MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Infinite Pieces of Us (2018)
Rebekah Crane
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Esther's family moves from California to New Mexico after she becomes pregnant while still in school. The main focus of this young adult novel is on her personal relationships (with the baby's father, her new boyfriend in New Mexico, her friends, her parents, etc.). Romance and sexuality take center stage, but math also is a running theme, as the title indicates.

Interestingly, the role of math is quite different in this book as compared with the other young adult novels listed on this website. Math is really not used by the characters to figure out the answers to any useful questions, there are no math contests in which they compete, and no adults are shown talking about or displaying interest in mathematics. Instead, math is used by the teenagers as a form of communication and a source of personal bonding.

  • There are plenty of math jokes that Esther shares with her friends. Many of these jokes are groan-worthy but entertaining puns like "Why couldn't the angle get a loan? Because his parents wouldn't cosine."
  • An interest in math is something that ties the characters together. The baby's father and Esther jointly shared the "Pythagoras" prize at their 8th grade graduation.
  • Similarly, someone Esther meets challenges her to figure out whether the number ".9 recurring" is the same as the number one. Esther at first assumes it is not, but when she does eventually figure out that those must be two ways to write the same number, it is both the most mathematically advanced passage in the book and also the reason that the two girls become friends.
  • Mathematical metaphors also abound. (Amit once told Esther that she was the coefficient to his variable.)
  • Finally, the book is also punctuated with "complex math problems", which are really just questions about Esther's life posed in (very) vaguely mathematical terms.
[Religion is also a running theme in the book, but the book's own perspective is more free-thinking than devout. Some of the characters are very religious (including Esther's step-father and "Pastor Rick") while others are more "New Age-y" (e.g. a family whose children are named Color and Moss which talks about chakras).]

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(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to The Infinite Pieces of Us
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley
  2. Do the Math: Secrets, Lies, and Algebra by Wendy Lichtman
  3. Proof Geometric Construction Can Solve All Love Affairs by Takahashi Manbou (lyricist) / Ane Manbou (illustrator)
  4. Invisibly Breathing by Eileen Merriman
  5. The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
  6. Annika Riz, Math Whiz (Franklin School Friends) by Claudia Mills
  7. The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
  8. The Witch of Agnesi by Robert Spiller
  9. Break Your Heart by Rhonda Helms
  10. Midnight Diner (Episode: Omelette Rice) by Joji Matsuoka (Director) / Marina Oshima (Screenplay)
Ratings for The Infinite Pieces of Us:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
2/5 (1 votes)
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Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)
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Categories:
GenreChildren's Literature, Romance,
MotifRomance,
Topic
MediumNovels,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)