A Step Toward Falling
by Cammie McGovern
Published on October 6th 2015
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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?
Going into this one, I knew it would be serious. I mean, it’s about two people who have to volunteer at a center for disabled people after not standing up for a disabled person being attacked. I was intrigued and wanted to see if the two characters would actually learn from this mistake and become better people.
When Emily sees a disabled classmate named Belinda being attacked under the bleachers at a football game, she freezes and finds herself walking away from the altercation. Thankfully, Belinda finds a way to escape, but Emily and Lucas, a football player who also saw the attack but did nothing, must volunteer at a center for disabled people. Every class that Emily and Lucas help out at, they slowly realize that the disabled students are just regular people who may look or act a little different, but want the same things in life. Lucas and Emily realize that they really need to make a change and make up for how cowardly they had acted when Belinda really needed them.
From the moment we met the disabled characters, it was impossible not to love them. The book switched between Emily’s point of view and Belinda’s point of view. While they both definitely differ in maturity and Belinda’s view was more unique, they both wanted the same things in life and both acted like regular girls. The moments that the disabled students were bullied were heartbreaking and I just wanted them to have a fair chance at life without being judged because of their disabilities. It was great being able to watch Emily and Lucas start to care for the students in the class they volunteered at and become inspired to make a difference in their lives.
While the emotional and serious elements were there, I found it hard to WANT to read this book. It was a good story, but nothing had me addicted to the story. If you pick up this book, make sure you have the time to read it or else you won’t find yourself dying to read Emily and Lucas’s story. It was a very touching story that had a bit of romance, but there were no “wow” moments for me.
Overall, A Step Toward Falling deals with some very important issues of bullying and how disabled people are seen in the world. While I wasn’t in love with the book and wanted a more engaging story, it was still a very good read that touched me.
Hello! I’m Jessica and I am the blogger behind Peace Love Books! I am a 21-year-old girl from Ohio and am completely obsessed with reading. I’m currently majoring in English Education with minors in English Literature, Film Studies, and Professional Writing. I hope to be a high school English teacher once I graduate from college!