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.
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.
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?
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.)