A second adventure with Digit
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 192 pages
Reviewed By:Kate McMurry
Fans of the TV series Numb3rs will enjoy this clever series with an 18-year-old heroine who is a math genius.
Farrah (“Digit”) Higgins has just begun her freshman y;ea;r at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is delighted to be there, because she has finally found “her people.” She can just be herself, utterly brilliant at math, and not pretend to be a so-called normal teenage girl, which is how she spent her years in a public high school.
Digit is also relieved to have escaped the traumatic adventures she experienced the spring of her senior year. She had a wonderful, relaxing, romantic summer with her handsome FBI boyfriend, John–who is almost as smart in his way as Digit and, unlike Digit, opted to graduate early from high school and complete university in a couple of years–and she is looking forward to his first visit from his job in New York City. But soon after he arrives they have an argument which leads to Digit dumping him before he can, she assumes, dump him. He wants them to have some breathing room from each other because he believes that the intensity of their relationship will overshadow her fun and fancy-free time at university, and it won’t be very good for his FBI career either.
The breakup definitely puts a crimp in Digit’s collegiate happiness, and the last vestige of it is destroyed when she learns, the hard way, that her life of dangerous adventure has not come to an end. Her laptop has been under surveillance for months by both the CIA and the evil ecoterrorist, Jonas Furnis, who tried to kill her last spring. She discovers this privacy invastion after she thoughtlessly hacks into the Department of Defense’s database and two very bad things happen. First, the director of the CIA threatens her with a possible jail sentence for espionage and, second, her phenomenal hacking skills inspire Jonas Furnis to seek her out as a potential forced ally for his world-dominion aspirations.
This is the second book in the young-adult Digit series. The first book had an important romance and, if it had been written as an adult novel, would most likely have been classified by the publisher as “romantic suspense.” This book has a very different focus. The romance with John is thrown overboard early on, and the publisher is marketing this book as a “sassy, super smart thriller.”
I personally very much enjoyed the lighthearted romance between Digit and John in Book 1, and I was quite disappointed to see it not only shoved to the side, but the author introducing a romantic-triangle, when Digit forms a very close friendship with a fellow MIT genius who studies nano technology and who is also quite attractive. The author implies in the acknowledgement section of her book that dumping John was her editor’s idea. I respectfully disagree with the editor’s suggestion. I liked the book in spite of throwing John overboard, not because of it.
Digit herself, though, continues to be a fascinating, enjoyable character. I personally love plots with brilliant, quirky geniuses, and almost always they are male. Having Digit be female is a terrific addition to this particular type of action-adventure mystery, and she is also a trailblazer among girl-power, YA heroines.
I rate this book as follows:
Romantic-Triangle Plot: 3
Action-Mystery Plot: 4