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Every Falling Star

The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea
Narrated by: David Shih
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins

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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)

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What listeners say about Every Falling Star

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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.

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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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  • 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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  • Angela Walker
  • 09-05-19

Powerful True Story

So much is taken for granted, especially freedom. What a great true story! Thank you for writing this book.

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  • hance
  • 18-06-17

Eye opening

A story from the heart of true life in North Korea. A must read for anyone

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  • Gail
  • 07-04-17

GREAT memoir, great narrorator!

Sungju Lee's memoir could really add to the understanding of the plight of North Koreans' street children and all of North Korean atrocities being done in the name of the Un regime. I'm glad he is helping refugees settle in South Korea and elsewhere. The narrorator was superb. When I listen to a memoir, it's always great to have it ready by a person from the same decent. Even though he has an American accent, his voice is obviously Asian. I would listen to his narration again.

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  • Damian
  • 17-09-16

Incredible

Without a doubt, the best book on North Korea I've listened to. So incredibly sad, yet awesome.

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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.