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Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall by…

Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall

by Wendy Lichtman

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This is better than the first Do the Math book because the action focused all around school rather than being split. After returning from winter break, Tess has adjusted to algebra, but there's a new mystery - someone is leaving graffiti messages on a wall near the school and only Tess can understand them. Who is trying to reach Tess and what are they trying to tell her? Tess is an interesting character because she frequently doesn't do the right thing, but the choices she makes are easy to understand. School bullying gets a realistic look here as well since big man on campus Richard is still messing with Tess and she refuses to tell any adults. The adults in Tess' world are portrayed as fully human as well, complete with faults of their own. A solid outing for middle-school students. ( )
  JenJ. | Mar 31, 2013 |
8th grade math whiz Tess can't resist a puzzle--which is why the "Four 4s" graffiti on the back of the church intrigues her so much. First solving the equations and then cracking the code, Tess gets drawn into investigating a classroom fire that had occurred a few weeks earlier. But her investigations lead her into some shady doings herself, resulting in a number of consequences her number-based brain never anticipated.

This is the sequel to an earlier book I haven't read, but it give a little background on what happened in the first book, as that situation isn't fully resolved yet. The gimmick of the math problems is incorporated well enough into the plot, but is still a little clunky. None of the characters are all that dynamic (one can hope that happened in the first book?). The heart on the cover and the blindingly pink endpapers make this a girlier pick than it needs to be, and the 8th-grade characters read more like 5th or 6th grade. This isn't a series I'll be adding to my library collection, but it might work somewhere else. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 30, 2013 |
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.

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.

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.

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.

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. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 10, 2009 |
Eighth grade is not going well for Tess. Richard knows, but can't prove, that she told on him when he stole an exam and blamed her best friend. Then there's the math codes written on the church wall that faces her school. It's illegal to write on walls, but she's determined to break the code. ( )
  cliddie | Nov 11, 2008 |
Tess is an 8th grade math whiz and loves figuring things out. When someone tags a wall near her school with a math code, Tess can't rest until she's cracked it, but what she finds leads her to investigate a case of arson that's occurred at her school.

The math puzzles were pretty neat and I can see this book appealing to kids who like to play around with numbers. There's not a great deal of character development and the kids seemed way younger than 8th graders to me. I never felt like I got to know Tess, even though the book was told in first person. ( )
  abbylibrarian | Nov 8, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006122958X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:27 -0400)

Math-loving eighth-grader Tess learns that sometimes life, like algebra, has no solutions and that she must take risks and find her own answers.

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