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?
The copy room at my school is actually just a closet next to Ms. Balford’s office, so when Richard came in and said, “Hey, Tess,” he was standing about two inches behind me. “Could I borrow the machine for a second?” he whispered, closing the door quietly.
I took a stack of paper from the drawer, turned away from Richard, and refilled the empty tray while I tried to decide what I should answer.