Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TROUBLE MAKES A COMEBACK (TROUBLE#2) - Stephanie Tromly {Review}

TITLETrouble Makes a Comeback (Trouble #2)
AUTHOR/s: Stephanie Tromly

PUBLICATION DATE: 22nd of November, 2016

Recently, I’ve reviewed the book 1 of Stephanie Tromly’s Trouble seriesTrouble is a Friend of Mine. As you can see, I loved it to bits! That’s why I immediately devoured the second book without any hesitation. In fact, I started reading it the night before our first day back in school and told myself to read just one chapter. Of course, any reader will know how much of a lie that is and before I know it, it was already past 4am and my heart is exploding with feels as I got to the end! My zombie-mode the next day during 8AM period is definitely worth it!

In relation to this, Sherlock Season Four is also over and my feels are all over the place! During the second day of classes, I arrived at school with puffy eyes from crying because of The Final Problem. Yes, my fangirl life interferes with my real life, I know. No regrets, though!

Anyway, I’m thrilled to share my rambling and fangirling thoughts on the second book of the Trouble seriesTrouble Makes a Comeback! Admittedly, it’s a bit longer than my usual reviews because I just have a lot of feelings on this one okay? So please bear with me as I blabber. Will hide possible spoilers for those who haven’t read it or the first book yet (but seriously, what are you waiting for? GO NOW!)

Ooh! One last thing! Saw this thread while going through Stephanie Tromly's feed and I would like to share it here too – because Nick Robinson is definitely auditioning for Digby! Check it out HERE!

“How do you like life in the fast lane?” Digby said. “Is it everything you thought it would be?”

Good question.

Achieving high school “normal” wasn’t as hard as Zoe Webster expected, but she’s beginning to think Hollywood oversold how much fun it all is. Isn’t dating a jock supposed to be one long Instagram dream? Shouldn’t she enjoy gossiping 24/7 with her two BFFs? And isn’t this, the last year before the finish line that is Princeton, meant to be one of her best? If “normal” is the high school goal, why can’t Zoe get Philip Digby—decidedly abnormal, completely chaotic, possibly unbalanced, undoubtedly rude, and somehow…entirely magnetic—out of her mind?

However normal Zoe’s life finally is, it’s about to get blown up (metaphorically. This time. She hopes, anyway.*) when Digby shows up on her doorstep. Again. Needing her help to find his kidnapped sister. Still. Full of over-the-top schemes and ready to send Zoe’s life into a higher gear. Again.

It’s time for Zoe Webster to choose between staying in the normal lane, or taking a major detour with Digby (and finally figuring out what that stolen kiss actually meant to him).

Guess which she chooses?

* This is a mistake; Zoe should know better than to expect there not to be explosions when Digby is in town.

Prepare yourselves, folks! It’s going to be a bumpy, fangirly ride!

Again, as I did with the earlier book, I’ll start with the brilliantly written characters. I have said before that they are theatrical characters (a technique which really worked for me) but this time, I also surprisingly enjoyed their growth. They felt realer in a sense and it seems like they are starting to break through the stereotype that they have set in Trouble#1: The Prom Queen becomes friendless, The Nerd kid is suddenly cool, The Nice Guy Jock have his life planned out (NOT), The New Girl belongs in the “In” crowd, and The Criminal Outsider turns out to be emotional after all.

“Digby wraps his arms around me and whispers, ‘Princeton, I can’t do this.’ 

‘Digby, I think you have to at least try,’ I say. ‘You need to know the truth about what happened to Sally. It needs to be over.’”

Now let’s discuss Digby. First, let's establish that I LOVE HIM TO BITS I SWEAR. If I haven't already before, then I definitely do now especially after seeing his sweet, caring, jealous, scary (INTENSE DIGBY IS INTENSE), and emotional side that we didn't really expect to see. Also, despite his non-committal façade, he actually cares and respects relationships. EXHIBITS: <spoiler> A.) Sloane/Henry –it’s funny how he assures Sloane that Henry is not cheating without giving their plan away; B) During a charged scene in Coach Fogle’s office, he stops Zoe because she’s technically still with Austin despite it being obvious that they’re about to break-up and C.) During the party, he again stops Zoe because he’s still technically going out with Bill </spoiler> 

Meanwhile, Zoe. Surprisingly, I didn’t really have much notes on her but I did enjoy her development. I liked the fact that no matter how much she tried to fit into her normal life, she seems to gravitate to trouble and adrenaline-pumping adventures. Also, I may not agree with all her decisions but I really couldn’t blame her for doing things that her character would definitely have done. And lastly, can I just say how much I can relate with her grade-consciousness? Yes, you can have a panic attack thinking about exams.

On the side of Henry, I still love his friendship with Digby and his unwavering loyalty but he’s just ~too good~ for his own sake and I’m scared on where he’s gonna be on book 3. <spoiler> he seemed pretty devastated on the turn of events plus his rocky relationship with Sloane is is kinda sad because I’m actually starting to like them </spoiler> Speaking of Sloane, I love her character development the most. Her comebacks are as on point as ever but I especially liked her budding love/hate relationship with Zoe. I’ve sensed this turn from the start and I really enjoy reading about this kind of girl friendships. Like what Digby has pointed out, despite their differences, they somewhat have this mutual respect for each other.

