Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
Published by Kathy Dawson Books
There’s been a lot of buzz around this book, so I was very excited when it was featured in the August Owl Crate box. The description of the book on the back cover sold me right from the start.
“With the wit of Sherlock, the smarts of Veronica Mars, and the humor of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, this is a debut novel you won’t want to miss”
Needless to say, I was not a disappointed.
The book actually begins at the end of the story, then takes you on a wild ride explaining how they got to that point. I have to admit, I love when a book gives you the partial ending and then makes you go all the way back to the beginning to figure out how in the world they wound up there.
The story is narrated by a 16 year old girl named Zoe. Zoe starts out pretty unhappy. She’s the product of divorced parents and has been ripped from the city, school and friends that she’s familiar with, and forced to live with her mother in upstate New York where she attends public high school in a bland and boring town. Leaving a fairly privileged lifestyle in Manhattan and now stuck in the suburbs of River Heights, Zoe is not making any friends and she’s finding it difficult to fit in. But she has a plan – if she keeps her grades up and her record clean, she can finish high school at the prestigious Prentiss Academy, and then on to Princeton. Her plan would mean leaving her mother, which she is all too happy to do, and moving back to Manhattan with her father and his new wife. It’s a great plan. Until Digby drops into her life.
Digby is also a high school student, who shows up unannounced at Zoe’s door one day and tries to convince her to show him some photos that she’s taken. I won’t go in to how he knows she’s taken the photos, let’s just say that Zoe is not pleased. In fact, she opens the story with, “Of course I didn’t like Digby when I first met him. No one does.”
Digby is brazen and brash and very difficult to like, but like him or not Zoe gets pulled in because, as we learn later, Digby never takes “no” for an answer. There is also another character that plays an integral role in the story, and that’s Henry. Henry is a friend of Digby’s from their childhood and is all too familiar with Digby’s shenanigans. He tries to warn Zoe, but it’s no use, against his better judgement even Henry gets dragged in!
And so an adventure with drug dealers, kidnappers, perverts, and a wacky school dance begins!
As Zoe, Digby and Henry attempt to figure out what happened to a girl from River Heights that’s been missing for months, Digby is also trying to piece together the kidnapping of his younger sister eight years ago. He thinks it’s too much of a coincidence and that the two events are related. Together the three of them pull off some pretty dangerous and illegal schemes, and Zoe is in real danger of ruining her perfect school record. Throughout the story I was cheering them on, even though at times I felt like I wanted someone to ring Digby’s neck. He really is a hard character to like. But then again so is Zoe, who complains so much about her “miserable life” in River Heights that she’s almost as obnoxious as Digby.
Because of the whining, I didn’t find Zoe’s inner monologue narration as witty as, let’s say Veronica Mars, however I did find the conversations between Zoe and Digby humorous and even sweet at times. The conversations between Digby and Henry, although humorous as well, were a bit over done with the constant use of “dude” and “bro”. But then again, I’m not a teenage boy, so who knows, maybe it’s perfectly natural.
The story is quick paced, and as it progresses the friendship becomes the best part of the story, and even goes so far as to pull in few more characters – some likable, some not so much. By the time you’re almost at the end of the book, you’re reminded of where Zoe’s story began, and it races to a pretty satisfying ending – for now. YES! there is going to be a sequel.
You can follow Stephanie Tromly on Twitter @stephanietromly
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