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Summary: During a school fire, a mom is torn between saving her daughter or the kids in her care, with deadly consequences.
I originally thought this was a book about bullying, but it was so much more. Rose volunteers as a lunch mom at her daughter Melly's school, hoping to intervene in the some of the constant bullying that Melly is a victim to.
On Rose's very first day, she sees Melly run away in tears and hide in the bathroom. Rose goes over to confront the girl, and the entire lunchroom is rocked by a gas explosion. In a split second, Rose must decide: Does she go back in towards the fire in hopes of saving Melly, or does she get the girls she's talking to to safety? Rose escorts the bullying girls to the door to outside and then runs back in, hoping to save Melly. Melly has locked the door and has passed out from smoke inhalation.
Rose does save Melly, but just barely. Unfortunately, the chief bully ran back inside for her ipod and lays in a coma. Rose goes from hero mom to social pariah in a day. Confession time here: I have never finished a Jodi Picoult book. I find her writing maudlin and cliched. The first part of this book seemed to be very much written in a Picoult-ish style (instead of Scottoline's style) and I almost didn't continue. In fact, it took me a long time to push through.
I'm glad I did persevere because the book became much of what I love about Lisa Scottoline's style: ordinary women doing sneaky adventurous things and escaping danger. The ending was a little too neat and tidy but certain scenes made my heart race. Not Scottoline's best, but decent.