At the beginning of the novel, Every Falling Star, Sungju Lee was the perfect North Korean citizen. He loved his country, his eternal leader Kin Il-sung, and his life in Pyongyang. He knew that North Korea, or Joseon, was the best country in the world and he dreams that one day he could become a great general, like Kim Il-sung, and that he could, "give back and make North Korea even safer," (Lee 2) from the South Koreans, Japanese, and Americans. However, everything he thought he knew would be tested after he finds out that his family is going on an unsettling holiday.
Sometime after the eternal leader's death on July 8, 1994, and the start of the American embargo of North Korea, Sungju Lee's mother, known in the novel as eomeoni, told him that his father, abeoji, was asked to take a holiday, but something was wrong, everyone was upset about it. Sungju Lee and his family took a train to Gyeong-seong where his, "parents would serve the country by working as laborers," (Lee 22) and he would go to a new school that couldn't teach him anything that he didn't already learn. In said school, Lee meets two boys, Young-bum and Chulho, and they would try to explain to Lee that North Korea is not the perfect world that Pyongyang made him believe, but Lee saw all of this as a test of his loyalty.