I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.
Trigger warning for sexual assault.
Emily witnesses Belinda being sexually assaulted by a classmate and does nothing at all – she freezes up. Belinda manages to save herself, and Emily along with another classmate who witnessed the attack, Lucas, are required to do community service at the local centre for disabled people. Lucas and Emily learn a lot whilst ‘volunteering’ at this support group, and in order to help Belinda, the person they wronged, they set out to put on a play for her.
A Step Toward Falling was a very difficult book for me to rate. On one hand, there were some great messages about not speaking up for vulnerable members of society and the repercussions and violence toward those with developmental disabilities but also messages about a reluctance to speak up after witnessing a sexual assault. But on the other hand, I felt that there were some pretty damaging stereotypes regarding those with developmental disabilities and the issue of the rape was not really addressed, and at certain points this lessened my enjoyment.