Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Girl Named Digit by Annabelle Monaghan

Farrah is a math genius, but no one knows it but her family.  She's got a perfect score on her math SATs and is already in to MIT, but Farrah doesn't let anyone else know about "Digit" and just tries to quietly fit in.  That all changes when Farrah figures out the numerical code of a group of environmental terrorist.  Now Farrah has to let Digit out as she helps the FBI figure out more coded messages and requires FBI protection from the terrorists who are after her.  Lucky for her, John is cute, young and smart...

The ARC I have of this book is called Digit She's Got Your Number.  That was not an especially good title, so I understand the desire for a change.  However, I don't think A Girl named Digit is any better.  Possibly worse.  Also, I reject this cover.  Why is there a girl jumping in the air?  Why is she telling me to shush?  And most of all, why is she wearing a tank top with a peace sign when it explicitly says in the book Digit wears a "uniform" of jeans, cowboy boots, and the same tee shirt in different colors every day?  Stupid generic-looking book covers.  Was Houghton Mifflin Harcourt concerned that if they in any way indicated it was about a smart girl who was good at math no one would ever buy it?  Although, if they had decided to go that route, it probably would have been a picture of a girl who looked exactly the same, only wearing a short plaid skirt, an oxford shirt and big over sized classes.  Because that's the only way smart is acceptable.

Despite the cover rant, I quite enjoyed this book.  Digit was a relatable and realistic character.  Being incredibly smart in a particular area caused her a lot of ridicule in middle school, which is why after moving and starting a new school she decided to hide her true self.  Not only is she dealing with how her peers see her, Digit's gift is not easy to deal with.  While she's incredibly talented at math, it's hard for her to turn her brain off, becoming obsessive about seeing patterns everywhere and needing everything to be perfect.  She had to learn strategies to deal with it, which is another reason she worries about letting Digit to the surface.  She's worried she might lose control.

After years of hiding her skills, it's wonderful for Digit to be able to find a useful use for being good at math.  While it's certainly scary being on the run from people who have no qualms about killing her, for the first time Digit feels her talent is useful and appreciated.  She also meets someone who truly appreciated her as she is, John, the FBI agent who's looking after her.  Of course they fall in love and drama ensues, but it was a nice story.

I thought it was a nice touch at the end when Digit comes back after her adventures and all her friends know about her math abilities and they totally accept it.  Digit actually learns things about her friends she didn't know before either, and appreciates them more because of it.

This was a fast read with romance and adventure.  Power to smart girls who are good at transitionally male dominated areas!  You can be smart and people will still love and appreciate you!  Don't dumb yourself down!

A Girl Named Digit comes out June 5, 2012.

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