Marcy Lewis is bored by school; her father tyrannizes both Marcy and her mother; she despairs of ever being thin; she is certain she'll never have a date and that a horrible case of acne will break out any minute. Then along comes Ms. Finney, an English teacher willing to try anything in the classroom. Above all, she is accessible and human. Marcy has never met anyone like her, and suddenly life in and out of school begins to have a purpose. When Ms. Finney is suspended because of her controversial teaching methods and her refusal to pledge allegiance to the flag, the whole school is thrown into an uprorat. Now out of her protective shell, Marcy helps to organize a protest, and she too is suspended. With her mother firmly on her side, her father violently opposed, Marcy must decide whether her fight for Ms. Finney and the values she stands for is worth the price she must pay at home and in school.