Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall

Overview

Eighth grade, like algebra, has become pretty 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 ...

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Writing on the Wall (Do the Math Series #2)

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Overview

Eighth grade, like algebra, has become pretty 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.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

This sequel to Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra (HarperCollins, 2007) picks up the story of Tess, an 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.-Amelia Jenkins, Juneau Public Library, AK

Kirkus Reviews
This sequel to Secrets, Lies, and Algebra (2007) continues the saga of math-obsessed eighth-grader Tess. As she is still being tormented by Richard, whose cheating she helped to expose in Secrets, Tess assumes that the mysterious numbers that appear on the wall near the school are just more of his ubiquitous threats to make her life miserable. However, with the help of steadfast friends Sammy and Miranda, Tess figures out that the codes are actually the work of someone desperate to reveal a secret about a different classmate. Tess deciphers the code and figures out who is writing it, but she gets busted for her graffiti in the process. 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. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061229589
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Series: Do the Math Series , #2
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 160,815
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Lexile: 1050L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Lichtman writes personal essays for the Washington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Good Housekeeping, among other national publications. She has also written four previous young adult novels, including Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra. She holds a degree in mathematics and has tutored public-school students in algebra for several years. When she decided to write about a teenage girl who realizes that some questions have more than one right answer, algebra, with its unknowns and variables, seemed a perfect metaphor. Wendy Lichtman lives in Berkeley, California.

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Table of Contents


Patterns     1
Three Thirds     15
The Four Fours     28
Graphs     35
Formulas     48
Codes     61
Collecting Data     69
Knives and Fires     80
Absolute Value     93
Rate of Change     104
Graphic Stories     113
The Real Story     127
Coincidental Systems     135
No Formulas     150
Family Patterns     164
Tessellations     179
Simplifying Expressions     188
[Delta] (Which, in Algebra, Means "Change")     201
Probability: What Are The Chances?     210
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Read the Book!

    This book is so good. If you don't read it, I will come to your house and hit you with a BIG STICK until you promise to read it. Or I'll just send really annoying e-mails until you tell me to shut the unicorn up. Read this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Awesome book!

    The beginning was kind of creepy and very interesting at the same time, so I continued reading. It got really fun, ans so I often found myself lost in the book. This is a very good book, and if you read it, you will find it very interesting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Amazing

    This is the best book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Coolcat

    I liked it a lot

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    Amazing

    I Love This Book! It Informs Youu On Math Which Happens To Be My Favorite Core Class! I Love How Damien And Tess Say They Are Not Dating But There Is Definitly A Spark There..... Better Than The First Book!!!!!!! A MUST READ!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very In Formative!

    In the book, The Writing on the Wall by Wendy Lichtman, Tess figures out that there is this secret message on the graffiti wall near her school. And when Tess figures out that these math problems painted on the wall are actually a hidden message she is determined to figure it all out. It personally wasn't one of my favorite books, but it had a really got story plot. Also all of the math that was in it really made you mind think, and I really liked that about the book. Throughout the story Tess also has side stories going along with the main plot, and I think that that really adds to the book as a whole! I thought that The Writing on the Wall is a great book for learning math, but also a good book for the story plot as well. I would strongly recommend this book to someone who is looking for a book that is educational but also has a good plot.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2009

    ~Buckeverlasting~

    It was pretty good. Im picky when it comes to books, so after i read the first book i forced myself to read it. Slowly it pulled me in. Overall a good book, One of my favorites? no!

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    Tess, lover of everything math, is back for another adventure in DO THE MATH: THE WRITING ON THE WALL. Things pick up right where they left off in DO THE MATH: SECRETS, LIES, AND ALGEBRA. Richard still considers Tess a snitch and is treating her badly, and Tess is still fascinated with math and solving mysteries.<BR/><BR/>This time Tess is determined to solve the mystery of who started the fire in Mr. Z's computer classroom. Even though everyone hates Mr. Z, it would be nice to find the culprit. <BR/><BR/>Clues seem to be mysteriously appearing in the graffiti on the back wall of the church located near the school. Tess notices it because some of the artistic patterns left by the graffiti artists involves numbers; specifically, equations that include four 4's. When the equations are solved, Tess discovers they represent letters of the alphabet, and when she notices the first set of 4's spells out ARSON, she is hooked.<BR/><BR/>The adventure leads Tess down a path of crime as she joins the graffiti vandals and makes her own mark on the church wall. Being suspended and grounded would normally stop most young detectives, but Tess proves that her talent for problem-solving can overcome just about anything.<BR/><BR/>Even though author Wendy Lichtman includes mathematical equations throughout her story (ugh!), she manages to create suspense and drama that will grab most middle grade readers. She uses realistic characters and typical middle school situations that are entertaining and educational at the same time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2008

    Better for Younger Readers

    Tess is just your average math loving eighth-grader until she becomes a little too interested in some graffiti at her school. Tess's friend Sammy convinces her that the blue numbers form a sort of code, and Tess becomes determined to crack it. Unfortunately, this requires a lot of lying and some vandalizing on Tess's part. But Tess is only concerned with finding out the message and doesn't think about the consequences. I found it interesting how Tess compared people and life to various math problems, but I could see the logic in it. For example, Tess's friend Miranda's math symbol is |m|, which always has a positive value, just like Miranda always sees the good in everything. But what I appreciated most about this math-obsessed girl was how she realized that her system of comparing everything to math was flawed because not everything in life can be figured out using simple steps and formulas. I will admit that I was surprised that The Writing on the Wall was a mystery book I thought it would be about some math geek who's having a hard time in middle school. But I'm glad that math and mystery were combined to create this novel, which I highly enjoyed reading. Tess's character is funny and very logical (in all things math), something I can appreciate and relate too. I also liked how Tess seemed to know how to do the right thing but was clueless in others, such as the world of boys. If you are looking for a light and fast read, The Writing on the Wall is a good choice. I recommend it for younger readers, but even math lovers in higher grades will enjoy this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

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    Posted April 14, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2010

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