Emily and Lucas only have one thing in common. They were both at the wrong place at the right time, and they both reacted in the same way. They chose to look the other way.
The cover of A STEP TOWARD FALLING states, "Sometimes the worst thing you can do is nothing at all." That's what Emily did the night she saw Belinda under the bleachers. She knew something bad was happening, but when she saw Lucas was also watching, she made the decision to let him deal with it. Later, she learned that Lucas felt the same way, and no one stepped in to help the helpless Belinda.
Emily and Lucas have the same punishment for their thoughtless inaction. They are required to put in volunteer time at the Life-Long Learning Center that serves adults with disabilities. Their assignment is a class called Boundaries and Relationships in which the young adults are given instruction on dating and other social interactions. It is quite an eye-opener for Emily and Lucas as they learn to work with disabled people just like Belinda.
As her days at home pass, Belinda begins to wonder if she should go back to school. She misses her job sorting and delivering mail in the high school office, and she misses some of her classmates in the resource room where she attends class. Her grandmother is completely against her going back to school because she doesn't believe Belinda will be kept safe. Belinda is surprised though, when her mother, suffering from her own mental health issues, steps up to encourage Belinda to go back to school.
As Emily and Lucas learn more about the true abilities of people like Belinda, they come up with a plan to help her regain her courage and show her how much they regret their lack of action when she needed them the most. Although their scheme may not go exactly as planned, they are determined to make things up to Belinda and become her friends in the process.
Author Cammie McGovern uses this tender and insightful story to show readers that we may not all have the same abilities, but we all have something to give that is sure to make a difference. As part of an organization called Whole Children, McGovern knows first hand about adults and children with special needs. Her determination to give their cause the attention it deserves is clearly evident in A STEP TOWARD FALLING.