Saturday, April 9, 2011

Julie's Review: Save Me

Save Me Summary: At the start of this gut-wrenching stand-alone from bestseller Scottoline (Think Twice), an explosion rips through the nearly empty cafeteria of Reesburgh (Pa.) Elementary School. Lunch mother Rose McKenna leads two girls to safety before racing to rescue her own daughter, Melly, but Rose soon learns that she may face both civil and criminal charges for her heroics because one of the girls she saved was seriously injured in the resulting fire that killed three school staff members. The tension rises as the united front presented by Rose and her lawyer husband, Leo Ingrassia, begins to disintegrate in the face of media demands, legal maneuverings, and social pressures. Rose must also deal with school bullying (Melly has a noticeable facial blemish), difficult legal problems, and her husband's reaction when a secret from her past is revealed. Scottoline melds it all into a satisfying nail-biting thriller sure to please her growing audience.

Review: Lisa Scottoline is one of my favorite female authors. I admit, I'm a bit behind on her books but I'm fairly certain I'll catch up this year. She never ceases to write a good book that makes you think on a variety of levels. Save Me is a thought provoking, taut story that never lets up.

Ms. Scottoline deals with quite an array of subject matters in the novel: bullying, mother's guilt, safety and criminal negligence. We are introduced to Rose McKenna, a stay at home mom who has moved to a new school so that her daughter, Melly, can get away from the bullying at her old school. Needless to say the bullying continues at her new school, so Rose decides to become a lunch mom to keep an eye on her daughter. It took a long time for Rose to grow on me and in the end I ended up liking her but not loving her. I did adore her husband Leo who was extremely grounded and perfect for the meek Rose. Rose is in the middle of talking to the girls who are teasing Melly when there is an explosion. Rose is knocked out and comes to, proceeds to get the girls out and then goes to look for her daughter Melly. Of course, she is initially lauded as a hero but then the story takes a turn. Did Rose get the girls out of the school or did she not? Did she foresake the safety of others to rescue her own child?

This is where I thought the book would go: the aftermath of the explosion and how a community either pulls together or gets ripped apart. There was some of that in the book but the novel shifts to figuring out who was negligent for the explosion. Did I find this interesting? Yes. It's just not what I thought the novel was going to explore.

There are a couple twists and turns in the book but I honestly felt that all of them were out of left field. I'm not sure if I completely believe the whole conspiracy idea behind two accidents in the book though.

I did like how Rose finally took her life and her family's welfare into her own hands by trying to figure all of this out. Of course she gets in over her head but everything works out.

The ending was a little too saccarine for me but overall the book makes you think. What would you do in that situation? Would you make sure the kids were completely out of the building before rushing in to save your own child? What kind of procedures are in place for those parents who volunteer at schools? Are they put through drills so that they know what to do in case of an emergency? Are our schools doing everything possible to keep our children safe? Or are corners being cut because of budget issues? Does a parent have the right to reprimand another child if they are not following the school's honor code?

I definitely enjoyed the book and if you are a Lisa Scottoline fan, then you will definitely not want to miss this one. If you've never read her before I suggest going with her Rosato and Associates novels. You can find her list of books here.

Final Take: 3.75/5

Save Me will be on sale on 4/12/2011.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a ARC of the book.



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