Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 193
A Step Toward Falling is a young adult novel by Cammie McGovern (published in 2015) which represents the coming-of-age of protagonists Emily, Lucas, Belinda, and Anthony, who emerge as modern-day Jane Austen characters. The plot is set in motion when Emily, a shy and bookish girl and leading member of her school's activism club, alongside the high-school jock Lucas, witness to the bullying of a developmentally disabled girl, Belinda.
When it is discovered that these two vastly different high school students are idle while Belinda was being assaulted, they are sentenced to 40 hours of community services at a facility for disabled individuals. Eventually, Belinda returns to school, but is terrified by the ordeal.
Knowing that Belinda loves the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice, Emily has the idea of putting a modern version of the play on at school. The play brings together Belinda and Anthony, a developmentally disabled boy from her class. The story is narrated alternately by Emily and Belinda, affording the reader perspectives from different worlds. The novel brings together characters across boundaries of social circumstance, gender, and general disposition and encourages its readers to reach across these boundaries, too.