Author: Stephanie Tromly
Publication Date: August 6th 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
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.
I don’t know how to feel about Trouble is a Friend of Mine, and I don’t know what Trouble is a Friend of Mine is supposed to be, mainly because I don’t think the book knows what it’s supposed to be. A mystery? A coming of age with quirky characters and a mystery? A coming of age with quirky characters who investigate a missing person’s case with a side of what the actual fuck? Don’t get me wrong, it was weird but fun and definitely quirky, but at the same time as being fun and weird and quirky, it annoyed the hell out of me because WHAT IS IT ABOUT REALLY? Because besides the mystery element, there are some weird and random scenes and some truly awful characters with nothing behind them and I had no idea where it was supposed to be going, and not in a what-the-hell-is-going-on in an endearing way and more a what-the-hell-is-going-on-side-you-make-no-sense-side-eye way.
I think that was my biggest issue with Trouble is a Friend of Mine is with the characters. I like quirky ones, I love quirky ones, I do. They’re unique and funny and can make or break a book, because there’s a fine line between quirky and uncomfortable, I don’t feel comfortable reading about these characters, and for me Digby was the latter. At some parts, he was okay, and I get that a lot of him ids a defensive mechanism, but there was just something about him that was…skeevy.
Zoe was the type of character that went along with things, a lot of things, and got caught up in stuff, but she’s the main character…who isn’t the main character of the book. If that makes sense. She’s the main character, we’re reading from her perspective, but the focus was mainly on Digby, he felt more of a main character than she ever did, and hey, book, you know you’re not supposed to do that, right? We got to know Digby more than Zoe, apart from her parents getting divorced and her being a little brat about things, we know nothing other than her letting her parents’ divorce define her, which I just didn’t get because it’s certainly not the worst thing that’s ever going to happen to a person. And her dad was...oh dear god, he was comically awful. Seriously. He’s an overgrown child.
Okay, I am beginning to hate the teenagers-doing-the-police’s-job trope, if that’s a trope, is it a trope? If not, it should be. Usually it doesn’t bother me that much because most of the ones I’ve read have been off the track, or near the track, but not so OH, LOOK, HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE MISSING AND I’VE SOLVED THE CASE. What were the police actually doing in here? They might as well have not even been there…
I initially gave Trouble is a Friend of Mine a 3, but I’m moving it down to a 2.5, because thinking over it, there wasn’t much I liked about it. One for, well, finishing it, another one for actually not guessing the mystery or twist or whatever the hell it was because I couldn’t even follow what was going on half the time, never mind guessing. And a half for the mom because I liked her, and she had a lot of patience.