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Look Again (Scottoline)

Look Again 
Lisa Scottoline, 2009
St. Martin's Press
416 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780312380731


Summary 
When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops—the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her every instinct tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful.

But she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. And she can’t shake the question: if Will rightfully belongs to someone else, should she keep him or give him up? She investigates, uncovering clues no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life—and that of the son she loves. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio 
Birth—July 1, 1955
Where—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Education—B. A., J.D., University of Pennsylvania
Awards—Edgar Award
Currently—lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Most authors admit that they need to work in silence in order to get into the creative process. For them, writing is serious work that requires the utmost peace and concentration. Of course, most authors are not writing the kind of whiz-bang, sharp, wild, and witty works that Lisa Scottoline is producing. Scottoline's unusual working methods and desire for all things pop culture have helped her to create some of the most unapologetically entertaining and compulsively page-turning novels in contemporary popular fiction.

Scottoline's initial impetus to become a novelist was not quite as joyful as her novels might suggest. She had recently given up her position as a litigator at a Philadelphia law firm to raise her newborn daughter at the same time as she was breaking up with her husband. While the birth of her daughter was an undoubtedly happy moment for Scottoline, she was also thrust into relative isolation in the wake of her separation and the end of her job. To keep herself busy (when not tending to her daughter, that is), she decided to write a novel, the provoca-tive story of an ambitious young lawyer whose hectic life becomes even more manic when she learns she is being stalked. Three years after beginning the novel, Scottoline sold Everywhere That Mary Went to HarperCollins a mere week after taking a part-time job as a clerk for an appellate judge— her first job since beginning the book. While her transition from lawyer to novelist may seem abrupt to some, Scottoline asserts that it was law school that gave her the necessary tools to spin a compelling yarn.

Scottoline has said that the job of a lawyer is surprisingly similar to that of a good writer: "Take the facts that matter, throw out the ones that don't, order them in such a way in which a point of view is created so that by the time someone is finished listening to your argument or reading your book they see things completely in that point of view."

Scottoline's sure-handed way with an intriguing narrative has led to a string of bestselling thrillers and a popular series revolving around the women of Rosato & Associates, an all-female law firm in Philadelphia—the author's own beloved hometown. Jam-packed with humor, mystery, eroticism, and smarts, her novels are published worldwide and have been translated into twenty-five different languages.

Extras
From a 2005 Barnes & Noble interview:

• Lisa Scottoline is definitely no TV snob. She feels no shame when revealing her love of everything from Court TV to Oprah to The Apprentice to I Love Lucy.

• One of the reasons that Scottoline is such a fabulous writer may have something to do with having a particularly fabulous teacher. While studying English at the University of Pennsylvania she was instructed by National Book Award Winner Philip Roth.

• Don't try this at home! Scottoline completed her first novel, Everywhere That Mary Went, while she and her newborn daughter lived solely on $35,000 worth of credit from five Visa cards, which she'd completely maxed out by the time she completed the book three years later.

When asked what book most influenced her life, here is her answer:

The Firm, by John Grisham. It's a truly page-turning book about lawyers, which ain't easy, and it changed my life on a very literal level. I'd always been a huge fan of the legal thriller, from the time of Erle Stanley Gardner. But John Grisham broke new ground in The Firm, because for the first time, a lawyer was the star of the novel, but he wasn't shown in a courtroom drama—he was an underdog. Admittedly, a good-looking, wealthy, BMW-driving underdog, but an underdog just the same. And Grisham opened my eyes to the possibility that lawyers could have rich interior lives (at the time, I was a lawyer without a rich interior life), and from him I learned that these lives could make for first-rate suspense fiction, which led me to think that maybe I could try my hand at writing, as well. So I owe Grisham, not only as a fan and a lawyer, but as a writer. And I hope that anyone out there who has a secret longing to write a book will give it a try. Everyone has a book in them. Even lawyers. (Author bio and interview from Barnes & Noble.)

Visit Lisa's website and say hello on Facebook.



Book Reviews 
Scottoline's writing hasn't acquired the paunch often found in thrillers by authors whose careers have reached the literary equivalent of middle age. Her plots are as lean and swift as a scull on the Schuylkill River in her native Philadelphia.
Janice Harayda - Washington Post


(Starred review.) Bestseller Scottoline (Lady Killer) scores another bull's-eye with this terrifying thriller about an adoptive parent's worst fear—the threat of an undisclosed illegality overturning an adoption. The age-progressed picture of an abducted Florida boy, Timothy Braverman, on a have you seen this child? flyer looks alarmingly like Philadelphia journalist Ellen Gleeson's three-year-old son, Will, whom she adopted after working on a feature about a pediatric cardiac care unit. Ellen, who jeopardizes her newspaper job by secretly researching the Braverman case, becomes suspicious when she discovers the lawyer who handled her adoption of Will has committed suicide. Meanwhile, Will's supposed birth mother, Amy Martin, dies of a heroin overdose, and Amy's old boyfriend turns out to look like the man who kidnapped Timothy. Scottoline expertly ratchets up the tension as the desperate Ellen flies to Miami to get DNA samples from Timothy's biological parents. More shocks await her back home.
Publishers Weekly


