Review: A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan

A Girl Named Digit

This wasn’t what I expected at all. I expected a lot more math geekiness, introspection, and self-acceptance, but was disappointed to find that the female protagonist was in la-la land throughout most of the book. A Girl Named Digit is action-packed and has an interesting premise, but the characters are too fickle and shallow for my tastes, and the plot wrapped up too quickly and cleanly.

Introduction

Seventeen-year-old Farrah “Digit” Higgins is trying to fit in with the popular crowd in school by pretending to be dumb and hiding her gift (or disability) of finding patterns in everything she sees and organizing data automatically in her head. Her SAT scores are kept in a locked cabinet at school, and she’s going to MIT next year, but as of right now she just wants to abandon her nerdy nickname and be a regular teenager. However, when Digit accidentally decodes a seemingly-random string of numbers that appears on TV preceding a terrorist attack, she becomes a target for the terrorist group. The FBI fakes her kidnapping and sticks her with a cute and smart male FBI agent (guess what happens?), and it’s up to the two of them to catch the terrorists and save the world.

Discussion

Digit exudes teenage uniqueness: her room is plastered wall-to-wall with bumper stickers, she can spot a reverse Fibonacci sequence in a second, and she’s named after one of Charlie’s Angels. (Unique name, smart girl pretending to be not-so-smart, girl clique… Mean Girls, anyone?)

Digit’s “gift” is more like an OCD-related symptom since she starts feeling funky if a tile on the ceiling is out of place, and she has to keep thinking about perfect circles and symmetrical trees to snap out of it. I was just expecting a normal geeky heroine, but Digit’s actually pretty way out there.

But other than all her uniqueness, Digit acts much like a normal functioning teenage girl trying to survive school and family stuff. That is, until she meets The Boy – then the “functioning” part just disappears. The Boy makes her totally lovesick and icky and she might as well be a doll that needs protection and can’t process logical thoughts and is a serious pain in the butt to drag around.

He spoke in a whisper in my ear: “I’m holding up three fingers, and when I count back to one, we are going to jump out of the cab onto the grass to our right. Do you understand?”

I heard: I adore you, you’re beautiful, and now I am going to kiss you like you’ve never been kissed before. So when he threw open the taxi door and pulled me out onto the shoulder of the West Side Highway, and I felt myself crash into what passes for grass in New York City, let’s just say I was a bit surprised.

So at least The Boy is capable of thinking properly. John Bennett is just as “unique” as Digit, and the two of them are really cute together (I’m not giving anything away, am I? I mean, he’s The Boy. What do you expect?) even though they had to overcome the but-you’re-four-years-younger-than-me hurdle. Then la-dee-dah, fluffy romance with a lovesick couple amidst shootings and terrorists and breaking windows and all that.

But the ending was definitely too wrapped up for me; it’s like a super quick happily ever after and then Monaghan changed her mind and added some frustratingly angsty moments at the end. And I can’t get used to the lack of serious action and thriller moments in A Girl Named Digit. Terrorists are (obviously) terrifying, but this book softens the danger. Should’ve expected that from a light romance though, right?

Conclusion

I thought that A Girl Named Digit had a lot of potential, but it ended up being a quick, light-hearted read that left me wanting more out of the characters and the plot. Parts of the story made me facepalm because of how ridiculous they were, but other parts had me smiling because of how ridiculous they were. (And the math was just ridiculous. Don’t read it for the math.)

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8 thoughts on “Review: A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan

  1. “(And the math was just ridiculous. Don’t read it for the math.)” <— I don't read anything for the math. Maybe for adorable nerds and geeks, but not math 😛

    Digit sounds like quite the fun character. Well, at first, anyways. I can see how her becoming like a lovesick doll because of The Boy would be annoying. I have to admit, though, that quote made me laugh out loud. Both because I find it funny how she was able to narrate what he was saying while also being sort of deaf to what he was saying and also because the image of a love interest chucking the (very much dazed) female lead out of a taxi is somehow hilarious to me…

    … I don't think that chucking people out of cars is funny in real life, though. Just wanted to put that out there.

