Cammie McGovern follows up her breakout young adult debut, Say What You Will, with this powerful and unforgettable novel about learning from your mistakes and learning to forgive. Told in alternating points of view, A Step Toward Falling is a poignant, hopeful, and altogether stunning work that will appeal to fans of Jennifer Nevin, Robyn Schneider, and Jandy Nelson.
Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing - until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.
Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they're starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?
©2015 Cammie McGovern (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Not speaking up after witnessing a horrible event lands two high school students in center for adults with special needs as volunteers. Of course this is not punishment because they foster friendships and learn about those with differences and question their own faults.
Her first book, "Say What You Will" was fabulous, also dealing with children with special needs. She gives voice to an underrepresented population with ease and grace. Her writing style flows nicely. The story is told from alternating POVs: Belinda and Emily. I like how she doesn't use Belinda, girl with special needs, as mere window dressing, giving more attention to the Emily/Lucas storyline. All the characters were well thought out and you learned a great deal about their inner motives and outer actions. Well written piece with solid narrators.
While there were moments where I thought the story was going to go in a simple, rosy direction, this book turned out to be quite complex and nuanced in it's portrayal of both typical and special needs teens and young adults. Both narrators did an excellent job of keeping me engaged and in giving credible voices to the characters.This book succeeds in bringing out more common ground than differences amongst its characters which was, no doubt, the authors intent.
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