Excerpt from Save Me by Lisa Scottoline, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Save Me

By Lisa Scottoline

Save Me
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2011,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2012,
    416 pages.

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“Melly, wait!” Rose called out, but Melly was already past her, so she went back to the lunch table. “Amanda, what are you doing? That’s not nice.”

Amanda tilted her face down to hide her smile, but Emily and Danielle stopped laughing, their faces reddening.

“I didn’t do anything.” Emily’s lower lip began to pucker, and Danielle shook her head, with its long, dark braid.

“Me, neither,” she said. The other girls scattered, and the rest of the kids hustled out to recess.

“You girls laughed,” Rose said, pained. “That’s not right, and you should know that. You’re making fun of her.” She turned to Amanda, who was wiping off the jelly with a napkin. “Amanda, don’t you understand how hurtful you’re being? Can’t you put yourself in Melly’s shoes? She can’t help the way she is, nobody can.”

Amanda didn’t reply, setting down the crumpled napkin.

“Look at that bulletin board. See what it says?” Rose pointed to the Building Blocks of Character poster, with its glittery letters that read CARING COMPASSION COMMUNITY, from Reesburgh’s anti-bullying curriculum. “Teasing isn’t caring or compassionate, and—”

“What’s going on?” someone called out, and Rose looked up to see the other lunch mom hurrying over. She had on a denim dress and sandals, and wore her highlighted hair short. “Excuse me, we have to get these girls out to recess.”

“Did you see what just happened?”

“No, I missed it.” “Well, Amanda was teasing and—”

Amanda interrupted, “Hi, Mrs. Douglas.”

“Hi, Amanda.” The lunch mom turned to Rose. “We have to get everybody outside, so the kitchen can get ready for B lunch.” She gestured behind her, where the last students were leaving the cafeteria.

“See? Time to go.”

“I know, but Amanda was teasing my daughter, Melly, so I was talking to her about it.”

“You’re new, right? I’m Terry Douglas. Have you ever been lunch mom before?”

“No.”

“So you don’t know the procedures. The lunch moms aren’t supposed to discipline the students.”

“I’m not disciplining them. I’m just talking to them.”

“What ever, it’s not going well.” Terry nodded toward Emily, just as a tear rolled down the little girl’s cheek.

“Oh, jeez, sorry.” Rose didn’t think she’d been stern, but she was tired and maybe she’d sounded cranky. She’d been up late with baby John, who had another ear infection, and she’d felt guilty taking him to a sitter’s this morning so she could be lunch mom. He was only ten months old, and Rose was still getting the hang of mothering two children. Most of the time she felt torn in half, taking care of one child at the expense of the other, like the maternal equivalent of robbing Peter to pay Paul. “Terry, the thing is, this school has a strict zero-tolerance policy against bullying, and the kids need to learn it. All the kids. The kids who tease, as well as the allies, the kids who laugh and think it’s funny.”

“Nevertheless, when there’s a disciplinary issue, the procedure is for the lunch mom to tell a teacher. Mrs. Snyder is out on the playground. These girls should go out to recess, and you should take it up with her.”

“Can I just finish what I was saying to them? That’s all this requires.” Rose didn’t want to make it bigger, for Melly’s sake. She could already hear the kids calling her a tattletale.

“Then I’ll go get her myself.” Terry turned on her heel and walked away, and the cafeteria fell silent except for the clatter of trays and silverware in the kitchen.

Excerpted from Save Me by Lisa Scottoline. Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Scottoline. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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