    Aah, who is the older one in the relationship? *checks synopsis* Darn, it's the guy. I think it would have been very cute if John was a geeky freshman! But I also think that men in uniforms and suits is very cute, too, so I won't complain too much 😉 "A lovesick couple amidst shootings and terrorists and breaking windows and all that." <— You know, I don't care about how ridiculous this is, I WANT TO READ IT!

    Great review, Sophie! Oh, and I think it's interesting how Digit (like so, so many other heroines in YA) wants to become a regular girl instead of one that is a well-known genius. I mean, the nerdy smart kids in my school tend to be the more admired popular ones (really, one girl is practically a legend now since she skipped two grades and went on to high school at the age of thirteen), and are the ones that get to enjoy their school year A LOT because they get special privileges and stuff that everyone else is insanely jealous of. Maybe it's just my school, though…

    • Yeah, unfortunately I was reading it for the geekiness and I had high geeky expectations… boo I want more math!

      Parts of A Girl Named Digit are good, honestly, but I think I was annoyed because Digit is continually clinging to John (#lovewhatlove?).and I just want to be like, “Girl, get a hold of yourself, you’re making a mess.”

      (I’m pretty sure that chucking people out of cars is still funny… it might be one of those America’s Funniest Home Videos things.)

      And thanks, Lesley! If you do read it, there’s probably a side romance that you might enjoy haha. 😛 And it’s funny how you mention that nerds in your school are popular; I was just reading about popular nerds in Quiet, in which Cain mentioned that that’s the case in most schools in California where it’s predominantly Asian.

      Nerds back at my high school were only cool if they were well-roundedly nerdy, ex. good in drama, music, AND math/science, but the football players/cheerleaders were also cool… so just different kinds of cool, I guess. I wish Digit actually wanted to become a genius – that’d make a pretty interesting story too.

      • Sometimes I wonder what the love interest is thinking whenever the MC is staring at their eyes long enough to create detailed descriptions. Or, in Digit’s case, getting so lovesick that they can’t listen to basic instructions even when they are about to jump out of a taxi. John seems sort of oblivious, though, judging from the quote 😛

        (I used to love those kind of shows where they showed videos of people getting hurt. My favorites were the ones in which people would get beaten up by old people (World’s Dumbest Criminals, I think?). I was a cruel little kid. Except for when it came to animals. Showing animals get hurt is just sick.)

        That’s really interesting! It actually maybe be a bit like that in my school, too, now that I think about it… Same thing with the well-roundedly nerdy thing, though if a person is like a mega-genius in math and nothing else, then it’s enough. What sucks especially about having really nerdy people at my school is that I always get placed in the classes where they are all at, so whenever I have one of my massive screw-ups or mind-blanks, which happen daily, THEY ALL SEE IT!

        I think it would have been more intriguing if Digit wanted to be a genius, too. The whole I-am-so-different-and-I-just-want-to-be-normal type of character motivation is a little tired and, admittedly, sort of irritates me. While some characters are moaning over the fact that they are a well-known smart person, I get really annoyed >_< It would have been even more intriguing if Digit was really dumb (with her quirks still there) at first, and later reached her dreams of being ultra-smart through hard work.

        • Oh no! I would think that with really nerdy people in your class, they’d be raising their hand to answer questions all the time and you’d be able to hide. D:

          And that new Digit-the-dumb-girl plot sounds interesting and inspiring! Hard work is kind of non-existent in the contemporary romance books I’ve read so far… maybe I’m not reading the right ones.

          • They do raise their hands. Quite a bit actually. It’s just that whenever a teacher asks a question, I immediately get this deer-in-the-headlights look on, which is apparently an indicator that I absolutely must be asked. The only class where I am able to hide is English (’cause I sit in the back), and it’s pretty pointless then because I do really good in that class and there are no nerdy kids. Instead there are kids that play Flappy Bird during lectures, so yeah.

            Usually, the main character is naturally smart and gets good grades. And if they don’t, it’s either not mentioned or the MC just doesn’t care 😛 Funny how that when you’re a kid grades are pretty important and yet YA tends to just skip over the topic a little.

            • Ahhh, I totally understand when teachers catch your deer-in-the-headlights look! 😦 whenever that happens though, just think about how it’ll all be better when you become a flower, haha.

              And yeah, I guess grades just aren’t exciting enough to write about. People read fiction to escape from reality, so there’s really no point if reality follows them around.

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