Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Review: A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern

Title: A Step Toward Falling
Author: Cammie McGovern
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: October 6th, 2015
Pages: 368 (eGalley)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads | Amazon Author

Sometimes one mistake can change everything. 

Emily doesn’t know why she froze. Or why Lucas did too. Afterward, she thought of different ways to rationalize it. But the truth is, they could have helped Belinda, and they didn’t. It’s a mistake they’ll both have to live with. 

Sometimes doing nothing is the only way to cope. Belinda doesn’t want to talk about what happened. Because when she does, it feels like it’s happening all over again. 

Sometimes good can come from bad. 

Emily and Lucas’s punishment is community service at a center for people with disabilities. People like Belinda. Soon they 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. Like they could help not only those at the center but also each other. 

But when Belinda returns to school, Emily and Lucas have to figure out if they can do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt most.

Belinda has never done anything to deserve what happened to her one Friday night underneath the bleachers at a high school football game.  Emily and Lucas witnessed the unfortunate event, but they froze.  They knew what they needed to do, yet both of them figured that someone else would be the one to take care of everything.  Because of this, both students are sentenced to community service working with other people with disabilities like Belinda.  In their own ways, they each begin to understand how to interact with those different from their typical group of friends.

I enjoyed that this story is told from the point of view of Emily, a 17-year-old teenage girl who has never really fit into the popular crowd.  The second point of view is Belinda's, a 21-year-old student enrolled in the special education program.  At first, it's clear that Emily and Lucas aren't exactly learning much from their community service, but once Belinda comes back into their lives, they do whatever they can to try and make amends.  While Emily and Lucas are still figuring themselves out, they learn a few important lessons in how to care for others.

Belinda is a sweet girl who typically asks for very few things in life.  One of them is to act and the other is to be with Colin Firth, lead actor in the Pride & Prejudice mini series.  When she comes back to school after 6 weeks of trying to cope on her own, Emily and Lucas find that this may be the only shot they have at making it up to her.  They take her two true joys in life and decide to put on a mini play of Pride and Prejudice, starring Belinda herself.  What they don't realize is how much she'll open up after her grandmother tried hard to keep things buried deep inside.  She's an intelligent and charming character, and I'm glad that the author chose to make her a narrator.

Overall, A Step Toward Falling was more than I expected it to be just from reading the description.  The mystery behind the assault pulled me in, but the nature of each character and how well they worked together made me hold on until the end.  This story is honest and well-written.  Cammie McGovern gives voices to those I haven't gotten to hear much of in YA so far.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and leaving such a thoughtful comment on my ranty post about why I suck at reviewing lately! I'm so glad to know that I'm not alone in feeling this way. This is a great review of one of the e-galleys that expired without me reading it in time but, after reading your review, I'm going to put it on hold at the library and try to read it before the end of the year. I know that I was interested in it when I first downloaded it, and should have read it when I was in a contemporary mood. Sigh, it's hard to be a blogger sometimes =)

    I really like your blog, and I'm going to check out some of your other posts too!