The Story Behind Belinda from A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern (with Giveaway)

a step toward falling cammie mcgovern blog tour

A Step Toward Falling has been on our most anticipated reads list ever since we read the description, and we’re thrilled that author Cammie McGovern stopped by today to tell us the story behind one of the main characters, Belinda. We’ve also got a fabulous giveaway to share with you, but before we get to that, here’s the 411 on the book:

***About the Book***

The Story Behind Belinda from A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern (with Giveaway)A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern
Published by HarperTeen on October 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Goodreads Buy the Book

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 Story Behind Belinda***

from author Cammie McGovern

With A Step Toward Falling, I wanted to write a story about two teens who fail to intervene when they witness a developmentally disabled classmate being attacked. Their punishment is community service time volunteering in a class with disabled teens so they can learn firsthand, not to be scared of helping a peer they didn’t understand very well. Belinda, one of the two narrators is based on a young woman with Down syndrome who I met about four years ago, but in the beginning, I never intended to write part of the book from Belinda’s point of view. How could I? I thought. She’s cognitively disabled. Even though I am a parent of a 19-year-old with autism and intellectual disability, I can’t pretend to know how his brain works or what he thinks.

And then I sat in on the class I wanted my main characters to volunteer in. It was called Boundaries and Relationships, and it taught students with intellectual disability about sexuality and dating. To be honest, I wondered if a class like this was even a good idea. Most of the students were in their late teens but none of them had any realistic idea of what a relationship involved. They talked about dating pop singers and marrying characters on TV shows. One girl wasn’t interested in having any boyfriend besides Justin Bieber. None of them were interested in dating anyone they knew or—heaven forbid—each other. Then one young woman with little round glasses, a blond bob haircut and Down syndrome stood up and announced, “My ideal boyfriend would be Mr. Darcy as played by Colin Firth in the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice,” and my heart skipped a beat. I spent most of my adolescence pining for my suburban LA high school to start resembling a Jane Austen novel and (more specifically) this exact production of my favorite one. If someone had asked me to name my ideal boyfriend, this would have been my answer.

Over the semester that I spent sitting in on this class, I got to know this young woman more. Again and again, I was surprised by how much we had in common—we liked the same BBC movie adaptations; we hated loud music and parties in general. If she had her choice, she told me, she’d rather meet someone in “a ballroom dancing situation.” I blushingly told her of my own ballroom dance lessons as a 15-year-old in Cotillion, a mysterious oddity of teenage days spent in Los Angeles where most of my peers were driving new sports cars they’d gotten for their 16th birthday.

Of course I understood this woman wasn’t exactly like me. She had a little trouble talking about anything except Pride and Prejudice; she hated when boys spoke to her without bowing first. She could be a little demanding sometimes, trying to get the people around her to behave like the characters in her favorite mini-series. But I also knew I could write part of this story from her point of view. She loved Colin First for the same reasons I did: his shyness, his unspoken good deeds, the lake scene. We were both old-fashioned souls stuck in a world that moved faster than we wanted it to. Our brains might work differently, but our hearts didn’t.

***About Cammie McGovern***

Author Cammie McGovernCammie McGovern was born in Evanston, Illinois, but moved to Los Angeles when she was seven years old. She is the author of three adult novels, The Art of Seeing, Eye Contact, and Neighborhood Watch. Say What You Will was published by HarperTeen in June, 2014. She currently lives in Amherst, MA, with her husband and three sons, the oldest of whom is autistic.

Find Cammie Here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

We Belinda even more now! What do you think, Pretties? Are you as excited as we are to read A Step Toward Falling? But wait! There’s more:


One winner will get two copies of A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern, one for themselves and one to give to a friend.
Must be 13+ To Enter |Ships in US only | Winner will be asked to provide contact info for friend so we can gather their shipping info and mail directly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern!

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