Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I Nearly MIssed This One! YA Pick: Trouble Is a Friend of Mine

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
by Stephanie Tromly
Kathy Dawson Books
334 pages
ISBN: 9780525428404

Watch a teen review


Praise for Trouble Is a Friend of Mine:
“In what reads like a combination of Veronica Mars and The Breakfast Club, debut author Tromly creates a screwball mystery with powerful crossover appeal.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This is one of those rare books that promises something unique and actually delivers beyond expectation. At least one copy belongs in every young adult collection—maybe even two or three. Once the word gets out, this book will fly off the shelves.”—VOYA, starred review

“Fast-talking, suit-wearing Digby is an exasperating teenage Sherlock—sharply observant, impatient with social niceties, and unafraid of authority figures….Fans of Veronica Mars and Elementary will find much to like here…Zoe’s sarcastic first-person narration is fresh and funny…an offbeat and entertaining caper.”—Kirkus

“With snappy prose and wry humor alongside the gritty crime, this nod to noir moves as fast as Digby talks… An engrossing and satisfying read…[that] encourages readers to dig between the lines and see truths that even Zoe and Digby, in all their sardonic observations, can’t quite spell out.”—BCCB, starred review

“A fast-paced story….Readers will find a sharply drawn character in the irrepressible Zoe, who’s as dubious about Digby’s methods as she is curious about whether or not she can live up to his daredevilry.”—SLJ

“With acerbic banter and a healthy dose of high-school high jinks, screenwriter Tromly weaves together traditional elements of teen stories to create a Breakfast Club for a new century.”—Booklist

My Review:

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine was marketed as a cross between Veronica Mars, Sherlock and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," so I was intrigued right away and had high hopes for a great read. I wasn't disappointed and readers won't be either!

Philip Digby is that weirdly cool nerdy kid who everyone knows but isn't exactly close friends with probably because they couldn't keep up with his intellect. They admire his aplomb, his ability to finesse a situation, his benign smile, his ability to tell tall tales and get away with them, and his audacity to fight authority and win before authority  even knows they were in a fight.Whip smart, ever so random in his observances and utterances, Sherlock Holmes smart, utterly devilish,  charming, and dazzling in his brilliance, Digby befriends Zoe. Actually befriends is not the right word. He wiles his way into her life and Zoe, a little bored and a lot friendless, is confused as to why she's suddenly Digby's sidekick and a willing if confused  Dr. Watson to his witty and biting Sherlock Holmes. A cute football playing jock named Henry joins the two and soon the  trio are searching for a missing girl.  Eight years  earlier, Digby's younger sister vanished, and he's hoping if he finds what happened in the recent disappearance, he can find his sister.

I can't say enough about Digby;  he is an enchanting fellow. He is masterful at controlling the situation and keeping things on a strictly need to know basis. He has a plan to bust a drug ring and find out where the missing girl or girls are. Digby is he master of the understatement and a genius at linguistics. He takes jibs at Zoe, aka Princeton, teasing her for her clothing choices, her lack of friends, her boring life, and her wanting to attend an expensive private school. Readers later learn that Digby's home life is...well...strange!

As Zoe crushes on cute Henry, who has a mean girl cheerleader girlfriend, she realizes her feelings for Digby are more than friendship. Zoe has her share of funny lines. When she sees Henry's toned stomach, she says, "Who knew a sixteen-year-old boy who wasn't a werewolf fighting sparkly vampires could have a six-pack of abs?"

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine has a great trio of characters and lead "actors"  Digby and Zoe are sheer comic gold. After finding the bad guys, not alerting the cops, getting taken hostage, being thrown into a cellar, being held at gunpoint, finding tons of explosives and Zoe coming face to face with her biggest fear: her mother's new sleepover boyfriend, Zoe and Digby make a plan to free themselves from a car trunk. When bad guy Ezekiel opens the trunk, Zoe will stab him with an epi-pen and Digby will take the gun. While that plan sounds like it will work, what really happens is: the trunk opens, Zoe stabs the bad guy, the bad guy screams, Zoe screams, Digby screams and the trunk is slammed shut again. Zoe tells Digby that he was supposed to get the gun, but Digby says that Zoe grossed him out and he froze. Zoe hit Ezekiel directly in the eyeball with the epi-pen. Laugh out loud funny!

More surprises at the end will leave readers speechless but wanting more of Digby and Zoe.  It's great news that this book is only book one of a trilogy. Readers will have to wait until November for book 2, Trouble Makes a Comeback. What are you waiting for? Grab a copy of Trouble Is a Friend of Mine.

Highly, highly recommended grade 7-up. Some adult situations: Zoe's dad cheated on her mother and leaves her for a much younger woman, no profanity, no sex, a "hint" of romance.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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