Sam is fascinated by the new girl in his class. The daughter of a famous conductor, Helen seems angry and aloof - interested only in her book. When he tries to strike up a conversation with her after class, he only learns that her book is about Beethoven and she doesn't want to make friends. She doesn't seem to need anyone.
But Pete and Troy love to tease. They had Sam to pick on last year, but the two boys recognize that Helen makes an even odder target. After they steal her book and toss it on the school roof, a frustrated Helen finds refuge in the auditorium, where she plays her heart out on the piano. Sam is bowled over. For the first time he experiences a powerful new language: one that speaks to him as words never have. He must find the key to this secret language so he can express his inner self. He must learn to play the piano too.
There is no question of taking lessons. His mother can barely afford school supplies. And a piano? There isn't a hope. But Sam is determined. So he goes to Helen with a proposal. He'll keep Pete and Troy away from her if she gives him piano lessons. And he's thrilled when she reluctantly agrees. The only trouble is ... how is he going to get the better of Pete and Troy.