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Author: Parry, Rosanne
Six months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, three 8th-grade girls on an American military base with their families in Berlin try to save a Russian soldier, who has been beaten and left for dead.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 143246
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 53567
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
School Library Journal (03/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (03/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2011 Jody, daughter of a soldier stationed in Berlin in 1990, is walking home from string-trio practice with Giselle and Vivian (also expats and fellow eighth-graders) when they witness a Soviet soldier beaten and thrown into the river by his own officers; they drag him from the water, perform CPR, and, despite their misgivings, become invested in his survival. Arvo, the soldier, just wants to return home to agitate for his people’s independence from the USSR (he’s Estonian), but he has uncovered a plot by the KGB to sell poison gas to Iraq, and if he stays in East Berlin, he’s doomed. The obvious solution, of course, is for the girls to invite Arvo to pose as their music teacher and accompany them to their chamber competition in Paris-right? What could go wrong? The trio’s efforts to survive in Paris-including busking, playing for a gallery opening, patronizing a famed literary salon, and befriending a gypsy family of fellow performers-and earn back their train fare after being apparently abandoned and robbed by Arvo are among the most vivid and fascinating of the novel. Unfortunately, they are also brief and largely tangential. Both violence and triumph play out with an odd sense of distance, making the book almost too understated (not helped by the frequent “if I had known then” interjections); while the international intrigue and the mundane teen anxieties are well captured and appealing, their blending is somewhat clumsy, and they’re set amid considerable contrivance. The political and historical backdrop, however, is perfectly age-pitched and deftly brought to life. Jody’s military-kid longing for a long-term home and friendships is universally relatable, and her story provides a poignant window into a period of recent history still only sparsely covered by children’s literature. CG - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2011 Gr 5–8—Growing up in military families in the 1990s has its unique challenges and expectations for Jody, Giselle, and Vivian. These girls must deal with living out of the country, moving frequently, changing schools, and forging new peer relationships. At the same time, high-ranking parent figures provide a level of pressure to perform well and succeed. Based in Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reuniting of the East and West, the girls become best friends through their classical strings music lessons with maestro. After a much-anticipated music competition in Paris, the girls' families will leave for new assignments. The week before the trip, Herr Müller becomes ill and cannot attend, leaving the girls disappointed yet determined to go. Simultaneously their discovery and secret rescue of a Russian soldier beaten and left for dead has the girls devising a plan to smuggle him to Paris on their unsupervised weekend trip. Suspense, intrigue, and a series of fortuitous circumstances conveniently blend to bring amateurish espionage and adventure to the girls' escapades. Working around their gullibility and innocence, these eighth graders attempt to solve numerous problems from the theft of their passports and money, to working for their meals and way home, to interfering in a possible international incident. Parry introduces some colorful, artsy characters as second fiddles to her three main protagonists led by Jody's first-person narrative. Fast paced and appealing, with a tidy conclusion.—Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2011 The fall of the Soviet Communist regime and the nomadic lives of soldiers’ children are uncommon subjects for youth books, and Parry draws on her own experience to craft an engaging story that incorporates those elements. In 1990 Berlin, eighth-grade best friends Jody, Giselle, and Vivian are looking forward to their string trio’s competition in Paris. Walking home after their teacher cancels the trip, the girls witness Soviet officers dumping a beaten soldier into a river. After saving his life, the girls concoct a scheme that will help the soldier while getting them to Paris, but when their plan goes seriously awry, they have to use all of their skills to get home. The girls share a believable blend of naïveté and worldly experience, and each emerges as a distinct personality. Narrated by shy Jody, the exciting adventure gallops along, and readers will happily overlook some plot conveniences for the suspense and well-drawn settings. Soviet spies, spunky friends, and music combine in an enjoyable choice for middle-graders, who will absorb a lot of history along the way. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.