Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SECOND FIDDLE by Siobhán Parkinson


or How to Tell a Blackbird from a Sausage

by Siobhán Parkinson

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 1-59643-122-9
Publisher: Roaring Brook

Irish narrator Mags has moved to a new town after her father’s death. Talented Gillian, who practices violin in the woods Mags explores, can’t seem to find her own dad. An aspiring writer at age 11, Mags ostensibly crafts this dual-voiced novel, giving herself the longer, cleverer bits. Mags hatches a plan to find Gillian’s recalcitrant father and tap him for the money Gillian needs to audition at a renowned London music school. Parkinson portrays a fresh, feisty heroine in Mags, whose “Project Manhunt”—far more intriguing to her than Gillian—is an unconscious stab at reconciling her father’s death. There are poignant, funny passages as Mags, her mother, grandfather and even Mum’s new friend, Don, approach that reconciliation. Gillian and her family, eccentric and disconnected, contrast thinly and sadly with Mags’s own. The dénouement—wherein Mags tracks Gillian’s dad to his apartment in the next town—doesn’t quite equal the setup, a fact that can’t be pinned on the budding fictive author. An often-touching exploration of the variant ties between friends, and in families. (Fiction. 10-12)