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.
I loved this book so much. It reminded me of some situations I've been in. I have a feeling I'm gonna continue reading/listening to this book over and over again. Funny thing is, is that this book was an assignment for my English class... everyone had to choose a book to read over break and write a summary about so I just randomly picked and grabbed this one. I just loved it so much!! 💜💜💜💜💜
I read Cammie McGovern's "Eye Contact" several years ago and loved it. While I don't read a lot of YA fiction (I'm older than 30), I wanted to read this book in particular because it intersects relationships and disability in a way that is poignant without being sappy.
Emily is both extremely likable for her bookishness (something with which I identify) and her good heart but she's also extremely self-centered. She wants to absolve herself of guilt by making herself feel better, even as she realizes that she has wronged and misjudged others.
Belinda is a character with an unnamed developmental disability. She has very definite ideas of how the world works, but finds herself unprepared for certain aspects of high school and adult life because of those around her that shelter her and others like her.
Emily and Lucas witness Belinda being assaulted at a football game. Neither of them get help because they assume the other had or would call for help. As a result, they spend a semester with a group of young adults with developmental disabilities, discussing relationships, personal boundaries and sexuality. Many of these other students have frustrating fixations or mannerisms, and yet they have an understanding of Lucas and Emily that gets to the heart of the matter.
There are no heroes or villains here, but people who hurt each other, crawl through the mess, try and protect each other and end up causing more harm... and lift each other up with truth.
A solid 4-star book.
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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