Author: Stephanie Tromly
For Zoe Webster, having her parents divorce means moving to a small city in New York, to a new school she can’t wait to leave. River Heights has been in an uproar for months following the vanishing of Marina Miller, a wealthy teenage girl. When Philip Digby shows up at Zoe’s door, she isn’t sure what to make of him, but before she knows it, she’s joined him on a quest to discover the truth about what happened to Marina. As crazy as Digby’s shenanigans are, he may very well be on to something and Zoe finds herself taking dangerous risks as the two of them dive deeper into the mystery of Marina’s disappearance, but when they accidentally stumble upon dangerous criminal activity, both may be in way over their heads.
“Let me guess. He’s gotten you in trouble,” Henry said.
“Not yet, but I’m pretty sure what he’s planning for tonight will,” I said.
“Nah, it’s too late. You care. You’re on Planet Digby now. You’re already in trouble.”
Stephanie Tromly’s Trouble Is a Friend of Mine is a nice blend of humor and mystery. Many will say the star of this novel is Digby. He’s a fast talker who knows how to pull one over on just about everybody. He’s also insightful, arrogant, and running away from some heavy family issues, including the unsolved disappearance of his own sister. While I liked Digby and he had me laughing more times than I can count, I thought Zoe’s character was more well-rounded. Stuck between two divorced parents, Zoe harbors a lot of anger, especially toward her mother. While it would be easy to criticize Zoe for not showing the same kind of animosity toward her father, whose affair is the reason for the collapse of her parents’ marriage, I saw it as a likely reaction from a girl who’s always been close to her father and who in some ways still hero-worships him. Fortunately, Zoe’s adventures make her realize which parent she can truly rely on and helps her learn how to stick up for herself, even if it means shattering the glass case she’s kept her father in for years.
I did have issues with a few of minor characters, mostly that of Sloan Bloom, resident popular/mean girl. I grow tired of these cliché characters, especially when she has no redeeming qualities and yet a male character, who comes across as decent, still seems interested in her. I was hoping that Zoe would make a female friend, but even Bill, who looked like the antithesis of Sloane, ended up being defined by her interest in a male character. Henry, Digby’s former partner-in-crime, was only as interesting as far as his relationship with Digby was concerned. He came across as a little too perfect and squeaky clean and when comparing him to the more colorful Digby, I began to doubt if he had any real significance to the story.
I was hoping for a little bit more closure, especially when it came to Digby’s missing sister and I’m somewhat surprised to find out this is a standalone and maybe a little puzzled by the fact. I’d love to get my hands on another book featuring Zoe and Digby, so here’s hoping Tromly considers writing a follow-up novel.