The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman

The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman

4.1 6
by Ben H. Winters
     
 

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It all started with a Special Project: Solve a mystery in your own life.

For seventh grader Bethesda Fielding, one mystery is too tempting to ignore. She’s convinced that her mousy Music Fundamentals teacher is hiding a secret life. But no one is prepared for what she discovers. Ms. Finkleman used to be . . . a rock star? Soon the whole school goes rock

Overview

It all started with a Special Project: Solve a mystery in your own life.

For seventh grader Bethesda Fielding, one mystery is too tempting to ignore. She’s convinced that her mousy Music Fundamentals teacher is hiding a secret life. But no one is prepared for what she discovers. Ms. Finkleman used to be . . . a rock star? Soon the whole school goes rock crazy, and a giant concert is in the works, led by none other than timid Ms. Finkleman!

But is the case really closed or could there be even more to the story of Ms. Finkleman? With the help of her rock-obsessed classmate, Tenny Boyer, Bethesda won’t stop until she solves this mystery once and for all!

Editorial Reviews

Gordon Korman
“Every now and then a book comes along that reminds me why I love writing about middle school. Ms. Finkleman rocks—in every sense of the word.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Witty narration and entertaining characters enliven this already intriguing premise. Readers seeking an engaging school story with a rockin’ twist will enjoy this offering.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Witty narration and entertaining characters enliven this already intriguing premise. Readers seeking an engaging school story with a rockin’ twist will enjoy this offering.”
Booklist
“This is a just-plain-fun read that culminates in a wholly satisfying ending, and it will easily appeal to fans of Andrew Clements and Gordon Korman, as well as anyone who ever watched School of Rock or High School Musical and imagined putting on the best show ever.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“With ‘The Secret Life,’ Winters applies a light touch that fuses youthful, scholarly exuberance with the inspirational power of rock’n’roll. A fast paced and unjaded book that is sure to delight.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Witty narration and entertaining characters enliven this already intriguing premise. Readers seeking an engaging school story with a rockin’ twist will enjoy this offering.”
Publishers Weekly
Winters builds a fast-paced, funny, and highly original story on the premise that a drab music teacher--"so totally unremarkable as to be essentially invisible"-- might have a secret past as a famous punk rock star. The main character, seventh-grader Bethesda Fielding, sets the plot in motion when she supposedly uncovers Ms. Finkleman's secret, but numerous other characters are fleshed out nearly as strongly. Winters moves with facility from one point of view to another, providing just enough background and detail on each to keep readers informed and engaged. When Ms. Finkleman, her former life apparently revealed, is instructed to prepare a rock-and-roll concert for a music competition, instead of the 16th-century English ballads she favors, the story takes some unusual twists, a few of which are kept from readers, adding more suspense. Winters (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters) keeps tight control of the inventive material, ensuring that the unpredictable developments hit with a zing; his confident handling of an unusual mélange of elements will entertain readers with a wide range of tastes. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Witty narration and entertaining characters enliven this already intriguing premise. Readers seeking an engaging school story with a rockin’ twist will enjoy this offering."
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Given a class assignment to find a mystery and solve it, seventh-grader Bethesda Fielding sets out to discover the true identity and personality of Ms. Finkleman, her seemingly ordinary music teacher. The woman is so ordinary that she is practically invisible to students and staff alike. This changes when Bethesda unearths some 1990s rock music paraphernalia and puts the pieces together (so she thinks), to find that Ms. Finkleman used to be Little Miss Mystery, in the band The Red Herrings. Bethesda is in a quandary after the project becomes the school's obsession. There is a rock star among them and so the choral corral that Ms. Finkleman was planning for a multischool competition will now showcase rock and a performance by her, instead of the 16th-century English folk ballads she had hoped the students would deliver. It is safe to say that Ms. Finkleman shuns the sudden fame and the attention it garners her. This story is part mystery, part friendship novel, part school story. There are twists and turns, but what is most enjoyable is the effect that learning and playing rock music has on the teacher's students. Everyone seems to discover their true inner selves through music, and that includes the not-so-mysterious-after-all Ms. Finkleman.—Tracy Karbel, Chicago Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A seventh-grade history project to "find a mystery, and solve it" transforms a creative preteen and her classmates when she unlocks the secret life of their Music Fundamentals teacher, Ms. Finkleman, who's "so totally unremarkable as to be essentially invisible." Bethesda Fielding's ace research reveals the obscure Ms. Finkleman as Little Miss Mystery, former lead singer of an all-girl punk-rock band in the 1990s, prompting the school principal to demand Ms. Finkleman orchestrate a rock concert for the county choral competition. Ms. Finkleman co-opts Tenny Boyer, a student obsessed with rock music, to covertly create and direct the performance and Bethesda to tutor him in history. Enthusiasm for the concert swells, but things disintegrate when Tenny fails at history and Bethesda makes a bad choice as she tries to help him. Liberally laced with humor and featuring an upbeat heroine, unexpected friendship and rock-music trivia, this witty middle-school drama offers a lighthearted lesson in the importance of getting the facts straight. Readers will rock with laughter.(Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061965432
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/20/2011
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
500,755
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

Gordon Korman
“Every now and then a book comes along that reminds me why I love writing about middle school. Ms. Finkleman rocks—in every sense of the word.”

Meet the Author

Ben H. Winters is an author and educator who has written plays and musicals for children and adults, as well as several books in the bestselling Worst-Case Scenario Survival Guide series. He is also the author of The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman, Bedbugs, and the parody novels Android Karenina and the bestselling Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. He lives in Indianapolis.

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Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lol this is awesome
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