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Veritas Edu: Book of the Week

A Step Toward Falling

By Cammie McGovern

Grade Levels: 9+ and Adults

This is Cammie McGovern’s second novel, following the release of her breakout young adult novel, Say What You Will. Her second YA fiction book, A Step Toward Falling, takes as its main topic the bystander effect, the moral imperatives we all have, and making restitution to those we have wronged. The story follows Emily, who considers herself (like we all do) a fundamentally good person. That is until she witnesses an attack on a classmate with developmental difficulties and does nothing. Emily and fellow witness Lucas are required to perform community service for their inaction. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they're starting to make a real difference. But what good is making a difference if they can’t help the one person they hurt the most?

A Step Toward Falling explores themes of responsibility, empathy, and guilt. For those of us who have experienced guilt, this story is a poignant reminder of the pain we can cause another person, as well as the power and difficulty of forgiveness. A Step Toward Falling not only covers important themes and does so in a compelling way, it is a call to compassion.

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