Secrets, Lies, and Algebra (Do The Math) by Wendy Lichtman

8th Grader Tess sees the world through algebra, but when her mother reveals her best friend might have murdered his wife, Tess can’t make anything add up!

Secrets, Lies, and Algebra is a great book for middle school readers. Lichtman intersperses mini-math lessons throughout, but she does it in such a way that it feels organic to the story and not message-y at all. Of course, any kid who’s determined to despise math will chuck the book across the room at the first mention of quadratic equations, but that’s not Lichtman’s fault. Her narrative voice is engaging and fun, with humor to keep things light.

The mysteries (there are two) she’s crafted for Tess to solve in the book aren’t completely fleshed out, and without the math the book would feel incomplete. But girls will get wrapped up in the drama between Tess and her friends Sammy (s to the 5th because she’s so dramatic) and Miranda (absolute value of m because she’s so trustworthy), and I think this could be a very successful series.

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