Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

I truly enjoyed this book. It was funny, engaging and well-written.

Zoe Webster is a high school junior whose parents have divorced. Mom won the custody battle and moved them to a small town, well away from the high-powered father, prep school, and life that Zoe preferred. The story starts with a small teaser prologue about the end of the book - a good grab, and already interesting - but the book really starts on the first day of school. Since Zoe and her dad are scheming to get her back to NYC and the private prep school, she thinks she's just marking time. However, she's quickly drawn into a very bizarre quest by Digby, who is, well, odd.

There had been a kidnapping of a high school girl over the summer, and Digby is convinced that it's related to his 4-year-old sister's disappearance nearly 10 years earlier. He's returned to town to live with his mom, as his parents had divorced after the sister's disappearance. He immediately has begun trying to solve both the crimes, and is enough of a personality force that Zoe can't resist. The high school quarterback, Henry, was Digby's best friend from his earlier life, and warns Zoe that "once you care, you're in Digby World."

The story takes us through Digby's investigation (dragging Henry and Zoe kicking and screaming behind him) and Zoe's road to fitting into a new school. Some of the capers they get into are a little unbelievable, but hey, it's fiction. I can live with that. The book reminds me of the snappy dialog of an Aaron Sorkin show, the action of Percy Jackson, the uncomfortably observant BBC Sherlock, and the comedy/caper aspect of Janet Evanovich;s Stephanie Plum - all things I love.

There are some things that, as a grown-up (or maybe just an experienced reader) I can see coming from a mile away, but that's OK. I don't mind plot points that I've seen before if they make sense and are well done, and that's what I saw here.

The amazon blurb mentions this being something of "a romance between two people who aren't sure they like each other", but I wouldn't want people to think of this as a classic teen romance, just for girls. Zoe has a crush, but there are no "acts" of romance and it's not all about "How can I get him to like me?" I definitely am going to suggest that my twin 13 year old boys read this - it is NOT particularly girly, though it's told from Zoe's first person view. (Zoe acknowledges that she's "one of the guys" herself.) There might be a couple of more mentions of outfits than boys would care about, but mostly, it's a mystery/adventure/comedy, and I know they'd enjoy it. I laughed out loud more than once, and I would definitely recommend this to 7th grade and up. The content is not too R rated for middle schoolers. (But do be warned, there is a sleazy gyneocologist and the plot does involve some drug dealers. No drugs are taken. No alcohol consumption by teens.)

As they work through the mystery and the maze of high school, we see some growth and different aspects to not just the three main characters, but some of the more minor ones, as well. The end is satisfying (I like my mysteries to be solved, thank you,) but the book does end on a bit of a teaser. I hope that it means we might be seeing Zoe, Digby, and Henry again, along with their interesting pool of friends.I highly recommend this one.

This book is scheduled to be released in August. I was provided a free ARC by in exchange for review, but I suggest running out to get it when it comes out!

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