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When 13-year-old Jody and her friends save a badly beaten Russian soldier from drowning, they put into motion a chain of events that will take them from Berlin to Paris and straight into danger. Jody must quickly learn to trust herself, because in the time directly after the fall of the ...
When 13-year-old Jody and her friends save a badly beaten Russian soldier from drowning, they put into motion a chain of events that will take them from Berlin to Paris and straight into danger. Jody must quickly learn to trust herself, because in the time directly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the border between friend and enemy is not as clear as it once was.
Award-winning author of Heart of a Shepherd Rosanne Parry offers a fast-paced, coming-of-age story filled with adventure, music, friendship, and intrigue.
From the Hardcover edition.
Tuesday, May 22, 1990
If we had known it would eventually involve the KGB, the French National Police, and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, we would have left that body in the river and called the Polizei like any normal German citizen; but we were Americans and addicted to solving other people's problems, so naturally, we got involved.
It began like every Tuesday afternoon. All the other kids from the American school on the army base at Zehlendorf went to the gym or the after-school matinee or the Scout meeting at the community center, but Giselle and Vivian and I took the S-Bahn to our music lesson in downtown West Berlin. Ordinarily, as soon as we found seats on the train, Vivian would get out her geometry book and Giselle would disappear under headphones with a new cassette from the latest girl rock star. If she remembered to bring extra headphones, I'd listen along, but usually I worked on writing my own music: minuets for the violin, mostly. Not nearly as hip as "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," but I had to start somewhere, and classical music was what I knew. Not that I'd admit this to just anyone, but classical music was what I loved--more than anything.
We were only five days away from the big Solo and Ensemble Contest in Paris. We'd been working on our competition piece, Pachelbel's Canon, since Christmas. Our music teacher thought we had a shot at first place in the twelve-to-fourteen-year-olds group, and Giselle's dad, General Johnson, had bragged to the entire brigade that we were going to clean up, so no pressure or anything. Not that I didn't love winning, but for me the big deal was that it was our first trip to Paris, and it would be our last time ever to perform together as a trio before the army moved Giselle and me back to the States.
So this time, Vivian and Giselle were listening to the Canon together on her Walkman. Vivian closed her eyes and hummed her part, and Giselle ran the fingerings of the tricky section with all the sixteenth notes. A German lady and her kids stared at us like usual. I used to think it was because Giselle was really pretty and kind of hard to miss because she was so tall, but after three years of riding the commuter train, I knew better. I'd never seen a black kid on the train; plenty of Turkish girls, but nobody as dark as Giselle.
We hopped off at the Potsdamer Platz and walked away from the park and museums and into the neighborhood of Kreuzberg, where our music teacher lived. We went right past Checkpoint Charlie--that guardhouse of Communism between the Soviet Union and the West. It was empty and dark as we walked past, abandoned as abruptly as the East Germans had voted out the Communist Party a few months before. The souvenir collectors and reporters had left months ago. Occasionally, we saw a few eager tourists chipping away at the sections of the Wall still standing, but today, nothing.
"So, Jody," Vivian said, "what do you want to see in Paris?"
"The Eiffel Tower," I said automatically. I loved tall things: roller coasters, bridges, the Statue of Liberty, the Space Needle. The upside of being a military kid was that you got to see a lot of cool places. The downside was that every time you made a friend, you had to move away.
"The Eiffel Tower? No way!" Giselle called over her shoulder. As usual, she was a half dozen strides ahead. "Everyone sees the Eiffel Tower. Boring! Let's go to the Racine Club."
"Where?" I said.
"It's a fencing school. The best one in all of France. My fencing master trained there, and he said he'd set up some bouts with the kids who are in training. Come on, it'll be fun!"
I watched one of Giselle's fencing matches last year. Right away I could see why fencing is not a sport on TV.
"Hello?" Vivian said. "This is Paris we're talking about--art museums? Ballet? Neither of you wants to go shopping?"
I, captain of the fashion clueless, shrugged.
"Let's see," Giselle said, turning to face us and extending both hands to weigh the options. "Shopping for fluffy, fruity-smelling French things or meeting Olympic-level athletes--tough call."
Giselle put her hands on her hips and looked down at Vivian, which is not hard even for me. Vivian was the size of your average fourth grader. Vivi glared right back, but it didn't have quite the same punch with her preppy girl clothes and Clark Kent glasses.
"How about this," I broke in as we rounded the corner and came to our music teacher's apartment house. "There's shopping on the Champs-Elysees, right?"
Vivian nodded and held open the door.
