrates his life story (from early childhood to just after his experience with the Paralympics i...more
J. Aleksandr Wootton
I don't believe I've ever finished a book before and thought, "I wish I'd read that sooner."

But with Just Don't Fall, I did. I still do.

I had every intention of buying this book the day after it came out, but "things came up" and here I am, with the second edition, two years later. But that's not what I mean.

I mean that I wish this story, Josh's story, in all of its depth and wide-eyed detail, had been a part of me sooner. I wish I had let it begin shaping me two years ago.

There are aspects of J...more
Jan 09, 2010 Josh added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Thanks for checking out my book on Goodreads! Please email me anytime at or hit me up on Facebook at
I LOVED this guys voice. You know how little kids "tell it how it is" and they see the whole world from a different angle? He remembered and captured this view point in a way that was both entertaining and inspiring. And maybe that's because he never lost that view point- maybe it's just him. I laughed out loud several times while reading and there were lots of nice thoughtful musings and stories.

I had two-dozen little post-it notes sticking out of the book after I finished- flagging little line...more
The book Just Don’t Fall by Josh Sundquist is an inspiring true story about a man who had his leg amputated at the age of 9. His leg was amputated because he had a cancer that was spreading through his leg so rapidly that that was the only way to save his life. Josh was just a normal 9yr old who loved soccer. He really wanted to play soccer but once he got his leg amputated that dream was over. Instead of living the rest of his life in self pity he decided to do something with his life. Instead...more
Four Book Freaks
Review: 4 Stars!
I would just like to start off by saying, the author of this book has a YouTube channel that I am a HUGE fan of, so I am sorry if this review is unintentionally biased… (Check out his channel: This book was awesome! It was so inspiring! I am not a huge fan of this genre, but I loved this book. It amazed me how persistent Josh was throughout the story. It was one of those books that was really sad, but you didn’t cry because it was so funn...more
Loved loved loved. I have much in common with the author: from the Shenandoah Valley, a W&M alum and in treatment for cancer at UVa while my sister was in treatment. I remember Josh well and it is such a joy to read about his journey. I sincerely hope that this is the first of many books by him.
I first saw Josh on You Tube at the National FFA Convention as a motivational speaker. I was so intrigued by his upbeat talk to teenagers that I wanted to read his book. The book is very uplifting and easy to read.
Dana Suaifan
I liked the book, even though it took me a decade to finish. I thought I might lose interest but thankfully not. Josh made me cry.
interesting perspective of a kid going through cancer. this is not a downer of a book but very inspiring
Hanny G
I didn't expect this book to be centered around Josh's faith in God but I really really liked it!
4 out of 5 stars

I’m not the type of person who enjoys nonfiction. I’ve tried to read some motivational, self-help type books before and the end result is almost always the same: I don’t finish them. I can’t help it, I get bored. I start out with good intentions, and I may even be enjoying the book, but at some point I almost always lose interest. I think that’s because there’s no story, nothing to keep me wondering about what’s going to happen next. And that’s fine, some people are into that kin...more
Sash Bacon
Having already been a fan of Josh Sundquist on Youtube, I knew what to expect coming into this book. I actually listened to the audio book (on Josh's channel he has the first half for free, and I enjoyed it so much I went and got the book to finish it!

Josh definitely has the right attitude about life, he is a model of perseverance and is a huge inspiration. Josh also did a wonderful job telling the beginning of the story from a child's perspective through language and dialogue. His child-person...more
Just Don’t Fall Book Review

Just Don’t Fall by Josh Sundquist is an enthralling novel about a boy overcoming his hardships as a child with cancer. The purpose of this book is that even if your goals seem impossible to reach, determination will help get you there. Before he knew about the troubles that he was soon to face as a nine-year-old boy, his dream was to join a traveling soccer team and get a uniform. His hopes of this strengthened when he learned of the cancer in his leg; he became even...more
Unfortunately I wasn't that impressed with this book. The majority of the book tells in considerable detail his battle with cancer and his subsequent amputation but a lot of the time I felt myself thinking - just how you can remember this in such detail from when you were so young, that it almost comes across as a work of fiction. As Josh gets older, the more recent events are probably not as humourous but give us more of a clue as to how he cope but that detail seemed to be lacking.
The first pa...more
Lana Nickelson
Just don't fall by Josh Sundquist is exactly what it says on the front cover, "A hilariously true story of childhood, cancer, amputation, truth and Olympic greatness". It's about his struggle with disease and how he fought through it to achieve Olympic greatness.
This Book is an Auto Biography and was written not only to entertain but to inspire. One reason I think this book is written to inspire is that he is a motivational speaker and his job is to inspire. I think he wrote this book because...more
I almost gave up on this book after chapter 3. Mostly this is because Sundquist seems to be trying to use writing style to put readers into the mindset he was at each age at which the story takes place, and since the book starts when he was nine, he tries to make the writing in early chapters sound like a nine-year-old's. Maybe some writers could have pulled this kind of thing off, but here it just came across as ungrammatical, disjointed, and frustrating. This is somewhat the case for other par...more
Keegan Noftsger
I thought that this book was splendid because it shows to never give up. When Josh was only 9 years young, he was diagnosed with cancer in his leg. After getting his leg amputated, and a full year of chemotherapy, Josh defeats cancer... That is until a scan comes back with spots on his lungs. After a wait that lasts 6 weeks, the scans come back negative. Everything is going good, and then his mom ends up getting incurable cancer, with only 5 years to live.

