I personally loved this book. I loved Cammie's other novel, Say What You Will and I couldn't wait to read this. I couldn't stop reading it and I was not disappointed. I loved the character's and the story line and basically just everything about it.
When I first heard about A Step Towards Falling, it was at the Harper Frenzy event I went to back in August. The presenter opened by stating "What if you saw something horrible, and did nothing about it?" and that really is the large message that is presented in this novel.
Lucas and Emily see their classmate who has a developmental disability get abused at a football game, and neither of them make any attempts to stop the cruelty. Because of their failed actions, they are forced to volunteer at a class for people with developmental disabilities, but teaching them about relationships. I really enjoyed this novel, but in presentation and form. I liked that we are given Emily and Belinda's points of view on the event itself and the aftermath, and I like McGovern's approach on the subject of disability.
There's not enough YA out there that focuses on disability, and it's a shame really because it's a group of people who tend to get ignored. Often I feel like there's this fear of offending someone or the group in question, but this is a group that is challenging to write about without someone feeling frustrated or offended. I for one commend McGovern, if only because she is providing a voice we don't often see in YA, and one that needs to be there and understood. We see people with disabilities every day of our lives, and yet in some many cases we don't actually know how to work with them or even show that we acknowledge them. It's wrong, and this novel reminded me of that in a lot of ways.
Throughout my high school and university years, I both volunteered and worked in a department for special needs. It's a difficult line of work because every person is different, and they cannot always be responded to in the same way. I really liked how McGovern shows this in the novel with the characters, especially Belinda and her family. After the incident her family tries so hard to shelter her, make her feel like she can't belong because it's unsafe, and yet you can see how much Belinda wants to be a part of the world. I also love that she wasn't given everything she wanted either, because it's not always possible. There's one bit in the story that reminded me of my years of working with special needs and it's where they are acting out a scene and one of the students attempts emotional manipulation on her partner, and Mary the council tries to get the group to understand why that's not an acceptable response or practice.
I also loved Belinda's love of Colin Firth and wanting a Colin Firth of her own. I also love that she gets one, though I adore that they have some actual trial and tribulation to go through. I really wanted to smack Chet throughout the novel, if only because there's that part of me that has worked with people with disabilities my whole life and me screaming "YOU DON'T DO THAT. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU."
Overall, I loved the message and the story in A Step Towards Falling. The reveal of Belinda's assault is one of the most devastating parts of the novel -- you feel angry for her, because at the end of the day she didn't deserve what she got. While the novel had some slow moments for me, I appreciated the honesty in both the character portrayal and the message that McGovern was trying to get out there. While I have yet to read Say What You Will, I appreciate that there are writers like Cammie McGovern trying to get the voices of those with disabilities out there in mainstream YA.
Loved this book!
this was a really good book. I really enjoyed the characters of Emily and Belinda. I like how the author made The character of Belinda who has some sort of developmental disability she like a well fleshed out character I enjoyed her chapters in the book much more than the Emily ones.
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