Summary (courtesy of GoodReads): Susan Pressman volunteers as a lunch mom in her daughter Melly's school in order to keep an eye on Amanda, a mean girl who's been bullying her daughter. Her fears come true when the bullying begins, sending Melly to the bathroom in tears. Just as Susan is about to follow after her daughter, a massive explosion goes off in the kitchen, sending the room into chaos. Susan finds herself faced with the horrifying decision of whether or not to run to the bathroom to rescue her daughter or usher Amanda to safety. She believes she has accomplished both, only to discover that Amanda, for an unknown reason, ran back into the school once out of Susan's sight. In an instance, Susan goes from hero to villain as the small community blames Amanda's injuries on her. In the days that follow, Susan's life starts to fall to pieces, Amanda's mother decides to sue, her marriage is put to the test, and worse, when her daughter returns to school, the bullying only intensifies. Susan must take matters into her own hands and get down to the truth of what really happened that fateful day in order to save herself, her marriage and her family.
In the way that Look Again had readers questioning everything they thought they knew about family, Save Me will have readers wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking and honest.
And here's what I thought: I've enjoyed other books by Lisa Scottoline, so when I received this book through LibraryThing, I was pretty happy. As you can see from the above summary, this is a pretty gripping story. And if you've read anything by this author, you know it's going to have a fast pace, action, and some heavy-hitting emotions.
I found the story to be interesting -- the whole "what do you do" situation that Susan finds herself in, and when she does what she thinks is the right thing, it turns out that it's not that simple. The small town that she lives in seems to pull away from her, and just when she thinks she can find shelter in her marriage, another ugly secret from her past is brought to light. It's a constant back-and-forth to see what's going to happen, and things really ramp up partway through the book when it begins to look like the fire in the school may have been set on purpose.
Susan's a sympathetic character and I found that I was holding my breath a few times when I was reading, just because I was worried for her. She's smart, but she's not always sure of herself (I mean, who would be, in her situation?). She's funny, but sometimes it seems like she's barely hanging on. What I like about her is that she's determined. She knows there's more going on with the school fire than meets the eye, and even when all odds seem to be against her, she just keeps on pushing to find out the truth. And you know what quote from the book about her I like the most? It's close to the end of the story, when she's in a dangerous situation --- "She was a mom, not an action hero. Then she realized something: Every mom is an action hero." (p. 328). I thought that was pretty cool.
This is a story about not only one mother who is devoted to protecting her child, but also a story about a woman who finds herself in the process, and who comes to terms with the guilt she's been carrying for years over an event that happened to her when she was a teen. Definitely a page turner.
First sentences: Rose McKenna stood against the wall in the noisy cafeteria, having volunteered as lunch mom, which is like a security guard with eyeliner. Two hundred children were talking, thumb-wrestling, or getting ready for recess, because lunch period was almost over. Rose was keeping an eye on her daughter, Melly, who was at the same table as the meanest girl in third grade. If there was any trouble, Rose was going to morph into a mother lion, in clogs."
Thoughts on the cover: Perfect for this story. I love the way the woman has the child in her embrace, sheltering her from the wind.