October 5, 2015

Review: A Step Toward Falling

A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern
Grade: C
Release date: October 13, 2015
An ARC was provided by HarperTeen via BEA in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Cammie McGovern does not shy away from tough topics and for this, I applaud her. In an industry that needs more diverse books, McGovern writes novels about disabled and mentally ill characters. I have never read anything like A Step Toward Falling. At first I was very invested and interested, but here's what I didn't like about McGovern's debut novel or this one - the actual carrying out of the plot is a bit boring. I lost interest multiple times and felt disconnected from the narrators (Emily and Belinda). Their voices also sounded just a bit too similar to me at times. I did appreciate that McGovern didn't limit the point-of-view jumps by chapter. You'll get both Emily and Belinda sections in every chapter, and it's always clear when it jumps characters but they still didn't sound all that different to me. Chad was an interesting character, but I thought parts of his addition to the plot were wholly unnecessary. I knew Lucas and Emily would end up together just because it felt expected. Same for Belinda and Anthony. Writing romances just isn't McGovern's strength.
I don't remember much foul language. When we're shown the actual incident through Belinda's eyes, it could be a bit triggering for some readers.

The Verdict: Points for a pretty cover. Points for not shying away from disabled characters and consequences. But the rest is pretty meh.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Not sure. Leaning towards no.

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