Story an entertaining search for self


THE SECRET LIFE OF MS. FIN-KLEMAN. By Ben H. Winters. HarperCollins. 256 pages. $16.99. For ages 8-12.

Mystery and music are interwoven through this school story of friendship and finding one’s true identity.

When seventh-grader Bethesda Fielding is given an assignment to uncover a mystery in her life, she gets more than she bargained for — more than the entire school could have expected. Bethesda decides to uncover the truth about Ms. Finkleman, the music teacher at Mary Todd Lincoln Middle School. Who is this mild-mannered unassuming woman? The next thing you know, the music class is learning to sing and play rock ’n’ roll for the county choral competition and Bethesda is making an unexpected friendship with Tenny Boyer, the rock-’n’-roll misfit in her social studies class.

This is an entertaining story about finding your true self. Kids will enjoy watching the transformative powers that rock music has on everyone in the school, including the teachers. Fans of Andrew Clements will enjoy the twists and turns of Winters’ “The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman.”

McGeath Freeman reviews children’s books for Lowcountry Parent magazine. To see previous reviews, go to