I read a book sometime between 1999 and 2002, possibly young adult. It starts out with a spaceship containing two astronauts landing on a foreign planet. One, a man, is rendered unconscious; the other, a woman, is the main (human) character. The planet has native life, including an intelligent species. Chapters of the book alternate being narrated by the female astronaut and one of the aliens. The point of the plot is depicting the woman and the alien as they gradually learn to communicate. I believe it ends with the woman and her injured partner leaving the planet after she has successfully learned to communicate with the alien.
At one point the alien is confused by the woman's spacesuit, thinking it is her real skin, and is surprised when she starts "shedding" it.
The alien also consistently refers to fingers as "digits", something that really confused me when I was a kid.