If you received news that threatened your family, would you ignore it or devote yourself to proving it false? Pennsylvania reporter Ellen Gleeson is living an ordinary life with her son and cat until she receives a "Have You Seen This Child?" flyer in the mail. The boy photographed in the flyer bears a striking resemblance to her three-year-old adopted son, Will, and becomes an object of obsession for Ellen, shaking the very foundations of her family and propelling her into an investigation. Is Will really Timothy Braverman, missing since infancy? Ellen finds herself anticipating the worst as her quest for the truth progresses. In typical Scottoline (Daddy's Girl) fashion, a strong female fights for what she believes in, despite more than her share of obstacles. Scottoline's best novel to date will have faithful fans and new readers singing her praises. Highly recommended to all public libraries
Library Journal


In a departure from her wildly popular Rosato & Associates series, Scottoline still sticks to what she knows in this taut stand-alone: female drama, family ties, legal intrigue, and fast-paced action. A sure-fire winner. —Mary Frances Wilkens
Booklist


Legal and illegal shenanigans take a back seat to mother love and its vicissitudes in Scottoline's barn-burning crossover novel about every adoptive mother's worst nightmare. Even though the escalating homicide count in Philadelphia includes more and more children and economic clouds portend layoffs at her newspaper, features reporter Ellen Gleeson has her own private store of sunshine: her three-year-old son Will, whom she fell in love with two years ago when a story about pediatric care brought her to his hospital bedside. Because Will had a heart defect and his mother couldn't care for him, she was willing to sign him over to a single mother, a decision Ellen has blessed every day of her life—until the day she sees a circular asking, "HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD?" with the photograph of a boy whose resemblance to Will is uncanny. Timothy Braverman, abducted from his wealthy Florida parents, Carol and Bill, in a carjacking that went horribly wrong, hasn't been seen since. Despite her dread of confirming her fear that Will is Tim, Ellen can't help neglecting her job (with predictably dire professional results) to gather more information about him, partly because of her reporter's nose for a story, but mostly because she wants what's best for her son, no matter the cost. The trail leads her to a garage full of adoption folders, some unwelcome revelations about Will's birth mother and a tense game of hide-and-seek with the Bravermans as she realizes what a hornet's nest her questions have stirred up, and how determined someone is to make sure this is one story she doesn't break. Though the blood-and-thunder climax arrives a mite early, there's one final twist in reserve. Fans will spot the last twist a mile away, but it doesn't matter. For once Scottoline subordinates the criminal plot to the human-interest story that rides sidesaddle in all her thrillers, and the result is her best book yet.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions 
1. Look Again really examines the notion of parenthood. What do you think makes someone a parent? Do you think the bond a child has with a non-biological parent can be as strong as one they would have with a biological parent? Why?

2. Lisa's favorite quote is one from Eleanor Roosevelt, "A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she's in hot water." How does Ellen prove that she is a strong woman? Does Ellen remind you of anyone you know? Could you relate to Ellen, and did you like her? Why or why not?

3. As a journalist, Ellen has a heightened need to find the truth. In this circumstance, was this a good thing, or a bad thing? What would you have done in Ellen's place? Would you have looked for the truth, even if it meant losing your son? What do you think were Ellen's motivations?

4. The idea of "letting go" a child helped shape the whole premise of the book for Lisa, which led her to thinking about who really "owns" a child. Who do you think "owns" a child, and what exactly does that mean? If children actually "own" themselves, what then is the role of parents, and what are the limitations on parenthood?

5. If the child you raised and loved with all your heart actually belonged to someone else, and you were the only one who knew, would you give the child up? How do you think those around you would react? Who in your life would agree with your decision, and who would have done the opposite?

6. How would you describe Ellen's relationship with her father and how do you think it changed over the course of the book? Ellen considered her mother her go to parent. Do you think everyone has a go to parent, and what defines them as such?

7. What effect do you think all the drama in Will's life will have on him in the future? Do you think things ultimately worked out to his benefit or detriment and why?

8. How do you feel about single parents adopting children? What kind of, if any, additional requirements do you think should be put on single parents before they can adopt? How do you feel about open adoption? Is it better or worse for children? Is it better or worse for the adoptive parents? The biological parents? At what age do you think a child should be told they are adopted?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

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