SECRETS, LIES, AND ALGEBRA
Tess loves math because it's the subject she can trust--there's always one right answer, and it never changes. But then she starts algebra and is introduced to those mysterious variable which seem to be everywhere. When even your friends and parents can be variables, how do
you find out the right answers to the important questions, like what to do about a boy you like, or whom to tell when someone's done something very bad? Will Tess's life ever stop changing long enough for her to figure it all out?
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REVIEWS FOR SECRETS, LIES, & ALGEBRA
"Math and fiction? Why the world's gone all higglety-pigglety on us! Up is down! Right is wrong!
Math is fun!”
–Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal
"Lichtman masterfully weaves the concept of adolescents grappling with the unknown into a very compelling coming- of-age novel featuring realistic middle school situations and appealing characters. It’s a book with humor, heart AND smarts — that magically makes math seem interesting, fun and useful."
"Tweens will relate to the playground politics, get caught up with the suspenseful plot and appreciate the accessibility of arithmetic, thanks to Lichtman's lucid descriptions and drawings."
Wendy Lichtman has seamlessly woven 8th grade algebraic concepts into a spot-on teen narrative focused on middle school friendships, trust and betrayal, and ethical dilemmas in a sea of moral ambiguity. At one and the same time the main character Tess is both a quirky thinker who views the world through the lens of math concepts and a perfectly normal 8th grader with crushes on boys and unreliable girlfriends.
–Northern California Book Awards
"A very contemporary story about a math wizard, 13-year-old Tess, who uses math in all of her notes as a code and to solve some problems and mysteries. The middle-school book has some adult themes but is very fun. If you have a math and puzzle lover at home, this should fit the equation for good reading."
–Detroit Free Press
THE WRITING ON THE WALL
Eighth grade, like algebra, has become complicated for Tess. For one thing, there are the patterns she's noticing everywhere—like how charming-on-the-outside Richard keeps playing scary pranks on her, and how annoying copycat Lynn always has to follow what everyone else is doing.
Then there's the pattern of graffiti that keeps appearing on the wall by her school—could those numbers be a code meant for Tess? Is it up to her to find out what they mean? And most importantly, if Damien keeps up with his pattern of waiting for her after school, does it mean he likes her? Or is that just a coincidental system? Tess looks for formulas to help her figure it all out, but she's afraid there may be none. Sometimes you have to make up your own solutions. Sometimes, you just have to risk it.
REVIEWS FOR THE WRITING ON THE WALL
"An entertaining mystery is interspersed with formulas and graphs and weighted down with a little hard-earned wisdom, as Tess comes to a deeper understanding of the need to balance her own desire for freedom of expression with a larger civic responsibility. Good fun for all, and a special treat for those who share Tess’s fascination with figures, facts and formulas."
"Lichtman offers a winning combination of mystery (with a delicious hint of danger), coming-of-age and friendship and bullying issues while using math to provide insights into life."
"Lichtman cleverly weaves math throughout the story, and Tess is an appealing, dimensional character whose descriptive narrative rings true. Another engaging blend of mystery, math and teen life in the Do The Math series."
"The Writing on the Wall is wonderfully appealing. Tess is a well-drawn, likable character that middle schoolers will relate to. The setting and situations are realistic and spot-on. Lichtman has cleverly woven together the stuff of algebra (variables, factorization, symbols) and the stuff of middle-school life (friendships, drama, finding one’s place in the world) into a highly readable, unique story.
"This sequel to Secrets, Lies, and Algebra, picks up where Tess, and eighth grader who copes with uncertain situations and unpredictable people by applying mathematical equations or symbols, an approach that gives her comfort and perspective. After seeing a series of numbers graffitied on a building near school, Tess recognizes that it is a math puzzle and solves it to reveal a secret code. When she decodes the word "arson," she realizes that someone is trying to communicate shocking information to her (there has recently been an unexplained fire at school). Though aware of the punishment for defacing property, she writes her own message on the wall in an attempt to get more information. She eventually solves the mystery, but ends up getting more than she bargained for when she is caught and must face the consequences. She also wrestles with peer relationships as she deals with a boy who is tormenting her and tries to figure out contradictions in a new friend. Lichtman cleverly incorporates mathematical concepts into Tess's narrative, keeping the ideas simple and explaining them in terms that readers can understand. Tess is likable and navigates through her problems in a realistic manner."
–School Library Journal