Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly, review by Melissa Fox
Debut author Tromly seems to have captured some of that elusive John Green mix, and in her novel "Trouble is a Friend of Mine", found the right balance between humor, strangeness, and a deeper, darker story that is sure to keep readers (or at the very least, it kept me) turning pages, wondering how it will all resolve.
Zoe Webster is unimpressed with her new house, her new town, her new life. She is doing everything she can to move back to New York City to be with her dad and his new wife, go to a prep school, and be the "right" sort of person. Then Digby shows up on her doorstep. She's unimpressed, at first: he's odd, he's brusk, he's demanding. And yet, she finds she's intrigued: when he involves her in his (increasingly strange) plans, she finds she can't say no.
Digby's plans do have a purpose: his sister was kidnapped several years ago, and he's trying to figure out what happened to her. The cops are no help: they accused his family, and the trail for her kidnappers has gone cold. So, Digby's taken it up on himself to work outside the law: he will figure out where his sister is. And, conveniently, there is another missing girl -- a teenager this time -- to find, in hopes that locating her will help Digby find his sister.
While the mystery is an intriguing one, and there is some adventure and suspense built up throughout the book, it's Digby, and the way Zoe plays his foil, that truly drives this book. Digby's a character that I swear came straight out of a John Green novel: odd, slightly crazy, and yet daring enough to grasp life by throat and not let go. The two of them end up picking up a cohort of friends as the book goes on, and every single one of them is given a moment to shine. Tromly knows her characters, and knows how to balance the story line in order to keep readers turning pages.
In the end I found this to be amusing and endearing, and I ended the book wanting more.