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

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  1,416 Ratings  ·  166 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 st
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published January 21st 2010 by Viking (first published December 17th 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of
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
Jan 09, 2010 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 Josh Sundquist's other book about how he failed with girls, so I was really interested in reading this. And let's just say it didn't disappoint, but it wasn't as good as his new book.

There are several reasons why. For instance, I liked the first part of the book, which was about Josh and the discovery/recovery of his cancer. It was interesting, and especially since I don't know that many people who can recite what they said or did exactly when they were 9-year old. I am guessing his pare
Amy Ziegler
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Imagine you're nine years old. You're young, carefree, happy, and your biggest worry is whether or not your mom will let you try out for a traveling soccer team. Then, your leg starts to hurt. A few doctor visits later, you find out you have cancer and a 50-50 chance of living. That's what happened to Josh Sundquist. In his memoir, Josh Sundquist tells stories about growing up in Virginia and what it was like to deal with cancer and amputation at such a young age. He faces many struggles with th ...more
Dana Suaifan
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Willow Redd
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youtube
I met Josh Sundquist at the first VidCon in 2010 where he showed us his one-legged rap video and presented one of his motivational speeches. It was amazing! So, when I found out he had written a book about his experiences, it immediately went on my to-read list. Now, it would take me another few years, and a few VidCons for me to actually acquire the book, but I finally did, and it was such a good read.

From finding out he had cancer at the age of nine, to losing his leg to that cancer, to trying
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very inspirational story of a boy who lost his leg to cancer at age 7 and went on to become a paralympic athlete. Read this after watching some hilarious videos he has posted on youtube (he is also a bit of a stand up comic/motivational speaker) and was hoping it would have some of the same sense of humor to it. Written as a memoir of overcoming adversity its not exactly comical (though I did laugh out loud at times) but a great book nonetheless! Just not what I expected after is video ...more
Apr 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Karen Cook
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great view of a child and later adolescent dealing with cancer and the loss of a limb. I love how the author sees the humor in the situation and the way he brings this to his writing in the quirky thoughts of a child. He is able to capture the perspective of a kid, while subtly hinting at the parent's fears and concerns in the background.
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Hannah G
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I didn't expect this book to be centered around Josh's faith in God but I really really liked it!
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An amusing, easily read memoir from one of the most amazing people I've ever had the pleasure of watching on YouTube.
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
interesting perspective of a kid going through cancer. this is not a downer of a book but very inspiring
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just Don’t Fall is a heart wrenching, astounding, heartfelt book that tells the story of a ten-year-old boy facing childhood cancer. This story goes through the boy's life showing the up and downhill battles of losing his leg but not his life to cancer.
The author, Josh Sundquist, provides a touching tale of overcoming hardships throughout his lifetime. Throughout the book, Sundquist uses a unique style of structuring to portray his story. The book starts out with a bang by writing a page about
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I didn't find Just Don't Fall quite as engrossing as We Should Hang Out Sometime, which I devoured in just a couple of days, but this was still a wonderful read. Written in first person present tense, this book conveys Josh's experiences in that wide-eyed, I'm-right-there-with-you kind of style.

The innocence of his childhood and the emotional awakenings of his growing-up years are all expressed beautifully, and he handles weighty matters like death, suicide, failure, and humiliation with just t
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is an amazing story about family and perseverance. Josh Sundquist is an amazing writer and an inspiration. I’m not really a sports person, but I learned a little bit about skiing and I really enjoyed reading about it which was unexpected for me. I think the tone and the progression were on point and it’s a book that anyone can enjoy!

#booked2018 #litsy
Alessandra Grifi
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It tackles depressing subjects in such a funny and inspirational way. Josh Sundquist is a great author, I'd recommend this book to anyone that wants to read something very real and honest but also light humoured at times.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was raw, intimate, and deeply revealing. I feel more hopeful and more courageous after reading about Josh's journey and his perseverance in reaching his goals. We can do anything and we can survive anything. Josh proves that here.
Ben Brackett
The childish tone this is written in got really, really grating, and was very transparent as kind of a hack way to make things sound deep without being to write in a more mature fashion.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life
Insightful & hilarious, although it got boring in the end. He had the same voice when he was a child and a teenager which made it seem like he didn’t mature (?).
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
The ending, excellent. The rest? I felt like I was reading a David Sedaris book. Unnecessary language and innuendos for a teenage themed book.

Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cancer, 2013
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
Luke Koskinen
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I laughed and I cried and I thought about life. One of my favorites.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: cds
While this is a powerful story - I can't tell if the child-like voice it is written is a beautiful literary tool tracing back to the authors pediatric cancer or was unintentional
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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JOSH SUNDQUIST is a Paralympian, author, motivational speaker, and Halloween enthusiast.
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“People who stop laughing are always the ones who get hurt.” 150 likes
“I kiss [her] even though I know that if you kiss a girl before you are married to her you might get AIDS.” 26 likes
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