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Extended Audio Sample Just Don’t Fall: How I Grew Up, Conquered Illness, and Made It down the Mountain Audiobook, by Josh Sundquist Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (515 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Josh Sundquist Narrator: Josh Sundquist Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781440791482
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At age nine, Josh Sundquist was diagnosed with cancer, and by age 10, he’d lost his leg to the illness. But Sundquist never faltered in his dream to ski in the Paralympics, and in 2006 he achieved his goal in Turin, Italy. Just Don’t Fall is the remarkable and honest story of Sundquist’s determination and grit in the face of long odds and tough choices. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Inspiring. Courageous. Sometimes heartbreaking. The tough lesson [is] that less than a hundred percent is still all right.”

    John le Carré

  • “I didn’t want to put this book down. It was more than the amazing story—it was the honesty of a voice that spoke, without a whiff of melodrama, about loss and worry and determination.”

    Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge

  • Just Don’t Fall is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read—not to mention poignant and funny. If I ever find myself wallowing in self-pity, I plan to reach for Josh Sundquist’s book.”

    A. J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of Drop Dead Healthy and The Year of Living Biblically

  • “Josh Sundquist has not only written an inspirational memoir about elegantly and deftly triumphing over adversity, but he has also written a fascinating and hilarious one…Incredible energy…Moving and deeply affecting.”

    Isabel Gillies, New York Times bestselling author of Happens Every Day

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nathalie | 2/18/2014

    " It's my favorite book. And I usually read fantasy books, with vampires and such, so this is different. But it's the most wonderful and touching book i've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 2/14/2014

    " I learned about Josh on YouTube. I am so glad I read this book! An amazing story, about a very inspirational person. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arno Vosfox | 2/7/2014

    " My first and only bio I've ever read and I loved it :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 2/7/2014

    " Inspired & entirely candid, Josh Sundquist offers an ever-brimming & determined account of his journey from cancer to the Paralympic ski team. Thoroughly enjoyable - I didn't want to put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brittney | 1/29/2014

    " This book is soo amazing! It was fantastically written. In this book he tells us about how he conquered cancer and what it was like growing up for him. If you have not read it... go read it now! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deana | 1/10/2014

    " Somehow, I ended up reading three books dealing with cancer all at the same time. It was a depressing time! This has been the least depressing of these books. The author, Josh Sundquist, was diagnosed with a form of cancer in his thigh when he was only a small child, which required the amputation of his leg to save his life. Through his family and his church, Josh had an amazing support system and managed to remain positive much longer than I think I could have. The boys at his church had a head shaving party when Josh began to lose his hair from chemotherapy, they allowed someone to run to first base for him (after he hit the ball, and then he would switch with the person and run the rest of the way around the bases) so that he could play softball with the other kids. He also had a family who was willing to explain to him what was going on every step of the way, unlike some of the other kids he met in the hospital (and one in particular who died without ever knowing that he had cancer, or what exactly was wrong with him -- who had a huge effect on Josh and the way he chose to live his life in the future). Josh writes the book from his 9-year-old-self's perspective, which I think really added to the appeal. His voice and his childlike views shine through the narrative and I found myself smiling and laughing frequently despite the difficult times Josh and his family were going through. It's hard enough for an adult to go through an illness like cancer, but for a child who doesn't fully understand what is happening or what the consequences might be it is an entirely different ball game. On the one hand, it's a huge change in his life and the ramifications of the disease are both frustrating and scary. But on the other hand, a 9-year-old boy has no concept of "can't". They told him he wouldn't be able to run again, or to play sports, or do X, Y and Z, and he just didn't believe them. As he pointed out, they were wrong about a catheter not hurting, so they could be wrong about this, too. And he proved them wrong in most cases, and went on to live life to the fullest and do things that no one believed he would be able to do. That's not to say there were never any bad times. Josh became angry and frustrated when people treated him like he was fragile due to his missing leg. And he wrestled with a serious bout of depression when he reached adulthood. In addition, Josh's illness took a serious toll on his younger brother, Matt, who even tries to hang himself from their bunk bed at one point, and Matt's behaviors caused guilty feelings in Josh -- a vicious cycle. At times I felt like Matt was the champion of this book! But both boys make good use of their support system and the positive aspects of their personalities and in the end it all works out. And then there is his mother's diagnosis and the toll that takes on their family -- when it rains, it pours. I think the book really does say a lot about the difference a good support system and a positive attitude can make when you are faced with a tragedy. This story probably would have had a much different ending had these events happened in many other families. Josh's message about living life to the fullest is a great one, though the lesson he learned during his depression -- that you don't always have to be number 1 to be a success -- is the key to his happiness in the end. One last note about the book. Josh grew up in a very conservative, very religious family. He was homeschooled for much of his childhood and when he finally went to public school he was amazed at the end of the first day because he wasn't offered drugs, wasn't asked to join a gang, didn't even see any guns let along get shot at like he expected ... His family had "sweet cereal day" one day a week. Friday was "candy day", on which they were allowed to eat a single piece of candy -- something that was so ingrained into him that even as an adult he felt a sort of guilty pleasure when he ate some candy on an airplane and it wasn't a Friday. He wasn't allowed to say "golly" or "gosh" or "darn" or "shucks" because they are euphemisms for swears and God knows what you really mean. Etc, etc, etc. Throughout the book, he seems to make fun of these restrictions, and I sort of thought that in the end he would have a vastly different view of religion as a whole. I thought the whole book was leading up to a lessening of his faith. But that doesn't happen -- if anything, it seems strengthened in the end. He does make a great point near the end of the book about how some people get so caught up in the rules of their religion (and he references truth telling in particular) that they forget the whole point: grace and love. What a wonderful lesson! I was just really surprised by the path his faith took because of the way he sort of poked fun of all the rules for most of the book. Anyway -- this is a wonderfully inspiring, fun read despite the sometimes depressing topic. I highly recommend this to just about everyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 LaDonna | 1/8/2014

