A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that readers will learn somethings about cracking codes in A Girl Named Digit -- and get a strong message about the importance of being their true selves. However, there's a surprising level of violence here: An eco-terrorist group kills eight people during a bombing at JFK airport and has another attack planned for Disney World. John's boss at the FBI had been kidnapped and tortured by this same group and is missing all the fingers of one hand. There's also gunplay and threats of shooting, one character commits suicide, and students at Farrah's school think that she's been kidnapped and maybe raped. Beyond that, there's a romance between John, the 21-year-old FBI agent, and 17-year-old Farrah; they kiss and spend the night together, but nothing beyond snuggling takes place.
What's the story?
Math genius Farrah has tried to act like a regular high school girl and distance herself from a painful middle school nickname: Digit. But when she cracks a code that an eco-terrorist group has been broadcasting on a popular teen TV show, she finds herself in serious danger -- and under the protection of a young, handsome FBI agent. Between hiding out, jumping out of moving taxis, and staking out bad guys from a Central Park tree, Farrah and John find themselves in a deeper mystery -- and in love with each other. As she uses her genius skills to thwart another terrible terrorist tragedy, she also learns that \"someone could love me\" for being Digit, her true, brainy self.
Is it any good?
There's not enough clever spy stuff to put this in a league with Ally Carter's similar tale, but it’s a fun enough book that celebrates smart, brave girls and the importance of being yourself. Tweens may find it a bit heavy on romance and a little light on actual code breaking, but readers looking for a beach book with a little bit of heart will find enough to satisfy them. Digit's transformation into a tough girl who's able to be her true self is realistic -- and worth cheering.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about A Girl Named Digit's message of being true to yourself. Do you think it's still true that girls hide their smarts from their friends? If so, why do you think that is, and what can we do to change it?
Why do you think the author made a choice to make the violent group one that's fighting to protect the environment?
What do you think about a relationship between a 21-year-old guy and a 17-year-old girl?
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