ARC Review: Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Like I said- my first ARC review! Eep! *flails excitedly* I hope you guys enjoy the review, I enjoyed the book, and I would definitely recommend it when it comes out (August 4).

I received this book from Penguin and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Penguin!

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Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Source: NetGalley

Publication Date: August 4, 2015

Preparing to survive a typical day of being Digby’s friend wasn’t that different from preparing to survive the apocalypse.


Her first day not in school (because she cut) in her new hometown that will soon be her old hometown (because she’s getting out of Dodge as fast as she can) Zoe meets Digby. Or rather, Digby decides he’s going to meet Zoe and get her to help him find missing teenager. Zoe isn’t sure how, but Digby—the odd and brilliant and somehow…attractive?—Digby always gets what he wants, including her help on several illegal ventures. Before she knows it, Zoe has vandalized an office complex with fake snow, pretended to buy drugs alongside a handsome football player dressed like the Hulk, had a throw-down with a possible cult, and, oh yeah, saved her new hometown (which might be worth making her permanent hometown after all.)

A mystery where catching the crook isn’t the only hook, a romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a story about friendship where they aren’t even sure they like each other—Trouble is a Friend of Mine is a YA debut you won’t soon forget.

I was instantly intrigued by the premise of this book- “a romance where the leading man is decidedly unromantic, a story about friendship where they aren’t even sure they like each other”- as well as the cover. It really is a spectacular cover. So let’s talk about this book!

I am iffy about mysteries/thrillers. However, this was still a great novel! It had me hooked from the beginning. I was guessing at every turn, and there were plenty of characters to make me interested. Like all books, however, there were things I liked and disliked.

On NetGalley, this book is described as “Sherlock meets Veronica Mars meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  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.”  That is the perfect description of this book. I mean, I don’t know Veronica Mars and I haven’t seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but Digby is basically Sherlock Holmes from the BBC show. I love that, because, I mean, I love Sherlock, but it is also kind of irked me of how he was identical to Sherlock because it wasn’t supposed to be a Sherlock Holmes story.

BUT! I loved, loved, loved the characters. Zoe was very realistic- she was interested in the mystery enough, but still was invested in her life. She wanted to get through high school, had her own hopes (i.e. Prentiss), and worried about boys. She was witty, funny, sarcastic, and a bit of a drama queen. Sure, I disliked her at times for being a bit of a jerk, but it was part of what made her real.

“Where are you going?” Mom said.

“Walk.”

“When will you be back?”

“Why? Are you worried? Safe town, right? It’s what you told the judge.” And with that, I left.

Note: this review is based on an uncorrected text and is subject to change before publication. These quotes might not stay the same.

This, for example, was one of her worst moments. Compared to one of her better ones:

“So degrading. For all of us,” I said. “When guys fight, it’s some macho tribal thing, but when girls fight, it’s a big perverted joke. Makes no sense.”

Note: this review is based on an uncorrected text and is subject to change before publication. These quotes might not stay the same.

You go, Zoe!!!

In my opinion, there are three kinds of parents in fiction. There are the missing ones- either dead or just unusually absent-, the boring, abnormal-y parent-y ones, and the actual-real-people-with-emotions-ones. Zoe’s mom, Liza, fell under the last umbrella, much to my relief. She looked out for Zoe and cared for her, and was funny as well. She and Zoe seemed really close together, and were very alike.

“Or…we could spend them,” I said. “Before he figures out how to cancel them.”

“Revenge shopping? I know that game.” Mom lit a cigarette. “I used to be an All-Star.”

Note: this review is based on an uncorrected text and is subject to change before publication. These quotes might not stay the same.

Her and Zoe’s relationship was great. Both of them were struggling from the move and divorce, but you could see that they loved each other.

Digby was another awesome character, despite his Sherlock-ness. He was very matter of fact and smart, and also had anxiety issues, which was interesting to see. He and Zoe were a funny pair. He was snarky and sarcastic, and even though he could be a bit of a jerk as well, Digby was still extremely likeable. His slight stalking of Zoe was a kinda-super-really weird, though.

There were many other characters, of course- Marina, Henry, Dr. Schell, Felix, Ezekiel, Sloane- and while they were necessary, they were all rather bland and just there. They didn’t feel interesting or real.

Okay. Now let’s talk about the plot. Basically, there were missing people who are only kinda missing, fake doomsday cults, drugs, houses wired with explosives, freaky gynecologists, and more.

I didn’t understand a lot of it.

Maybe it’s ’cause I’m not a mystery person, maybe ’cause I read too fast (I didn’t think I did), or maybe it was just how it was written, but somehow everybody was intertwined in a huge plot and I didn’t understand it a bit.

I enjoyed this book immensely, however- I just didn’t get the plot at all.

The writing, on the other hand, was excellent. I could create an accurate picture in my head of what River Heights looked like, and Zoe was an awesome narrator. The entire book was in first person, which I found nice to read as I haven’t actually read any YA books in first person recently.

There were some awesome quotes as well:

At first, I thought I hung out with [Digby] because I was bored and wanted to get back at Mom for moving me here. Then I thought it was because he seemed so lost and alone all the time. But now I’m standing outside a house wired with enough explosives to blow up our entire block into a pile of matchsticks, trying to figure out the best way to get back in, and I realize that really, I’m the one who’s been lost.

Note: this review is based on an uncorrected text and is subject to change before publication. These quotes might not stay the same.

There were also a lot of highly unrealistic parts. Schools in fiction tend to be the farthest they can actually be from real schools. Also, there was this part at the end: highlight for spoiler: Felix basically attacks everyone with defibrillators, and there’s a whole action movie-esque car-crash. Basically: What?!

Overall? I liked this book. I just… have to not focus on the un-realisticness and my lack of understanding of the plot. SERIOUSLY. The characters were awesome, the plot was probably awesome as well, and the writing is terrific. Trouble is a Friend of Mine is everything it promises and more, being witty, realistic, and full of twists and turns to keep you guessing.

Rating: 4/5 smilies

Do you think you’ll read Trouble is a Friend of Mine when it comes out? How was my review? Also, BLOG SURVEY! 😀

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