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Math Doesn't Suck: A Review

A while ago I promised you a review of Math Doesn't Suck a book by actress and mathematician Danica McKellar . Since the book is for middle school girls, we thought the best person to review it would be a middle school girl. Many thanks to Rebecca Taylor for the following review.

Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail. By Danica McKellar

The title says it all. This book is for girls ages 11 to 16 who want a better understanding of math. It reads like a math text book smashed with a teen magazine. There are quick quizzes, a horoscope, and other fun activities that make learning math interesting and exciting. I highly suggest having this book handy while doing math homework; it’s an excellent reference. You don’t have to read the book cover to cover, though, and I wouldn’t recommend doing so. It’s best to read relevant sections when needed and take the time to work through the problems.

You will learn math from simple division to complex fractions and algebra. The concepts McKellar talks about seem scary at first but she gives them fun titles such as “Why Calculators Would Make Terrible Boyfriends” and “Does She Ever Get Off the Phone?” and once you read the chapter, the concept is not scary at all. The explanations are fun and simple. McKellar uses examples that everyone can relate to, like how much a dress costs if it was originally $60 and is now 20% off. She really breaks down the problem solving, with step-by-step explanations. Not only are the instructions super easy to follow, but McKellar also has side comments including “What’s It Called?” (where definitions are given) and “Watch Out” (where she explains common mistakes to avoid).

The “Doing the Math” section provides a chance to work out the problems discussed in each chapter. McKellar writes out problems in her own handwriting so you can see her methods and follow the steps. If all those resources weren’t enough, she provides helpful charts and other memorization charts. If you still are confused or want to add a comment, she has a Web address that you can use. I recommend this book as an excellent resource for middle school girls.

Review by Rebecca Taylor, age 12