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.