Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra
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Tess loves math because it's the one subject she can trust—there's always just one right answer, and it never changes. But then she starts algebra and is introduced to those pesky and mysterious variables, which seem to be everywhere in eighth grade. When even your friends and parents can be variables, how in the world do you find out the right answers to the really important questions, like what to do about a boy you like or whom to tell when someone's done something really bad?
Will Tess's life ever stop changing long enough for her to figure it all out?
sink, and looked at me with angry, squinted eyes. “How does Laura Silver know about Nina’s death?” she asked. “Maybe there was an obituary in the newspaper,” I said, as if I were just guessing, as if Mr. Wright hadn’t told me that exact thing one hour ago. My mother wiped her hands on her jeans and shook her head. “That’s not what I meant. I meant, how does 91 Laura know I suspect Rob could have been involved?” Laura Silver is Lynn the liar’s mother. The reason Lynn and I are both on the
ripped a little skin off the cuticle around my thumbnail. “I told him that I had set up my own small studio,” Mom said, pointing toward our garage, “so I didn’t need to use his anymore. He offered me his old pottery wheel,” she said, “which was generous of him.” “Is that all?” I asked. Mom shook her head. “I told him I wanted to know more about Nina’s death. I told him that he had said some things the morning she’d died that had left me feeling very confused.” “You said that?” I asked, my head
too, because there was still enough carbon monoxide in the car to kill the little thing.” By the time Sammy finished talking, there was a 181 daisy growing from the stem on her heel, and I was thinking that her theory might actually be right. “But even if something like that did happen,” Miranda said, “Rob didn’t mean to kill the cat then. He wouldn’t do that.” “Can I draw a tattoo on you?” I asked Miranda, and when she took off her shoes and socks, I used my green pen to write |m| on her
hem to the school cafeteria. Truthfully, right now I don’t care very much about the dress or the dance. Just before I tried on the white fuzz-balled sweater, I looked at the smiling girl sculpture again, and in the two seconds it took me to pull the sweater 43 over my head, I decided to tell the secret. Murder isn’t the kind of thing you should keep from the police, I thought, and it isn’t the kind of thing you should tell someone and make her promise to keep “completely private.” It’s too big
theorem,” I said, “you do need proof. You need to draw a line down the center of your page and explain what it is you’re trying to prove and give step-by-step reasons. That’s the only way you can know if a theorem is true or false.” Mom twisted her pen so the tip disappeared, then twisted it back out. “In real life,” I said, “I think it should be an axiom that if you know of a possible murder, you call the police. You don’t need any proof to pick up the phone and call the cops.” “We can hear you