Hider, Seeker, Secret Keeper

Bolshoi Saga #2

by Elizabeth Kiem

At A Glance
Interest Level

Reading Level
Number of Pages

Lana has never been able to tame her rebellious streak, so she’s not surprised when she is not chosen to go on tour with the Bolshoi ballet company. Then her friend is in an accident and Lana believes her luck has changed. But when she gets to New York, Lana’s life takes an unexpected turn.

Georgi, an old friend of Lana’s mother, requests to see her. Although Lana does not trust him, Georgi is her only chance to discover why her mother refuses to talk about her past. Lana is tired of feeling as if she’s been living in the dark. And when Georgi and his young bodyguard, Roma, tell Lana that they know who her father is, Lana can’t resist being drawn into Georgi’s web. Despite assurances that Georgi can be trusted, when another dancer ends up hospitalized, Lana isn’t sure if she can trust Georgi or anyone else.

 Hider Seeker, Secret Keeper is a fast-paced story that leaves the reader guessing. However, the book revolves more around Lana’s life and the mystery behind her mother’s past than around ballet. For those who pick up the book in the hopes of learning about the life of a ballerina, they will be disappointed.

Sexual Content

  • When Lana is retelling the history of Russian ballet, she describes the tabloids’ stories.  “Sure, a lot of it is sensational nonsense—like the story about Pavel Vartukh’s secret gay lover who came back from a sex-change operation in Belgrade ready to become a prima ballerina.”
  • A man approaches Lana on the street corner and tells her that his boss would like to take her to dinner, she tells the man, “I don’t know how long it takes for a Russian boy to grow American balls, but I really don’t want to see yours.”
  • Lana goes into a saloon and sees her artistic director tipsy. She explains, “It’s usually an occasion for hands a bit too low on the back, a nuzzle behind the ear. A suggestive joke. Dancers my age are expected to respond with a blush and light push. More senior dancers know to expect a straightforward proposition.”
  • Lana meets a boy. After they get to know each other better, “he takes my face again, this time in both his hands. It’s not even my face he wants now, though. He wants my lips. They’re his.”  Then later in the scene, he kisses her, “long enough to bring back the heat wave.”


  • At the beginning of the story, two characters are run over by a motorcycle. Although the accident is not described, the wounds are described.
  • Lana’s friend is hospitalized after she is given an old prescription drug in order to kill her. Her “recovery is uncertain.”
  • Lana gets into a confrontation with a man. She begins hitting him. In order to get Lana to stop, the man grabs her. “He has me by both arms. My head is on his chest. There is a deep scratch down his neck. His helmet and his gloves are in the gutter ten feet away.”
  • Georgi hired a man to scare a ballerina, but the man ended up hitting her with a motorcycle.  In a conversation afterward, Georgi said, “You get some money to that girl’s family or you can expect some new friends in prison who will teach you a thing or two about making mistakes in the dark.” The man replies, “—Da, Georgi Ivan-oh-bitch.”
  • Georgi tries to explain why someone was trying to frame Lana. “Anna figured a dead girl in New York would be more convincing than a roughed-up one in Moscow. She could pin one on you and one on your mother.”
  • Lana finds out that her grandfather shot Georgi, then held a gun to a girl’s head. Lana’s father killed her grandfather in order to save the girl.
  • Anna grabs Lana and drags her outside. Then Anna tries to push Lana’s mother into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

Drugs and Alcohol

  • Lana goes to a party that has “booze.” She tells her friend that she will go to the party and, “will drink two glasses of wine.”
  • Lana finds an article that suggests that her grandmother was an alcoholic and mentally disturbed.
  • A ballerina is given Dinitrophenol, a supplement that, “burns fat by turning your body into a furnace.”
  • In several scenes, the artistic director is drunk.
  • Georgi recounts a story about seeing someone in the airport. The guard was drinking, so he was able to talk to the man. “He tells me that Arkhipova’s the one who ratted Marina. I was impressed, if you wanna know. I underestimated that snake with tits . . .”


  • Profanity is used often throughout the character’s conversations as well as in Lana’s thoughts. The profanity used includes: hell, damn, piss, bitch, limp dicks, jackass, bullshit, shit, crap, asshole, and fucking.
  • When Lana is thinking she uses words such as, “God-damn,” and, “Oh my God.”
  • Someone tells a joke. “What jumps higher than a man in tights? A man in tights with a BMW up his ass.”
  • In one scene, Lana tells her mother. “Ma, I don’t care about whoever he [her father] was . . . So I’m a bastard.”


  • None

Spiritual Content

  • When Lana’s friend and another man are injured, she thinks, “It seems unlikely that God had much to do with it. Daniela is maimed, and Pavel Vartukh, artistic director and serial womanizer, will wave at the paparazzi and go back to work. That doesn’t strike me as divine will.”
  • When chosen to perform a dance routine, Lana gives the background of the dance. “. . . it’s meant to be the Chosen One dancing for her elders…And we know perfectly well that in pagan rituals, the Chosen One would have been a maiden—a virgin.”
  • Lana describes the Russians as, “God-fearing, blasphemous creatures.”
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