"Then we can go to the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the street--that's famous and tall, but not so dorky as the Eiffel Tower, okay?"
Giselle nodded and pushed the button for the elevator.
"And Giselle can, umm . . ."
"Stab anyone who tries to pickpocket us?" Vivian offered.
"Exactly!" I said. "You can stab them fifteen times if you like," I added, remembering how many touches made a match in fencing.
"Perfect!" Giselle said. "And while I go to jail, you two can go see a nice fluffy French ballet." She hip checked Vivian into the elevator as the door slid open and tugged my ponytail as she followed me in.
"I would bring you cake if you were in jail," I said.
"Yes," Vivi added. "Chocolate cake with a bomb inside and directions for your escape in secret code!"
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted August 28, 2012
Second Fiddle By Rosanne Perry. It was a very wonderfull book. Filled
with mystery,suspence,and adventure. I especialy enjoyed the part were
they played music for the family who played at the galla. It was a book
based in West Berlin in the year 1990. It is about 3 children who plan
on going to Paris for a music competition. But when their music teacher
needs surgery they find out they cant go. Dissapointed they go out for
galato. They take it down to the river were they find a rassbery bush
and decide to call it their secret hiding place. Hidden from the world
at the moment a truck drives up and out come four Russian soldiers
carring a unconsious russian soldier. They throw him over the brige and
drive away. Being kind hearted girls they go save him. After he recovers
they devolope a plan to go to Paris and pertende the russian soldier is
their music teacher. They go to Paris and compete in the competition
only to be deserted by the russian soldier. They go through paris alone
with no money and no parents. So their journey begins. If you want to no
want happen to them in paris read this book. Rosanne Perry did a great
job at letting the children travel through West Berlin and Paris. I
think that if you like to read you will like this book. I greatley
enjoyed this book and would gladley read it again. Complements of the
Mother Daughter Book Club.
Posted February 7, 2012
Berlin, May 1990, six months after the fall of the Wall. Jody and her two best friends are trying to make the most of the time they have left together. The three girls, daughters of American Army soldiers, will soon be separated as Jody and Giselle’s families are moving back to the States. An upcoming music competition in Paris is supposed to be their last hurrah, but plans change after they watch a soldier get beaten and then thrown in a river by KGB soldiers.
This is a wonderful story about friendship, making difficult decisions, and standing up for what is right. Pair this book with Wallflower by Holly-Jane Rahlens for another look at Berlin shortly after the fall of the Wall. The cover art on the hardcover edition will not appeal to many of my students, although I believe it fits quite well with the story. The paperback edition will be published 3/13/12 with new cover art.
Posted June 14, 2011
Jody, Giselle, and Vivian live on a military base in Germany. The three girls have one thing in common - music. They have been taking lessons from Herr Muller for years and are about to attend another competition. Their string trio has played well in the past, but this year they've practiced hard and are hoping to win. However, they will soon learn about much more than their music. While the girls have been busy practicing, history has been changing around them. It's 1990 and the Berlin Wall between East and West Germany has crumbled. The changes in Germany mean that Jody's father will be retiring and moving them back to the United States. Because of this, she is especially excited about playing with her friends for perhaps the last time. One thing Jody is not expecting is to see a young soldier thrown off a bridge. As her friends watch, she rescues the soldier, and they drag him to safety. Once he is out of danger, the girls learn his name is Arvo Kross. He explains that he is an Estonian, and that he was attempting to leave his regiment because he was being ordered to complete a dangerous mission he believed was wrong. Arvo convinces the girls that his life is in danger if he remains in Berlin, and he insists that even the Americans at the German base will not be able to help him. Jody is determined to help Arvo find a safe haven. When the girls find out their music teacher won't be able to take them to their competition in Paris as scheduled, Jody sees a chance to help Arvo. Since their parents don't know about the cancelled performance, Jody explains how they can pool their resources and help Arvo leave Berlin to seek help in Paris. Besides saving their new friend, the three girls think he will be able to act as the adult necessary to get them registered for the music competition. What follows is an exciting journey to the city of Paris. The girls do make an appearance at the competition, but that's just the beginning of their musical adventure. Rosanne Parry is the author of SECOND FIDDLE, as well as an earlier novel titled HEART OF A SHEPHERD. In her author's note for this book, she explains that her own experiences in Germany from 1990-1992 inspired her story. SECOND FIDDLE features three strong characters who take matters into their own hands, and through creative problem-solving manage to take care of themselves and at the same time uncover a bit of espionage.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.