Saturday, 27 August 2016

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee and Susan McClelland

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 336
Publisher: Amulet Books 
Released: 13th of September 2016 

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 twelve 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 re-creates 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 readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.

What I Have to Say 

The more I read about North Korea the more it scares me. This book depicts a lot of events that we read about in history books and the latest YA dystopia, but the fact is it's true. This really happened and is still going on to other people right now and we need to be aware of it. 

Sungju Lee has bravely told his story, showing the reader what it's like to be a street kid in North Korea. His story is woven with rich details about what he had to eat, how he had to get the food and the fight he had to put up with rival gangs just to survive. A lot of it made me want to cry, and so it should. It's seems easy when we live in our comfortable lives to imagine people living like this, but it's not so easy when you think of them as real people living right now. 

Lee's story is beautiful, even though it's hard-hitting and eye-opening. It was very easy as a reader to come to know and love the other members of his gang and want them to succeed The fact that they're still living out there in North Korea is painful to remember, but the story itself is easy to fall into. 

North Korea fascinates me as much as it scares me. I think that everyone should read this book and learn what children in this part of the world face, the indoctrination, starvation and harsh existence may be painful to acknowledge, but don't let that put you off. Enjoyable feels like the wrong word almost, but this book is still and entertaining one even as it educates. 

My thanks go to Amulet books and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

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