Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE (TROUBLE #1) - Stephanie Tromly {Review}

TITLETrouble is a Friend of Mine (Trouble #1)
AUTHOR/s: Stephanie Tromly

PUBLICATION DATE: 4th of August, 2015
If you’ve been following me on twitter (@MioneJeanPotter!) or you simply just know me well, you’ll know that I’ve been on Sherlock world recently because after years of waiting (literally), the much awaited series four is on! Before the broadcast of S04E01 – The Six Thatchers, I’ve already marathoned the entire Sherlock series (which isn’t exactly difficult considering that there are only 9 full length episode, 1 full length special, and 1 mini episode)

In between the new episodes comes the idle time where we dissect the previous episode and come up with crazy theories for the next. So while the fandom waits (a thing we do best), I turned to other Sherlock-ish themed stories that would allow me to be occupied instead of twiddling my thumbs while I impatiently await the new episodes. That lead me to my gigantic pile of TBR and realized that there are a couple of titles that has been there for quite some time…and would definitely ease my detective cravings even just a bit. 

Aside from Brittany Cavallaro’s A Study in Charlotte, I stumbled upon Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly and I realized that I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now – been so long that its sequel is also already out! 

Now, after reading about Zoe and Digby and all the gang’s adventures, I definitely regret not reading it earlier. But I finally did and I can’t wait to get started on the second one! But first things first, I need to convince you people to read it because you JUST NEED TO! Thoughts ahead! :) 
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? 

Let me start with the most brilliant and enjoyable part of the story: Its characters. Except that they aren't just 2D characters placed on paper just for the sake of it. They’re THEATRICAL characters. They aren’t just typical but exaggerated typical which definitely worked for me! I didn't consider it as a a lesser point but a greater point because it’s obvious that it was intentional. It’s even almost explicitly stated in the book:

Digby said. ‘But see, Felix likes being the brain.’ 

Felix nodded.

‘And Henry’s the jock, and I’m –’ Digby said.

‘The criminal and Sloane’s the princess … blah-blah-blah,’ I said. 'What’s your point?’

‘But you and Bill are fighting over the same spot,’ Digby said.

‘And we can’t both be in the group?’ I said.

‘Come on, Zoe, even I know there can only be one one-of-the-guys girl in the group.'

But the mix was fun to read about. I simply adored Digby. He's very snarky, quirky, and fun(ny). If I tried, he could've resembled Sherlock but not much. I also love the fact that despite being "tough" on the outside, he's actually really a softie; really sweet and thoughtful...in his own ways. And lastly, anyone who's in love with food as much as I am is always good in my book. During my first draft of this review, I enumerated the parts where I LOVED DIGBY SO MUCH but then decided against it so you guys can enjoy it yourself (but if there are people out there who wants to fangirl with me, do get in touch because ahhhh!)

Next would be our narrator, Zoe AKA Princeton. The thing I loved the most about her is her sense of adventure. She's also a refreshing dose of realism since there were moment that she seems genuinely surprised at the lousy decisions of people in her life hahaha! Also, GIRL POWER! She's a nice addition to fight sexist comments from the boys and grew to a person who refuses to take nonsense from others like when she stood up to her father and when smacked Marina because the boys are too "boys" to do so.

Aside from the two, the supporting characters were surprisingly interesting. Henry felt really princely but I had some problems picturing him out as the jock who "brings all the girls in the yard". In my head, I kept envisioning him as a nice-boy-next-door type who's weird and awkward around girls. Those stuff. Sloane didn't exactly give me the "antagonist"vibe. I had fun reading about her especially her smart comebacks - like during the limo ride - as well as how adventurous she could be if she wanted to. Felix was also adorable with his little crush on Zoe and the fact that he gets too excited with himself sometimes (Kids? Nobel peace prize? Corpses?) Zoe's mom was really cool too! Yes, she won't be winning a mother of the year award anytime soon but you can see her trying really hard for Zoe.

"Would it be horribly inconsistent if I told you I judged her for actually listening to me and letting me stay?"

