Friday, 27 November 2015

Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: August 6th 2015
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Sherlock meets The Breakfast Club in this story of a wisecracking girl who meets a weird but brilliant boy and their roller-coaster of a semester that's one part awkward, three parts thrilling, and five parts awesome.

After her parents get divorced, high school junior Zoe Webster moves with her mother from Brooklyn to upstate New York, determined to get back to the city and transfer to the elite private school her father insists on. But then she meets Philip Digby--the odd and brilliant and somehow attractive?--Digby, and soon finds herself in a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all centered on his search for the kidnapper of a local teenage girl who may know something about the tragic disappearance of his kid sister eight years ago. Before she knows it, Zoe has vandalized an office complex with fake snow, pretended to buy drugs alongside a handsome football star dressed like the Hulk, had a serious throw down with a possible religious cult, challenged her controlling father, and, oh yeah, saved her new hometown.

For fans of John Green and David Levithan, this is a crime novel where catching the crook isn't the only hook, a romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a friendship story where they aren't even sure they like each other, and a debut you won't soon forget.
(from Goodreads)

Okay, this book? We need more books like this. Seriously. This is my kind of contemp.

Zoe, our main character, was not very happy with how her life had turned out. Her parents had just divorced, she was stuck in an unfamiliar public school, she had no friends and all she wanted to do was get through the next few weeks until she could transfer to Prentiss, a private school that would help her on her way to Princeton. Enter Digby. Calamity (and hilarity) ensued, including snooping around at the gynaecologists’ office, breaking and entering, dodgy police officers and the limo ride from hell. To say things had livened up a bit was definitely an understatement. But props to Zoe for how she handled Digby and all the craziness he brought into her life - she didn’t lose her head. She somehow managed to get through everything with her sense of humour in tact, and honestly, I was just curious as to what mad thing was going to happen next! I really liked Zoe and how she tried with Digby. She gave him a chance, and sometimes it was even worth it (other times she wondered why on earth she had ever agreed to his plans). It was interesting to see her relationships with the characters, and how her attitude towards her parents slowly changed as the book went on. I am very intrigued as to how she’ll get along with her parents after the ending, and can’t wait to see what happens with them next (and with Digby, but more on that later). Also, I also just want to say that I relate to Zoe on a very deep level about not wearing your retainer. I never wore mine (it made it impossible to talk!) and like Zoe, my teeth moved back and are all horsey again. Unlike Zoe though, my retainer is long lost…

Digby. I don’t really think I can describe his character? He was just a bit of an oddball. Nothing seemed to phase him, he seemed to always know how things would turn out, and he seemed to be an expert in technically not legal stuff. He drove Zoe mad half the time, but he also seemed to understand her in a way that not many others did. The dynamic between the two was excellent. I loved the way they spoke to each other and joked and how it just became a thing that Digby would eat dinner in Zoe’s room - she just got used to it in the end! And their lines were just so funny sometimes. Digby was so blunt when asking to see the gynaecologist, it was hilarious. And I don’t think Natalie Imbruglia counts as a great poet, either! Ahh it was just nice to see them become friends - because Zoe had no-one at school, and Digby only had Henry. And while Digby could undoubtedly be selfish and insensitive at times, I think by the end, he really was trying to be better. Maybe. A tiny bit. Now I just want to see more of these two, especially after that ending, because seriously, what is going to happen? The build up was excellently done. I need to know!

Henry was the only character who really, properly considered the consequences of Digby’s plans, and even then he still went along with them, because he was a loyal friend. You couldn’t help but like the guy, he just seemed so resigned to everything. Zoe had a bit of a thing for him (which he seemed to ignore - or did he? Dun dun dun! Until book two) and his girlfriend Sloane, who was basically Zoe’s arch nemesis, weirdly grew on me throughout the book. I mean, she was pretty horrible, but for some reason, I didn’t dislike her as much towards the end. And Felix! The saviour of the day! That unintentionally amusing guy. I didn’t know his presence was needed in the book until he was introduced, and now I can’t imagine the story without him.

Plot-wise, just know that this book was so fun and hilarious and yet still addressed some more difficult issues at the same time. The characters all worked so well together and every single scene was entertaining. The way the characters opened up to each other as they tried to solve the mystery is one of the things that made it so enjoyable for me, and I cannot wait for the sequel. There’s so much I want to know (what happened to Digby’s sister?) - I hope the wait isn’t too long!

Overall, this was a great contemp, and if you’re a fan of the genre, pick this up.


  1. This sounds fun. I'm going to have to add it to my list. You don't see contemporaries that have sequels very often.

  2. I was curious about this one - had no idea it would have a sequel. I'm glad to hear you really enjoyed it though! And I'm lucky because I only have to wear my retainer when I sleep -well, the top one. I have a permanent bottom one!


  3. I've been wanting to find time for this one and now I know I NEED to! Glad to hear you loved it, it sounds like such a fun mystery!


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