I received this book for free from Kathy Dawson Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
Series: Trouble #1
Published by Kathy Dawson Books on August 4th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Source: Kathy Dawson Books
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Of course I didn’t like Digby when I first met him. No one does.
The first time Philip Digby shows up on Zoe Webster’s doorstep, he’s rude and he treats her like a book he’s already read and knows the ending to.
But before she knows it, Zoe’s allowed Digby—annoying, brilliant, and somehow…attractive? Digby—to drag her into a series of hilarious, dangerous, and only vaguely legal schemes all related to the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that might be connected to the tragic disappearance of his little sister eight years ago. When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can’t say no.
But is Digby a hero? Or is his manic quest an indication of a desperate attempt to repair his broken family and exorcize his own obsessive-compulsive tendencies? And does she really care anyway?
This is a contemporary debut with razor-sharp dialogue, ridiculously funny action, and a dynamic duo you won’t soon forget.
If you like your Sherlock re-tellings full of lots of wit, humor and fun; Trouble is a Friend of Mine is for you. This book was SO MUCH fun to read. I was giggling most of the time, I liked the characters, I liked the plot, I liked the relationships. This was a great brain candy book but my problem with the book was how ignorant and privileged the characters were.
We are constantly reminded that the characters live in a very white neighborhood with no diversity and I would assume that that would at least mean that the MCs weren’t completely ignorant and flippant about certain issues but that’s sadly not true. Even though Zoe moved from NYC, a very diverse city, to a white suburban neighborhood. It isn’t just a case of slut shaming (although that is definitely present) though. There are some very privileged attitudes in this book about class, prison (and the entire system) and just diveristy as a whole. Philip Digby even mocks what it means to be a transgender teen and reduces that experience to stereotypes in movies. That actually hurt because Philip Digby is a great character, I expected more from both of these characters.
So, given all those issues, WHY did I like the book? Well for starters, it’s one of the few (if not the only) Sherlock retelling I’ve read that actually addresses mental health. I wish mental health had been explored a little more in the book than merely being stated, but I love that Digby’s habits aren’t just attributed to ‘quirks.’
Also Zoe’s relationship with her mother was kind of awesome. Zoe constantly berates her for not being a good parent but I love the ways in which the author makes the reader aware of the fact that Zoe’s perception might not necessarily be true.
My favorite thing was that even though Digby and Zoe were solving the mystery by themselves, they actually had help from adults. WHO WEREN’T THE ENEMIES. I know. I KNOW. And when I saw adults, I mean police adults. I was really excited about that. Especially since the two characters we met were hilarious and great. This made it a lot easier to believe in the plot and the mystery. Everything mixed together very well and the author connected the various threads together beautifully.
The characters, when they weren’t being ignorant, were also pretty great. I loved seeing Zoe find her place in a community where she felt left out of and I liked that over the course of the book her attitude changed from “Not like the other girls” to “they aren’t so bad.” Baby steps? Philip is also adorable and I’d really like to find out more about him in a sequel.
I definitely had issues with this book but I still think it’s a great read if you’re looking for something light to get you through the day or if you need a palette cleanser. It’s so cute and quick!
3 Hot Espressos
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Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover
Great review! I have really mixed feelings about reading this book now. It all sounds really great, but I cannot stand ignorant, prejudiced characters. I feel it would probably be very hard for me to like them. I love Sherlock re-tellings, and I love light, funny books. So I really just don’t know. Anyway, thanks for the review!
I KNOW. I am sorry for making it harder for you to decide on this book! I think you should still give it a shot because you might not feel the same way but even if you did, the book is pretty darn hilarious 😉
Jill the OWL
Thanks for the review! I got this in one of the book subscription boxes and wasn’t sure about it. Now I know what I’m in for when I read it 🙂
I hope you still like it, Jill!! 🙂
Nick @ Nick & Nereyda's Infinite Booklist
It sounds like a problematic book with the issues you mentioned. But I know exactly what you mean about enjoying it. Sometimes there are books that have so many issues but you still wind up devouring them. The characters sound like they could be a hit or a miss. It’s a Sherlock retelling though, so I really want to read it!
Lovely review, Rashika!
READ IT. I think this one would be right up your alley, Nick! 😀 It’s funny and the love interest is a cutie pie. Also so many great characterss!
Ksenia @ Ksenia's Book Blog
Great review, Rashika! Some books just do it, you enjoy them despite all their flaws. I haven’t heard about this before, but I’ll probably check it out when I’m in the mood for a light Sherlock retelling.