Rumi Vasi is ten years, two months, thirteen days, two hours, forty-two minutes and six seconds old. The probability of her walking home from school with John Kemble is 0.2142, a probability severely reduced by the lacy frock and thick woollen tights she is forced to wear by her father. Numbers have filled Rumi's world since she first learned to count.
It was on a trip to India at the age of eight that her mathematical powers acquired their almost supernatural significance. When she returned home to Cardiff, her destiny was sealed: she was now the town's ???maths prodigy'. But Rumi is growing up and numbers no longer occupy her every waking moment: she abandons her homework to seek out friendship and replaces equations with stories from Malory Towers. And, as the family's stark isolation intensifies, so too does Rumi's desire for love.
A dazzling novel of high aspirations and deep longing, Nikita Lalwani's debut captures brilliantly the battle to come of age in an emotional and comic hinterland where history, arithmetic and cumin seeds all play a part.