Review: Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Review: Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie TromlyTrouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
Series: Trouble #1
Published by Kathy Dawson on August 4, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
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four-half-stars

Of course I didn’t like Digby when I first met him. No one does.

The first time Philip Digby shows up on Zoe Webster’s doorstep, he’s rude and he treats her like a book he’s already read and knows the ending to.

But before she knows it, Zoe’s allowed Digby—annoying, brilliant, and somehow…attractive? Digby—to drag her into a series of hilarious, dangerous, and only vaguely legal schemes all related to the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that might be connected to the tragic disappearance of his little sister eight years ago. When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can’t say no.

But is Digby a hero? Or is his manic quest an indication of a desperate attempt to repair his broken family and exorcize his own obsessive-compulsive tendencies? And does she really care anyway?

This is a contemporary debut with razor-sharp dialogue, ridiculously funny action, and a dynamic duo you won’t soon forget.

Since Meg sent me a copy of Trouble Is a Friend of Mine with her recommendation, it should come as no surprise whatsoever that I enjoyed the shit out of this book. I devoured it like a bag of chips, though thankfully this doesn’t go directly to my thighs and stomach. Tromly’s debut impressed me so much in fact that I will definitely to read every single book she ever writes. Trouble Is a Friend of Mine is one of the banteriest books ever, deliciously funny, silly, and shippy.

Zoe Webster moves to River Heights following her parents’ divorce, and she’s not thrilled across the board. Leaving New York City for suburban boredom doesn’t excite her. Nor does the prospect of starting a public school and trying to make new friends, something at which she does not particularly excel. She’s also not looking forward to living with her oblivious mother, who allowed Zoe’s dad to cheat flagrantly for a very long time before finally kicking him out. Zoe’s dad’s a douchebag, but at least he’s honest with himself. (Note: these are Zoe’s opinions, not mine.)

Immediately upon moving in, she meets a strange character. Digby comes into her life, like, well, a wrecking ball. Digby’s the bastard love child of Sherlock Holmes and Ferris Bueller. Fiercely independent, surrounded by chaos, and hugely clever, Digby’s on a mission to solve a number of cases, including a missing person’s case and what the fuck is up with the cult in the mansion next door to Zoe’s house.

Initially, Zoe really doesn’t want anything to do with Digby, who annoys her. However, she doesn’t really know anyone else and she has nothing better to do, so she finds herself increasingly drawn into his schemes, doing things she never would have imagined she would do…like breaking and entering. I’ve heard comps to Veronica Mars, but actually one of the things I love so much about this book is that I really don’t think this comp works. She may be Digby’s Watson of sorts, but Zoe’s hilariously bad at crime.

See, for all that the subject matter deals with some intense subjects, this book is 100% banter and silliness. It’s a farce, a slapstick comedy. There’s actually not that much straight up hilarious humor in YA, so Trouble Is A Friend of Mine was a breath of fresh air. I laughed out loud several times reading this one.

For the most part, Trouble Is the Friend of Mine doesn’t delve to deep into character back stories. However, among the hijinks and shenanigans, Tromly does throw in some development. Digby’s working through a whole host of issues, choosing to laugh in the face of danger as he tries to come up with an identity of his choosing rather than the one forced on him by circumstances. Zoe has a predictable but satisfying arc with her father, and a scene-stealing arc with her mother. I love how her mother seems like the typical bad YA parent, but she turns out to just be trying out various parenting strategies. Her mom’s awesome, and their relationship is a highlight.

For a bit, I did even consider rating Trouble Is a Friend of Mine five stars, because I think Tromly really hits humorous mystery on the head. There was one element that didn’t ring quite right, however. That’s Zoe’s relationship with Bill (aka Isabel, who chooses to go by Bill to not be associated with Bella Swan). The two become friends ostensibly, but there are really only two very brief scenes where they interact that way, though supposedly they’ve spent time together off-page. Bill uses this time to hook herself up with Digby upon whom she has a massive crush. View Spoiler » The fact that Zoe’s one female friend was using her to get to a boy is pretty ick, and I hope further development is put into this in the next book. I do appreciate that Sloane proves more than just a mean girl, however.

If you’re looking for something funny and bantertastic to combat the shitness of the world, look no further than Trouble Is a Friend of Mine.

Favorite Quote:

You know it’s going to be one of those nights when you start it with moving a body.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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