Thursday, April 7, 2011

Second Fiddle

Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry was sent to me from her publisher after I had exchanged emails with Parry herself, and after I was totally in love with Parry's first novel, Heart of a Shepherd. This sophomore novel by Parry felt entirely different to me than her first, but equally as wonderful.
Set in 1990, Parry revisits her own time living in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I only have vague memories of this time; I was busy being a teenager in 1990, and the "real world" and this life changing event for the German people seemed remote and not a part of my daily life.

Jody and her two friends are Americans living in Germany during this period in time. Jody has lived many places in her short life because of her father's job and will soon be moving again- this time back to the United States where her family plans on making their home permanently. These friends, Vivian and Giselle, are two girls that Jody has known longer than any other friends and she dreads leaving them. She has enjoyed being a part of a friendship that allows her to share her passion for music, as the friends study under Herr Muller. When the three girls are thrown into a suspenseful situation, trying to move a Russian soldier who has been beaten and left to die to Paris where he can be safe, their friendship grows.

I have seen a number of postings about the opening paragraph in this book. Although I don't want to appear repetitive, it is just too good to overlook.

"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 peoples' problems, so naturally we got involved (1)."

What a wonderful first paragraph, full of the ability to suck a reader right in.

Parry does a great job explaining a bit about the changes in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Russian soldier, Arvo, is also interesting, as his country is Estonia and he does not want to be a part of the Russian army. As a child growing up in the 1980s, the Cold War and communism was something I thought about. Today's middle grade readers know little about the Russian's government or communism. Parry is able to convey enough information about this without overwheming readers.

Second Fiddle has already been named an Indiebound Children's Selection for Spring 2011. As for me, I am hoping that Parry continues to write for middle grade readers. I have loved both books she has written.


Anne Bennett said...

Do you think it would work for high school kids, too, or is this book really targeted to younger teens?

Anna said...

This sounds like a fascinating story. I was too busy being a teen myself during that time, so I don't know a whole lot about it.