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Second Fiddle

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  251 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
The author of Heart of a Shepherd offers another sensitive portrayal of military families, this time stationed abroad, in the city of Berlin at that historic time just after the Wall came down.

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
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 645)
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Apr 29, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry was an alluring read that had me enamored throughout. A young adult novel about three girlfriends who plan a trip to Paris for a musical competition, the story takes place in 1990 in Germany, when the wall has just come down. On their way home from a music lesson one day they witness a crime and end up saving the life of a Soviet soldier who is wanted from the government. Little did they know he'd turn their whole world upside down. They decide to help him get home ...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Mar 31, 2011 Margo Tanenbaum rated it really liked it
In her second novel for young people, Rosanne Parry takes us back to Berlin in 1990, at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism in Eastern Europe. The novel has a terrific opening line:

"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 an normal German citizen..."

Our narrator, Jody, is a army kid, used to moving constantly and n
Clare Cannon
Apr 19, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 12 years+
Shelves: 13-15yrs

Wow, that was impressive. Parry has crafted insightful historical fiction from a period that I've read very little about, I learned so much even from the Author's note at the end. It's also a beautiful story of friendship, of heroism, of art, music, culture and creativity all threaded together in one gigantic adventure.

It is set in Germany in 1990, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Three 13-year-old ex-pat friends are disappointed that their music teacher has to cancel their trip to perfo
Mary Louise Sanchez
Nov 02, 2011 Mary Louise Sanchez rated it really liked it
An American military base in 1990s Germany is home to three friends, Jody, Giselle and Vivian, who are also in a stringed trio. The friends will be separated soon because Jody's father will be moving the family to Texas, so a final musical competition in Paris is something the girls have been looking forward to. When they have a final rehearsal at their music teacher's house, they learn their teacher,Herr Muller, won't be able to accompany them. The girls try to come up with another solution whi ...more
Oct 03, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
Loved the sense of adventure and place in this book. Had issues with the lying, but the author resolved those by the end.
Katie Jane
Sep 08, 2011 Katie Jane rated it really liked it
This is my childhood! Minus the attempted murder of a foreign soldier.
Allison L
Sep 20, 2012 Allison L rated it really liked it
“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.”

This is the introduction to Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry. Quite an attention grabber, right? That’s what I thought when I first heard it at the Stages on Pages event at Oblo
Beth G.
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.

Berlin in 1990: a city in transition. The Wall has just come down, people have fled from East Berlin in search of better lives, and the Soviet Army is facing some ser
Lisa Ard
May 07, 2012 Lisa Ard rated it it was amazing
It's 1990 Berlin. The wall has come down but remnants of the former division are everywhere - a crumbling wall, the desolate apartments in East Berlin, the funny-looking Trabant cars and the Soviet soldiers. When Jody and her two best friends see Soviet officers attempt to murder one of their own, the three Americans act to save the wounded soldier. Learning his story, the three girls pledge not to tell their fathers and mothers serving with the American military and government in Berlin. Instea ...more
Cindy Hudson
May 03, 2011 Cindy Hudson rated it it was amazing
Jody and her friends, Giselle and Vivian, can’t believe their music teacher has to cancel their trip to Paris for a musical competition. It was supposed to be the last chance they would have to play together before Jody and Giselle leave the U.S. Army base in Berlin and return to the U.S.

Then they witness the attempted murder of a Soviet soldier by his own officers. The girls realize the only way they can truly save his life is to smuggle him out of Berlin. And that trip to Paris may be just the
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

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 h
Dec 03, 2012 Karen rated it really liked it
Jody is a 13 year old American girl, living in Berlin with her military father and family. Together, with her two American best friends, she rescues a Russian Soldier left for dead. They scheme up a plan to help him escape and also make it to their musical competition in Paris after their music teacher had to cancel. Little did they know, their lives would be in jeopardy and they would soon have to decide if their new “friend” wasn’t the real enemy.

I will be the first to admit, I am not a fan hi
Feb 07, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, read-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 fri
Maybe because I refuse to believe I'm getting old, I tend to forget that historical fiction can also mean fiction about history that happened in my lifetime. The year is 1990, the Berlin Wall has fallen, and Jody, an Army kid, is preparing to move back to the States when her father retires from the service in a few weeks. Even though she's only been in Berlin for three years, it's the longest she's ever lived anywhere, and Giselle (another Army kid) and Vivian (daughter of an American diplomat) ...more
Tina Hoggatt
Feb 14, 2012 Tina Hoggatt rated it it was amazing
Rosanne Parry handles this story of a young girl finding her confidence in friendship and her own musical ability, told against the backdrop of Berlin in the early 90's, surely and with affection. I loved all three of her girls, distinct characters all, and enjoyed learning about military life and culture through each of them. The depth of the portrayal of music in a young life, the first glimmerings of a crush on an impossible object of admiration, daring actions and espionage, as well as the h ...more
Jun 25, 2011 Janni added it
I thoroughly enjoyed this gentle story about being an artist/musician and finding one's place in the world (even when one is part of a constantly-moving military family), and how the former can help with the latter.

Along the way the story includes an escaped Soviet soldier, KGB spies, French police, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, all of which somehow supports the story about music and home. Somehow, the story is no less gentle for all these things. I'm still thinking about that.

I want to say
Sep 13, 2011 Rad rated it really liked it
Okay, this would be a fantastic book to give to people who have problems getting rid of the parents. But it's historical, so the lack of cell phones, airport checks, and heightened security are not as prevalent as they would be in a more contemporary novel.

