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Publisher's Summary

Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju, who is forced at age 12 to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly recreates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his "brothers"; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young listeners to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.

©2016 Sungju Lee (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A pampered son of the elite survives a nightmarish ordeal in this page-turner of a memoir." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about Every Falling Star

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Janis Creason
  • 17-09-16

Riveting, sad, and inspirational

I am an older reader. The narrator's cadence lends itself to a young readership. As I listened, I couldn't help but picture a teacher reading this book aloud with students at his or her feet, mouths gaping as they hung on every word. I believe that was the intention. The author painted vivid images of this young mans struggle to survive in deplorable and heartbreaking conditions. Excellently done. Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Martha S
  • 29-11-20

Will help you appreciate your freedom

My daughters teacher required students to read this book in middle school. My lovely daughter Miah then said mom you should read this book it’s very eye opening. Of course I haven’t “read” a book in so long so I thought ok, I’ll do it! I NEVER knew a country could be so horrific. There were many feelings upon listening to this story. My goodness, one thing is for certain, I will never again complain about my so called “ruined childhood” mine was a paradise in comparison. I’m grateful for this read and Sungju sharing his story. Ill pray for the oppressed people who are victims of such a terrible ruler and hope they find a way to freedom.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-08-18

I great book

I wasn't hard to Finnish at all. I loved this book and I want to read more books in general. the best part for me was when yum-bum died even though I didn't experience it in person it made me have a tier in my eye. I recommend this book to every one

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  • Zoe Chance
  • 06-07-21

The best written and most engaging NK memoir I’ve read

This is probably the 10th NK memoir I’ve read, ABD it’s my favorite. The target audience is young adults, but there’s nothing babyish about it. Great storytelling and characters. And unlike many other defector memoirs, this book contains a lot of hope. And the author is a real star -He’s now a Fullbright scholar getting a PhD and also helping other refugees escape. Impressive and inspiring.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-07-21

it's great one of my top 10 favorite books

how could you say the story is wrong if it's a true story. the performance was great. you could tell the diefefences in voices and the Korean words were pronounced right. overall a great book I recomend it.

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  • REBECCA WINDLEY
  • 10-03-21

love

this book was wonderful. this is a must read book. a wonderful narrator and a wonderful author

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  • Ross Williamson
  • 24-11-20

GREAT STORY

Great story of personal heroisim, faith and love. So sad people are forced to live in that world and miss out on all the joys in life.

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  • Jeanne DeShazer
  • 06-05-20

The most moving memoir I've ever read. 5 Stars

At times, painful, I watched this boy's life from innocent and privileged Pyongyang child of a military officer, to hardened street gang member. And then his heart returns. Beautiful.

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  • Todd Halverson
  • 17-12-19

Not just a boy trapped in Josan

This book is not just of a boy trapped in his country but of the boy trapped in himself stuglimg to get out and save his family in blood and name he was determined to die for his new brother to keep their dreams alive he did not just want them but needed him as they did him the boys did thing meny never will do are ever want for their kids I feel for the father having to know that his son suffered a tragic loss of friends, brothers, and himself a thing no person can fathom. I want to say for the ones lost my all your dreams be happy and with the one you love

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  • Kika
  • 05-09-19

Incredible story!

I’m on a North Korean defector bender and this is definitely my favorite book. This mans life changed when he was 12 and left behind by parents off to search for food. I can’t even imagine having the courage and strength that he had to cope and get through each day. He survived 4 years basically on his own scrounging, hustling and defending himself every day.
This is a must read/listen to book!

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  • Miss. S. Chandrapalan
  • 05-11-20

Be prepared to cry

I can’t believe how much is going on in North Korea. I didn’t realise until I stumbled upon Yeonmi Park’s book first before I was searching up more defector stories and found this one. Sungju Lee has gone through hell. He is one of many North Koreans who are going through this day in day out. Beautifully written, this book has been gripping. South Korea is is a blessing for taking in defectors. Please do read and research on it. Thankyou for opening my eyes.

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  • Catherine
  • 07-04-18

good

so good and acsiting yeah guys get this book

goooooooooooooooooooooooooooood guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuys good as chocolate yes

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  • Daniel
  • 30-07-17

amazing story!

This book gives a different insight in to north korea then the others I have read. The life of a street kid is tougher then we can imagine. This book also contains loads of info into how North Koreans think. Great would recommend.

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  • Stephen Galvin
  • 29-05-17

A truly remarkable story

Any additional comments?

Every Falling Star provides an almost unbelievable account of SungJu's life in North Korea. I had to keep reminding myself that this is not fiction. What SungJu describes is not just the trauma and troubles that he went through personally, but the same trauma that so many North Koreans have faced, and continue to face, in their daily lives. One can only try to imagine the horror these people experience, and from such a young age, is extremely saddening.
I have to say that it is very well written, and is read perfectly by Shih.
The book made me feel so lucky to be have been born in the U.K., and has helped me to appreciate a lot of the things that I take for granted. It's also eye opening to the issues we still face in the modern world. I'd recommend this book to everyone, as I believe the book provides a perspective that is important for many to see.