Tone-wise, I liked how it wasn't very dark for a mystery novel. It's lighthearted and humorous which made it easier to read and go through. Also, even though everyone seems to compare it with Sherlock (which I was kinda expecting), by the time that I was fully immersed in it, I already forgot that it’s supposed to be Sherlock-ish. I think Digby is a funnier, more social, and more emotional version of the detective. Plus differing to what others say, his “speed deductions” didn’t pop up as often and it’s simple observation, not very Sherlockish which could be surprising sometimes and definitely NOT OBVIOUS (except for him)

If I haven't emphasized it already, it's HILARIOUS! I know it’s supposed to be a mystery but it’s just too funny – especially Digby’s lines and his banter with Zoe. Every time he opens his mouth, I know there’s some sassery coming. If I had to put here each of his quotes, It’ll take up everything! BTW, I went back to the number of scenes/dialogue that I found worth taking note of because of its humor/feels. I ended up with 74. Seriously.

Speaking of Zoe and Digby's dialogue, I know that romance wasn't given that much highlight here but the tension between them is too intense to not notice. I think they're both in denial of their feelings but if you pay close attention (I did because I'm shipping them hard), you'll see how obvious it is! I initially wanted to enumerate the ~signs~ but again, saving it for your deduction skills :) 

If you're not convinced with it then wait 'til you get to (spoiler) THAT ENDING! I knew a ~surprise~ kiss would be happening (it was spoiled in the blurb of book 2) and I kept waiting for it. When it finally happened, I was still swept off my feet despite knowing ahead. I had to stop reading and squeal my fangirl heart out. Embarrassing but true! (end of spoiler)

However, the plot itself wasn’t ~very cohesive~ for me. There are so many things happening! Drugs! Missing Sister! Missing Marina! Cults! Creepy Gyne! I don’t know where to focus. I understood that eventually everything fitted and were linked but I didn’t understand HOW. I just know that it does. Weird. Basically I think plot-wise there’s more things I didn’t get than what I actually got. Questions! Questions!

I’m pretty much swept up in Planet Digby. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice the offensive/creepy/weird/unrealistic things that Digby did that people have been pointing out and maybe I was too focus on the snarky dialogue that I got lost in the plot somewhere. But despite everything, I still greatly enjoyed and couldn’t bear to give a line of 3 rating. 

UPDATE: I GOT IT NOW AFTER A SECOND READING. Finally I understood how everything connected! And I can say that it is definitely my fault. I got carried away reading that I missed some important parts. But I guess others would get it quicker than me if you pay attention hahaha! And once you understand it completely, you'll see how brilliant it actually is! The little clues here and there. Amazing! 

UPDATE: Read it for a third time to find quotes that made me laugh (basically all of Digby’s dialogue.) This is when I also made sure to take note of all notable scenes. I feel like I've memorized everything now haha! Also, I noticed some things I didn't before. Some reasons that can prove how reasonable some things that others considered unrealistic. 

“One day you'll get it. It's unbelievable what you'd do for someone you like. In fact, the more unbelievable, the more you probably like them (...) Not in a codependent 'he beats me because he loves me' way, of course.” –Liza Webster 

“(...) when you get rejected a lot, you start to hear rejection all the time, everywhere, even when there hasn't been any rejection (...) after the rejection comes shame. Like how thunder always follows lightning. You don't always hear it, but it's always there.” – Digby 

“Oh, I hurt, Princeton. But it hurts a lot less when you pretend it doesn't." – Digby

*It's important to note that I only selected the feels-y and non-spoilery ones. If I were to include ALL of my favorites, I'll end up with 74 (as I've mentioned earlier) because every line is on fleek!

Initially torn between giving it a 4 or a 4.5 but eventually decided on a 5-star rating instead after a third reading. The ~flaws~ that others pointed out didn’t bother me that much (considering that I don't even see it much.)

Also, did I mention that Stephanie Tromly is part Filipino? Definitely a plus! Yay PH represent :) 

No more words left but go read it, people! 

Five out of Five rating for Stephanie Tromly's Trouble is a Friend of Mine!

5/5 Rating! :)

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