A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern
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?
Publishes in US: October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen
Genre: ya contemp
Source: Harper Teen via mail and Edelweiss
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free.
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I wanted to read A Step Toward Falling because I was interested in the bullying of a girl with disabilities. I think that it is such an important subject, and even though Emily wasn't the one doing the bullying, the silence of Emily when she saw it is the big turning point of the story. She is sentenced with community service working with young adults with disabilities.
The story is told in dual perspectives with Emily and Belinda, the said girl that was bullied. I am not sure that I have ever read such a perspective, but it felt well done. We can see the places where she is delayed or has problems and how the whole situation effected her. Emily is able to learn from the people in the relationship class that she is volunteering at. She also learns a lot about Lucas, the football player who also saw the situation and also did nothing as well as a returning volunteer.
They both brought a lot to the story and saw things in completely different ways. In some ways Belinda is very mature, in others she is delayed. She is obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, the long version, as well as a football player who did a dance for the disabled. She thinks that means they are boyfriend and girlfriend, but of course, he was only there because of community service, so that led to very awkward situations.
Emily learned so much from the class she is helping with, but she does come to the conclusion that although she is helping in some ways the students in the class, but she is doing nothing that actually helps Belinda who for most of the story isn't even going back to school. She remembers more of the incident at the football game, although she doesn't understand what all it means. I liked it when she finally started to do things to make up for what she did, and try to help Belinda heal, and for others to see her, and others with disabilities in a different way.
The ending was nice, and wrapped things up. There was character development and an important message.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you ever stayed silent when you wish you would have spoken up or done something?