Josh decides to try out skiing, and end...more
Erika Mac
Just don't fall truly is a hilariously true story. Josh is able to put forth his experiences of having cancer with enough emotioon where you feel bad for him but his use of humor along the way makes it so you aren't crying the whole time while reading it. The book is about Josh losing his leg at a young age and having to give up his dream of being a soccer player. Altough he has to give up that dream it doesn't stop him from looking for something else to work for. When he begins to ski race and...more
Kayla Miller
In this national bestseller, vlogger, skier and amputee, Josh Sundquist tells a wonderfully personal story of overcoming childhood illness and becoming more than just a disability. When he was nine years old, Josh was diagnosed with cancer in his thigh and had to endure a full limb amputation. Determined not to let his new disability hold him back from his true potential, he decides to dedicate himself to becoming a Paralympic skier and motivational speaker.

I loved this book for so many reasons,...more
Somehow, I ended up reading three books dealing with cancer all at the same time. It was a depressing time! This has been the least depressing of these books. The author, Josh Sundquist, was diagnosed with a form of cancer in his thigh when he was only a small child, which required the amputation of his leg to save his life. Through his family and his church, Josh had an amazing support system and managed to remain positive much longer than I think I could have. The boys at his church had a head...more
Jul 22, 2012 Stephanie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Stephanie by: got me curious
Josh Sundquist is kind of a ridiculous person. I don't think this memoir is for everyone, but I definitely got enough out of it to make it worthwhile for me. I suppose I can't vouch for it in its entirety, since I only listened to the free audiobook of the first half (found here), but I enjoyed Josh's narration and combination of sorrow with rambunctious childhood stories. I'd like to finish it at some point.

Part of this book is about coming from a context of conservative Christianity, but it's...more
The five stars are partly because this was such a wonderful read, and by partly because I was so pleasantly surprised that it was such a wonderful read.
I was expecting a touching and interesting book for sure, which it was, but I didn't expect such quality writing from a young non-writer.
I couldn't put this one down. His story is so beautifully told. I laughed, I (almost!) cried. I think most people would find this a very enjoyable and interesting read. I sure learned a thing or two about ampute...more
Sophie Johnston
I've been following Josh via YouTube for quite a while now and I have had this book on my shelf for quite a while but I've never got round to reading it (which I now regret)! I finished this book in one day and it was more than I ever imagined it would be. I laughed, cried and smiled so many times while reading it and I felt so inspired when I was finished that I wanted to go back and start reading it again straight away, highly recommend it!!!
Sydney Decator
Just Don't Fall is a story about a boy named Josh who wants more than anything to be on a soccer team and wear the soccer uniform to chirch. Josh is diagnosed with cancer and has to have his leg amputated. He knows he will never be able to play soccer but that doesnt stop him from trying to achive his goals in life. Josh learns how to ski and it becomes a very important part of his life.
I really liked this book and would recomend it to anyone. I liked the attitude of this book and how even thou...more
I did not think I would enjoy this. I procrastinated BIG TIME before finally reading it all in one go the night before my book club's discussion of it. Boy was I wrong. This wasn't some "inspirational memoir" full of treacly sap - it is instead a heartfelt honest story about a man's journey through life, and I really have to say it is inspiring, but not in a way that hits you over the head with it.
This memoir is super-inspiring. Josh writes about his experience with so much humor and wisdom that I not only laughed along with him but also got a new perspective on my own troubles. I felt like a big dork because none of my problems are close to being as bad as his, and yet I still find myself complaining about stuff every day. In addition to giving me a reality check, Josh's story totally motivated me because, hey, if he can ski with one leg, I can do a lot of the things I think I can't. On...more
This is the candid retelling of a young man's early life and the challenges that he faced---and overcame. I do live in the area where Josh grew up, so being acquainted with some of the folks mentioned was a new experience for me as a reader. I found the book to be a very interesting read. It's real, positive and not filled with platitudes.
"One more thing.... One more time"
This is what Josh signed in my book and it is what I live by everyday. I've watched josh for awhile now on YouTube and this is the quote that he lived by when he was going through all of these struggles and accomplishments.

This is one of the best books I have read in awhile. I wish I read it earlier though . I've had this book for two years and just didn't get the chance to pick it up. It goes through all of the emotions from sad to happy. It teaches you that...more
Hot Holly
Loved it. Having personally met Josh, and hearing him speak, watching his videos on youtube, reading my signed copy was just amazing. I love him as a person, and think he turned a sad unfortunate story, into something truly amazing. It is exactly what it says on the front cover, "A hilariously true story of childhood, cancer, amputation, truth and Olympic greatness." This was written not only to entertain, but to inspire. His story really is something that I think everyone should read, with thin...more
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JOSH SUNDQUIST was a member of the 2006 US Paralympics Ski Team in Turin, Italy. A graduate of the College of William & Mary and the University of Southern California, he is the founder of, the worlds largest online community for amputees. He is 25 years old and lives in the Washington, DC area."
More about Josh Sundquist...
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“People who stop laughing are always the ones who get hurt.” 124 likes
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