a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall (2008)
Wendy Lichtman
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

In this sequel to Do the Math: Secrets, Lies and Algebra, a middle school student who likes to think of things in terms of mathematical notation (for example, calling her friend Miranda "|m|" because she is always so positive) decodes a message left in mathematical graffiti suggesting that the fire at her school was actually arson.

The intended audience for this book is clearly young adults, especially middle school girls. That audience seems to like the book, though I cannot really recommend it as great literature. Moreover, although I'm sure the author's intention is to help the reader to like mathematics, I'm concerned about the message people seem to get out of it. Consider, for example, this quote from a reader review:

Contributed by (taken from reader reviews)

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.

Not everything in math can be figured out using "simple steps and formulas" either!

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra by Wendy Lichtman
  2. The Witch of Agnesi by Robert Spiller
  3. Geek Abroad by Piper Banks
  4. Geek High by Piper Banks
  5. Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
  6. Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley
  7. Forever Changes by Brendan Halpin
  8. Monster's Proof by Richard Lewis
  9. The Square Root of Murder by Paul Zindel
  10. The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods by Ann Cameron
Ratings for Do the Math #2: The Writing on the Wall:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
3.33/5 (3 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.67/5 (3 votes)

GenreMystery, Children's Literature, Young Adult,
MotifFemale Mathematicians, Math Education,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)