Anyway, I found this surprisingly page-turning. And by "surprisingly" I mean that the cover, title, and first chapter don't really make it seem that way.

I also fell in love with pretty much every character, from the grumpy cat to the kind-hear
Apr 21, 2012 BJ rated it really liked it
I got this book in a giveaway and didn't really know what to expect. I really enjoyed it! I don't normally read books for younger readers but found this book very entertaining. This is a story about 3 young girls, daughters of military fathers who live in Berlin at the time the wall fell. The author skillfully creates a mystery that flows very smoothly with a wonderful description of Berlin and Paris. I enjoyed the creativeness and independence displayed by these young girls. This was a very fun ...more
Carol Caldwell
May 06, 2012 Carol Caldwell rated it really liked it
This young adult fiction is easy to read. It's about a girl living in Germany with her Army dad, mom and 2 brothers. It's also about 3 friends who desperately grab a last chance to be together before the Army transfers their families away. What gets in their way is a soldier in the Russian army who is almost killed by his fellow soldiers. Their rescue of him goes unreported to their parents, which gets them in a lot of trouble with their parents, the US Army, and French police. It's a very enter ...more
Jun 21, 2011 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh gosh, I loved this book! The cover seems to portray just a dreamy girl with a violin, but make no mistake - this is an adventure book! Set in 1990 Berlin, just after the fall of the Berlin wall, three girls enter a prestigious music competition, drag a dying Soviet soldier from the river, survive a train ride to Paris with the KGB after them, and while on their own in Paris, become the center of an international incident. Great fun, and an excellent read. Recommended!
Aug 27, 2013 Deb rated it really liked it
I loved this book, which I read as one of next year's Oregon Battle of the Books selections for middle schoolers. Though the sheer volume of their adventures may be somewhat implausible, the book is well written and draws you into the exploits of the three friends, and especially into the mind of Jody's character. The setting is a fascinating time in history, and you can't help but be drawn into the plot while you learn a bit about post-Wall Europe. Thumbs up!
Sarah Tilatitsky
May 15, 2011 Sarah Tilatitsky rated it really liked it
This book is pretty sad, but this is a pretty good story with a nice, happy ending that seems complete. It's not like a "happily ever after" ending, or a really bad ending where everyone dies, and then everything is at peace, but a good ending that seems to leave you wonder what will happen next, but not really bothering to. It's sort of like real life. As if there was an era, but it ending. Still, this book is pretty great with the plot and everything.
Lonna Pierce
Jul 07, 2012 Lonna Pierce rated it it was amazing
Set in post-Berlin Wall Germany in 1990, this mystery finds a string trio of young girls witnessing a brutal attempted murder of a Soviet soldier in East Germany. Their subsequent musical adventure in Paris alone is thrilling, but the real power of the novel is in the realistic glimpse into the world of military families with their particular challenges and attributes.
Kay Carman
Feb 23, 2016 Kay Carman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soldiers
Three middle school-aged girls, daughters of soldiers or American diplomats stationed in Berlin in 1990, witness the attempted murder of a Soviet soldier. After Arvo, the soldier, is beaten and thrown off a bridge, Jody and her friends pull his body from the river, resuscitate him, hide and nurture him. They hatch a plan they believe will allow them to move him to Paris where he believes he can find sympathizers to help him return home to Estonia.

The girls play together in a string trio, and wh
Apr 02, 2015 Martha rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: middle schoolers
I really like the feel of this book. Historical fiction (during my lifetime - isn't that a weird feeling), adventure, European setting, military families, music, friendships that don't bicker, families that care... and writing that helps put you into it all.
Jan 12, 2012 Sheila rated it it was amazing
I really liked this. There isn't a lot of good historical fiction in this time period. I liked all the different layers--the music competition, the problem with the soldier, the personal growth, the friendships...just an all around good novel.
Mar 03, 2012 Betsy rated it really liked it
One Sentence Review: A historical novel (yes, the 90s are historical now) Parry cleverly balances the spy genre with a truly heartfelt tale of what it means to be an army brat when all you want is for things to stay the same.
Tracy Hubbard
Jul 21, 2012 Tracy Hubbard rated it really liked it

Historical fiction. A girl is leaving Berlin with her family as her father's new military assignment there ends. Walking along the river with her friends, they happen to see a man roughed up and hiding.
I completely enjoyed this story about the friendship of 3 girls and music and Berlin and Paris at a time of great upheaval in Berlin. I want her to come to my library. Maybe I'll ask her.
Debbie Hoskins
Mar 11, 2012 Debbie Hoskins rated it really liked it
Adventurous story about three girls from American military families that are in Germany. The girls are in a string trio. Jody is an aspiring composer.
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The Book Clubs at...: Second Fiddle, by Rosanne Parry 1 1 Aug 21, 2014 05:19AM  
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  • Addie on the Inside (The Misfits, #3)
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Hey there,
I'm the author of the novels Heart of a Shepherd, Second Fiddle, Written in Stone, and the upcoming The Turn of the Tide, all published by Random House. I also wrote the picture book Daddy's Home.

All of my books have won awards, some of them bunches of awards, and obviously I'm proud of them all, so go look at the website for unbridled bragging.

I write because I love the power of story
More about Rosanne Parry...

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“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.” 2 likes
“I'm going to imagine that converstion now. 'Hi, Mom, it's me. I ran away to Paris with a stranger I met under a bridge. He's really old, too, like twenty-five or something, and a soldier, so I helped him desert from his army, and, oh, did I mention he's a Communist'...” 1 likes
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