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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion!
Natalie Reiss
Progress: 20/120 pages
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Report on the Selected Problems of the Technical Departments of the University of Illinois Library
Raynard C. Swank
Progress: 20/42 pages
Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes

A Girl Named Digit

A Girl Named Digit - Annabel Monaghan I found a good chunk of this book to be highly addictive, even as I realized it was basically wtf reading for teens. I loved the early descriptions of Farrah as a girl who could be completely derailed by a bunch of randomly-placed tiles or sequins that aren't arranged in predictable patterns. I liked that all the terrorist stuff started with a bunch of numbers unobtrusively placed in the opening credits of a popular TV show – the eco-terrorists love Fibonacci numbers!Unfortunately, I felt things slowed down a bit as soon as Farrah ended up in FBI custody. When I originally picked this book up, I was hoping for lots of math-related deductions that only Farrah could help out with. Instead, for a long period of time just about anybody could have been helping the FBI. John was the one doing most of the skilled work, busily translating a bunch of transcripts into English. All Farrah did was read through them along with him and act out certain scenes with him in order to relieve their boredom.When they located a bag full of papers with numbers on them, I figured the math stuff would be coming back. Again, not so much. Farrah and John spent some time running from the bad guys, Farrah lusted after John, John acted like he wasn't interested...until they escaped to John's parents' hidden home. It was off both the FBI and CIA's radar, and, what with all the privacy, John started to cave a bit (no sex, just kissing), and suddenly Farrah and John became a gooey happy couple. John's parents were mildly disapproving, until they saw how happy he was. I'm pretty sure Farrah's parents showed even less disapproval than John's.Farrah is 17, soon to be 18. I think Farrah guessed John's age to be 21, so the age difference isn't that great. However, there were a few things that bothered me about their relationship. One, the entire relationship sprouted up while they were both in danger. They were in close proximity, and they landed in several adrenaline-pumping situations. I wasn't entirely convinced that their relationship could survive in normal, everyday life. Two, while their ages may have been similar, their maturity levels weren't. John seemed much more mature to me than Farrah did. One scene that still sticks with me is a party Farrah went to. She spotted a guy who was passed out and dumped head-first into a garbage can. He was there because he refused to let a popular student copy his geology report, so the popular guy made him do beer bongs until he passed out. This same popular student was the one Farrah was about to let kiss her, so that she would fit in with all the other girls who thought he was hot.I understand that Farrah wanted to be seen as normal, but she could have been a normal girl who didn't hang with the kind of people who did things like that. The book was written in the first person from Farrah's perspective, so, if she had even thought about going to check on the passed out guy, it would have been in the text. All she did was look for movement and then head off with the jerk who did it all in the first place. I liked Farrah's voice, and I liked the “Digit” side of her, the side that wouldn't get her invited to parties or let her hang with the popular crowd. I really didn't like the things she did in order to fit in, though, and I wonder if John would have liked her so much if he had known her prior to her visit to the FBI.One thing he did know, though, was that Farrah sometimes did stupid things even though she was told not to, even though she was in a situation where she, as the inexperienced one currently in danger, should have listened to the FBI agent charged with protecting her. When she was explicitly asked if she had a cell phone, she remembered that she had one on her, and she chose to keep it with her anyway, without telling anyone, because she didn't want to be without the photo that could help her snap out of a math-related freak-out (couldn't she had asked someone to bring her other photos of trees?). Even I know that it's possible to use a cell phone to track someone, and I found what she did to be boneheaded, especially considering that all she ever did was check for text messages from one of her friends. Which, I want to point out, was not the original purpose for which she kept her cell phone.As addictive as some parts of this book were, overall it wasn't really what I was hoping for. Farrah's math skills were only used maybe a couple times in the book. At other times, she seemed fairly ordinary, aside from her ability to quickly do calculations in her head. Despite everything she said about having difficulty being around things that weren't in regular patterns, she didn't seem to have any difficulties at all with this during the story.As far as the FBI and eco-terrorist stuff went, that seemed a bit lackluster and oddly-paced. After an exciting beginning, during which Farrah was on the run from a terrorist who realized she'd seen and probably cracked his code, things got a little boring as Farrah and John were closed up together. Then they spent some time on the run again (because Farrah made herself cry in order to get John to take her with him – yet another thing that made me feel she wasn't mature enough for John), and then things slowed down again when John and Farrah hid out at John's parents' place. The big twist near the end wasn't all that shocking to me, because I figured out that person's involvement with the terrorists long before everyone else, after coming across an enormous clue early on.This book had potential, and it was still an exciting read a good chunk of the time. I just wish Farrah had had more of a chance to use her math abilities, and I wish she had spent a little less time thinking about how hot John was.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)