    " I first saw Josh on You Tube at the National FFA Convention as a motivational speaker. I was so intrigued by his upbeat talk to teenagers that I wanted to read his book. The book is very uplifting and easy to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/8/2014

    " Very good! i loves it. Josh Sundquist is awesome "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holli | 1/2/2014

    " This book gave me quite a few laughs, and I wanted to cry when I was finished because I enjoyed it so thoroughly. Very inspirational! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 12/24/2013

    " This book was very difficult to put down. If you have ever watched Josh Sundquist's youtube videos then you will be able to hear his voice throughout this book. I found myself laughing outloud several times! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hanny G | 12/13/2013

    " I didn't expect this book to be centered around Josh's faith in God but I really really liked it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Gareis | 11/1/2013

    " Excellent! Josh is an amazing writer, athlete, and cancer survivor. He is also a huge inspiration to me. I highly recommend his book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Celeste | 10/30/2013

    " This was such a lovely and inspirational read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley Hanak | 10/4/2013

    " Cute read. I like how the voice progresses with his age. I was homeschooled in elementary school and it reminds me of those days and people I know. Interesting and inspirational story. :-) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 5/30/2013

    " Loved loved loved. I have much in common with the author: from the Shenandoah Valley, a W&M alum and in treatment for cancer at UVa while my sister was in treatment. I remember Josh well and it is such a joy to read about his journey. I sincerely hope that this is the first of many books by him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hannah | 4/21/2013

    " Good job for a first time author. WATCH HIS HILARIOUS YOUTUBE VIDEOS "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 3/18/2013

    " this book mentions my friend rob gu. any book that mentions bobby gu is worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ffashley | 9/20/2012

    " This books ranks as one of my top Motivational Reads. Something about the candid nature of Josh's writing really draws in readers. It's not a story about tragedy, but of succes. A must read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica Davison | 5/17/2012

    " I absolutely loved this book!!!! Everyone should read it...it is amazing!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maaike Ridder | 10/17/2011

    " This is my favourite book, I love it so much "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon Roualet | 6/19/2011

    " Laughing, crying, and thinking--That's what I look for in a memoir or biography. Josh's voice invites the reader to slide into his story and do all three. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 5/31/2011

    " Surprisingly wonderful! My daughter recommended this one, and she was right on. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Casey | 4/7/2011

    " I loved this book, which is odd since I'm not normally one to read this kind of book. I heard Josh speak at VidCon, though, and I knew he had an amazing story. And I was right, the book was a very good read and I'd defiantly recommend it to others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marianne | 4/7/2011

    " I highly recommend this book. :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 4/6/2011

    " Inspired & entirely candid, Josh Sundquist offers an ever-brimming & determined account of his journey from cancer to the Paralympic ski team. Thoroughly enjoyable - I didn't want to put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marynellie | 3/11/2011

    " This book has made me cry so much! It's about cancer, family, our faith in God, failures, skiing, dreams, feeling shattered told from a boys POV as he learns and grows up to deal with it all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 3/1/2011

    " I learned about Josh on YouTube. I am so glad I read this book! An amazing story, about a very inspirational person. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cassandra | 2/27/2011

    " I laughed, I cried. A good biography. As usual, though, I felt like it just ended. We were casually having dinner with his family and the credits start rolling. Good until the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holli | 1/31/2011

    " This book gave me quite a few laughs, and I wanted to cry when I was finished because I enjoyed it so thoroughly. Very inspirational! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hanny | 1/26/2011

    " I didn't expect this book to be centered around Josh's faith in God but I really really liked it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 12/31/2010

    " I absolutely loved this book!!!! Everyone should read it...it is amazing!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 11/28/2010

    " Very good! i loves it. Josh Sundquist is awesome "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Az | 7/23/2010

    " Should've taken the hint from the mention of "motivational speaker" in the description. The cover pulled me in, but the writing isn't there. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 5/3/2010

    " this book mentions my friend rob gu. any book that mentions bobby gu is worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 LaDonna | 2/24/2010

    " I first saw Josh on You Tube at the National FFA Convention as a motivational speaker. I was so intrigued by his upbeat talk to teenagers that I wanted to read his book. The book is very uplifting and easy to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 2/15/2010

    " interesting perspective of a kid going through cancer. this is not a downer of a book but very inspiring "

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About the Author
Author Josh Sundquist

Josh Sundquist is a son, brother, cancer survivor, writer, Paralympic ski racer, and motivational speaker. He has shared his story across the country for audiences including Fortune 500 companies, inner-city public schools, and the White House. A graduate of both the College of William and Mary and the University of Southern California, he has been featured on CNN’s Heroes series, appeared with Lance Armstrong on the CW network, and is the founder of lessthanfour.org, the world’s largest online community for amputees. He is twenty-five years old and lives near Washington, DC, where he enjoys taking walks on the National Mall and eating mint-chocolate gelato.