Published by HarperCollins on October 6th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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?
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book was heartwrenchingly beautiful. I totally did not expect to like it so very much. Both Emily and Lucas were sort of punished because they did not do anything when they saw Belinda, a mentally disabled girl, being sexually attacked. This book was told in two different perspectives — Emily’s and Belinda’s. I think that was what made this book quite easy to read, because we get to understand both the victim (Belinda) and the person at wrong (Emily), and it shows how Belinda eventually forgave Emily and Lucas.
What I loved the most was reading from Belinda’s perspective. To be honest, it didn’t really seem like she was mentally disabled from the start. Even when I finished the book, she just seemed like any normal girl who has super innocent thoughts, and sometimes a very weird temper. She was just innocent and pure, and she never had any ill intentions against anybody.
And then there was Emily. I loved how she was not from the popular crowd, and still she made this mistake. Hence, it shows that even a normal person can at times, make a huge mistake like this. Her character went through the most change in this book, in which she went from trying to defend herself, to admitting her faults.
There were a little bit of romances in this book for the two girls, but they weren’t the main focus. In fact, it kinda surprised be when there was tiny declarations that I was just…. Happy HAHA.
But yes, this book mainly touched on the topic of people with disabilities, be it physical or mental. And I think it’s a pretty great read, because it shows us that sometimes, people with disabilities, well, they have similar thoughts with a normal person.