Never Fall Down

Patricia McCormick

fiction historical young adult
emotional sad medium-paced

216 pages | first published 2012

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.

What the community thinks

summary of 120 ratings (see reviews)

Content warnings


Expand filter menu View warnings

Moods

dark 100%
sad 100%
challenging 66%
emotional 66%
tense 66%
adventurous 33%
informative 33%
inspiring 33%
reflective 33%

Pace

fast 66%
slow 33%

Strong character development?

Yes: 100%

Loveable characters?

It's complicated: 66% | Yes: 33%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 66% | It's complicated: 33%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 100%

Average rating

4.09