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1 Hawthorne Children's Young Adult- General

Never Fall Down

by

Never Fall Down Cover

ISBN13: 9780061730931
ISBN10: 0061730939
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Less Than Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When soldiers arrive at 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, his life is changed forever. Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children, weak from hunger, malaria, or sheer exhaustion, dying before his eyes. He sees prisoners marched to a nearby mango grove, never to return. And he learns to be invisible to the sadistic Khmer Rouge, who can give or take away life on a whim.

One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. In order to survive, he must quickly master the strange revolutionary songs the soldiers demand—and steal food to keep the other kids alive. This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated from the Khmer Rouge, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier. He lives by the simple credo: Over and over I tell myself one thing: never fall down.

Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, from National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.

Review:

"McCormick (Purple Heart) again tackles a horrifying subject with grace while unsentimentally portraying the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia's killing fields. Not unlike Linda Sue Park's A Long Walk to Water, this novel is based on a real person, Arn Chorn Pond, who was 11 years old at the time of the country's Communist revolution. Arn's narration balances a palpable and constant sense of fear, starvation, and humiliation with his will to survive. Doing so involves great moral compromises, bravery, and a capacity for love and friendship despite the nightmarish circumstances. McCormick divides the narrative into five periods: life before the revolution; in the camps, where Arn learns to play the music (which is used to disguise the noise of regular executions); his induction into the Khmer Rouge; his time in a refugee camp; and, finally, his transition to America. On how to survive, Arn observes, 'You show you care, you die. You show fear, you die. You show nothing, maybe you live.' While never shying from the ugliness and brutality of this genocide, McCormick crafts a powerful tribute to the human spirit. Ages 14 — up. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

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 and powerful historical novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace. It includes an author's note and acknowledgments from Arn Chorn-Pond himself.

When soldiers arrive in his hometown, Arn is just a normal little boy. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever.

Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children dying before his eyes. One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers.

This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.

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About the Author

Patricia McCormick is a former journalist who has won much acclaim for her compassionate approach to hard-hitting subjects. To research Purple Heart, she traveled all around the country interviewing soldiers as well as the families of soldiers who went to Iraq and never returned.

Patricia is also the author of the National Book Award Finalist Sold and the bestseller Cut. She lives in New York City.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Beverly B, July 22, 2013 (view all comments by Beverly B)
Never Fall Down is a horrifying book to read while also being impossible to put down. Thoroughly researched by acclaimed journalist Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down opens with Arn's last fun-filled days with his siblings and follows his experiences from his harrowing enslavement by the Khmer Rouge, to his forced participation in the army, his escape to Thailand and his adoption by an American family. Arn Chorn-Pond does not sanitize, gloss over or rationalize the reprehensible and heartbreaking things that happen to him or the things he is forced to do. He fights to hold on to his morals and his humanity, but comes to realize that his will to survive is stronger than his morals. He is a hero. He risks his life almost daily by stealing food to give to others who are close to death due to starvation. When he is forced to join the army, he fights to stay alive in hopes the brutal journey across Cambodia will bring him to his missing sisters. Four years later when he starts his new life in the USA, he is suffering from survivor's guilt and PTSD. Once again he makes an agonizing decision to survive even though he doesn't think he deserves a decent life. He ends up becoming an activist for peace and a national hero in Cambodia where he is working to improve lives and preserve their cultural heritage.
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Lilian Cheng, December 25, 2012 (view all comments by Lilian Cheng)
I'm surprised Never Fall Down hasn't received much attention despite being a National Book Award finalist. I suspect it's because of it's categorization as a young-adult historical/non-fiction that just doesn't sound as appealing against the host of dystopians cropping up lately. But Never Fall Down is a dystopian of its own, complete with information suppression, ruthless tyranny, moral ambiguities, twisted ideals, and a young hero's desperate fight to survive another day. Despite being a mere two hundred pages Never Fall Down is easily much more frightening than any dystopian you'll ever read because these horrifying events are real. Never Fall Down will terrify you, but its grit will pick you back up and leave you with a tear-stained cheek.

Arn, Redefining Badass (This Kid Really Knows How To Survive)
Arn's strength is soul of the entire book. How he adapts to his circumstances to survive while other kids are either sabotaging their peers or waiting to die is nothing short of incredible. He witnesses the ugliness of humanity, yet still retains a modicum of sympathy. Despite being hungry, he hides food to feed his friends (And also as a bribe.) Despite all the killing he witnesses (and is responsible for,) we also see him conflicted over his morality, asking himself why he is evil.

Gore, More Blood Than A Horror Novel:
There were some very graphic passages (cannibalism, prisoners having their livers cut out, etc.) that I felted tested the limits of Young Adult literature. Going into this book, I expected something milder, along the lines of Lois Lowry's Number the Stars, where genocide was only hinted at and never described in excruciating detail, but Never Fall Down opts for the realistic, unedited route. I fully agree with Never Fall Down's 14+ age categorization, for it is even bloodier than an your average adult horror novel.

Writing (Arn's Accent):
I realize that I'm usually impatient with accents in young adult literature (The Knife of Never Letting Go and Blood Red Road,) but it worked in Never Fall Down. The lack of plurals and clumsy grammar was convincing in letting Arn's voice shine through. I smiled when I read some passages out loud, which reminded me of the Filipino accents (although Arn is Cambodian) so common here in Hawaii.

Pacing:
My own gripe with this novel was the pacing. There were moments where I didn't know where the story was heading (especially after his escape to Thailand) and the book dragged as one horrifying experience after another.

Overall, a powerful, inspiring, and heart-wrenchingly raw novel that I won't forget anytime soon. I know I am guilty of straying away from painful, gritty real-world topics such as war, but sometimes these are the books I need to remind me that I'm fortunate to be literate, and not forced to plant rice on a empty stomach twenty hours a day while people around me are brutally murdered (and not even with a gun, because that would be "wasting bullets".) I urge you not to be intimidated and join Arn's journey.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061730931
Author:
Mccormick, Patricia
Publisher:
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Author:
McCormick, Patricia
Subject:
Historical - Asia
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Biography
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 0.81 in 17.78 oz
Age Level:
from 14

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Young Adult » Nonfiction » Biographies

Never Fall Down Used Hardcover
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$11.50 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - English 9780061730931 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "McCormick (Purple Heart) again tackles a horrifying subject with grace while unsentimentally portraying the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia's killing fields. Not unlike Linda Sue Park's A Long Walk to Water, this novel is based on a real person, Arn Chorn Pond, who was 11 years old at the time of the country's Communist revolution. Arn's narration balances a palpable and constant sense of fear, starvation, and humiliation with his will to survive. Doing so involves great moral compromises, bravery, and a capacity for love and friendship despite the nightmarish circumstances. McCormick divides the narrative into five periods: life before the revolution; in the camps, where Arn learns to play the music (which is used to disguise the noise of regular executions); his induction into the Khmer Rouge; his time in a refugee camp; and, finally, his transition to America. On how to survive, Arn observes, 'You show you care, you die. You show fear, you die. You show nothing, maybe you live.' While never shying from the ugliness and brutality of this genocide, McCormick crafts a powerful tribute to the human spirit. Ages 14 — up. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , 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 and powerful historical novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace. It includes an author's note and acknowledgments from Arn Chorn-Pond himself.

When soldiers arrive in his hometown, Arn is just a normal little boy. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever.

Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children dying before his eyes. One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers.

This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.

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