First, I’d tell them to look at some of the other characters in One on One. Rafe Wells, who is male, does as well as Ellie in math, while Sasha Rivers, who is female, often does poorly in math, which is the reason her father takes away her cellphone. More important, though, I’d tell readers that a writer’s first job is to create three-dimensional characters, people who have both strengths and weaknesses. If I create a character who has only one or the other, then I’m definitely guilty of stereotyping—not to mention creating flat characters that no reader will believe in or care about. Ellie, who is strong in all her school subjects, has a problem relating to people her own age, while Jared, who is convinced he can’t do math, is a terrific athlete. Personally, I don’t see Jared as someone who can’t do math. As Ellie echoes Mr. Keaton in Chapter 25, “… everyone can do math. It’s just that some of us don’t have enough strategies.” As a former math teacher myself, I told my own students the same thing—many of them hit a brick wall when they used one strategy over and over without realizing there are many other ways to approach a math problem. The more strategies people have, the more likely they are to succeed in math, and Ellie helps Jared understand this, something he proves when he aces the math test he’d failed earlier. By the way, my main characters in my first two novels, Of Things Not Seen and Stranger at Bay, are both males, and both of them do very well in school. Jared just happened to be someone who struggles with math.