"A beautiful, big-hearted book with important lessons embedded in compelling stories of two irresistible girls. Expertly executed and movingly realized.” —New York Times Book Review
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.
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?
Told in alternating points of view, A Step Toward Falling is a poignant, hopeful, and altogether stunning work that will appeal to fans of books by Jennifer Niven, Robyn Schneider, and Jandy Nelson.
Emily knows that she isn't good at everything (boys, for instance), but she generally thinks she's a good person until the night she does nothing when Belinda, a classmate with special needs, is being assaulted at a football game. Now Emily and Lucas, a star football player who also failed to act, must volunteer at a social skills class for adults with developmental disabilities. Interacting with Lucas and the class members is initially awkward for Emily, but she comes to see past her preconceptions about all of them. But this isn't just Emily's story: it's also Belinda's. Alternating passages follow Belinda as she recovers from the attack which she successfully fended off and returns to school, eventually befriending Emily and Lucas. No mere empathy builder for Emily and Lucas, Belinda is a fully developed character good at some things (better than Emily and Lucas, in fact), bad at others. Without evading or sugarcoating difficult topics, McGovern (Say What You Will) shows that disabled and able aren't binary states but part of a continuum a human one. Ages 14 up.