A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan
Release Date: June 5th 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Series: Digit #1
Goodreads description:Farrah “Digit” Higgins may be going to MIT in the fall, but this L.A. high school genius has left her geek self behind in another school district so she can blend in with the popular crowd at Santa Monica High and actually enjoy her senior year. But when Farrah, the daughter of a UCLA math professor, unknowingly cracks a terrorist group’s number sequence, her laid-back senior year gets a lot more interesting. Soon she is personally investigating the case, on the run from terrorists, and faking her own kidnapping– all while trying to convince a young, hot FBI agent to take her seriously. So much for blending in . .
I think this book might appeal to some people, but I’m surprised I finished it. I could tell it would be a bit silly from the description and I read it anyway so I have nobody to blame but myself.
In this book, the main character Farrah has a “gift” that enables her to “take seemingly random data and identify the pattern within it” (chapter 2). She’s a math freak and it has good and bad effects on her life. She’s good at math, she can put puzzles together, and she can utilize statistics. She also has a difficult time focusing when there are patterns around and other kids think she’s weird. Her ability gave earned her the nickname Digit, which she isn’t a fan of. Instead of drawing any attention to her skills, she practices a blend in tactic where she’s agreeable and boring. She adapts to high school and fakes friendship with the Fab Four.
But one day while watching TV with friends, she notices a seemingly random piece of code. Her brain won’t let her ignore and instead immediately starts deciphering it. She knows it is important. She tells her dad and they go to the FBI but are ignored. Then she goes to the television studio and things get dicey: she is followed. The FBI becomes involved and a crazy ride begins.
Warning: spoilers below.
Digit meets John Bennett, a young FBI agent. He was the FBI agent that ignored her but is later forced to work with her. Instead of keeping her with other smart people in the FBI at an office, John fake kidnaps her to a safe house. With approval from his superiors, and the knowledge of her parents, a twenty-something year old FBI agent was allowed to take a seventeen year old into an abandoned warehouse alone. All alone. I don’t claim to be an expert on the FBI and I know that what I see on TV isn’t completely reliable, but I seriously hope that no agent is ever allowed to be alone with a teenage girl. And on top of that, nobody even searches her for her phone. She’s 17 and they just take her word that she doesn’t have it with her. These are the people in charge of her safety and fighting terrorists.
My biggest issue was how uncomfortable the situation between Farrah/Digit and John made me. I know books don’t have to be realistic, and the age difference isn’t even that big, but the idea of a teenage girl being alone with a male agent didn’t sit well with me. Digit thought an older guy was hot, which is understandable. She was seventeen, a month away from eighteen and a few months away from college. But the fact that she’s allowed to go from California to New York alone with an agent should have tipped everyone off that all was not well. It’s not even just the fact that it shouldn’t be allowed, but the whole situation and interaction between them just prompted one “Ugh, really?” after another.
There were other issues with the book: Digit is kind of annoying and self-centered, she’s naive and immature, she’s supposed to be a smart girl but she comes off as a moron. All of her introspection is long and drawn out, and her “Oops, I spoke what I was thinking out loud” habit was so obnoxious. The whole terrorist situation was pretty unbelievable and ridiculous.
I could tell by the description that this book would be kind of cheesy, but I thought maybe it had a fun, light story and romance. I was disappointed. I didn’t like any of the characters and was annoyed and uncomfortable the whole time. I think a younger group might enjoy it, but I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable recommending it to younger readers. I’m sure a lot of people can look past the issues I had and simply enjoy the silly romance, but this book wasn’t for me.
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