“’Well what the hell are you doing here? You and I stress each other out. People are just stressful, that’s all,’ I said.

‘I don’t think you’re stressful. You annoy me,’ Sloane said. ‘But that’s a real feeling at least. I don’t know what I feel when I’m with my friends. I just know I’m exhausted after I hang out with them.’

‘You have this weird way of insulting people even when you’re saying something nice,’ I said. ‘Or is just me?’”

Of course, I won’t forget Felix! I’m glad that he got over his little crush and look at him now, hiding from girls! Of them all, I can actually relate with his enthusiasm in being back at the game

“Oh man this is awesome.” Felix strapped himself in. “We are back.” 

“No, Felix,” I said.

The newly added characters were also fun to read about and were definitely surprising.

Plot-wise, I can safely say that this one is generally easier to get into than the first. It’s more cohesive and not much many different things going on. There’s still many adventures but they are more tightly woven and you wouldn’t really feel lost. While the tone is slightly less humorous (don’t get me wrong, it’s still hilarious and sassy! Book 1 is just more.), it became sweeter and darker at the same time. It’s still snarky and fun to read but it also anchored on deeper emotions aside from humor. I guess that’s what happens when the stakes are even higher. I see that it’s starting to be more solid, with a greater essence and a heart. I can’t explain it coherently but you’ll just ~know~ once you read it hahaha!

Some “themes” that I would like to discuss:

FAMILY: This is one of the major reasons why I’ve mentioned that I think this book is deeper. Here, we got to see and understand more of the characters’ familial relationships especially with Digby. I don’t want to spoil but ~feels alert!~ Despite their differences (and a slightly intense scene) it’s also funny to note that Zoe and Liza  are so much alike, like parallels:

“’Too bad your mother can’t seem to stay away from your dad,’ Digby said. ‘He’s such bad news and yet she keeps coming back for more.’ 

‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘What’s her problem, right?’”

The Mike/Liza thing is also an effective plot device but I didn’t really ~feel~ for them. The thing I liked about it is that, again, it seems to parallel Zoe’s situation (+ I love the idea of a vegan cop lol) And there was also one scene between Digby and Zoe’s dad that I loved because it reminded me of a teleserye (in the Philippines, it’s what we call drama shows on television)

MYSTERY/ADVENTURE: This is the second aspect which made me say that book two is definitely going deeper. Things are starting to get real serious and I can clearly see a real series arc forming. Although it still had subplots, it paved the way for the characters to grow and created a diversion which actually worked. It also now feels Sherlock-y because of <spoiler> the Government conspiracies and all, plus, I love love love every scene between de Groot and Digby! SO INTENSE. It gave me a Magnussen-Sherlock vibe actually. </spoiler> The revelations left me SHOOKT. Plot twists upon plot twists! And I can say that it’s very….explosive *wink wink*

FRIENDSHIP: I liked how much I didn’t like Zoe being with new friends. Does that even make any sense? The point is, I’m glad that I didn’t like her new pals because it reiterated my love for the gang, which by the way, is definitely back! Despite the solo adventures, I loved how the group (Henry, Sloane, Felix, Zoe, and Digby) still got together and did their thing and it was epic! 

ROMANCE: I saved the best for last. By this time, I can’t assure you that I’ll be very coherent because !!! After that <spoiler> ~surprise~ kiss </spoiler> by the end of book 1, I’m pretty sure all the Zoe/Digby shippers are BLOWN AWAY. And now I can say that book 2 will pretty much make you explode.

“Just promise you’ll make him work, okay? Make him work to deserve you.” 

The love web is definitely on point! I love how the tension between Zoe-Digby is obvious especially when Digby's out to purposely shake them up because jealous Digby is so cuuuuuute hahaha!  I actually liked Austin at first and kinda felt bad for him since he's definitely no match for Digby but eventually, I sensed that <spoiler> something fishy is going on and I actually wanted Zoe to have a more epic break up with Austin </spoiler> Meanwhile, ugh same old Bill. Never really liked her (except for the fact that she obviously stirred the green-eyed monster inside Zoe)

Another thing: Digby and Zoe's sparked moments – I CANNOT! I actually teared up during the scene: <spoiler> 

“’Just like old times, right, Princeton?’ He climbed onto the tree branch outside my window. ‘But it ain’t old times, is it?’

(…) ‘ You never called, Digby. You just left,’ I said. ‘You never called.’

(…) ‘The phone rings on both ends, Zoe. You never called me either.’”

Aside from THAT brilliant, heart-wrenching dialogue of finally acknowledging what happened, he also called her ZOE which he often only does when things get serious. MY HEART. </spoiler>

Meanwhile all the other charged, sparked, tension-filled, swoony and fluffy scenes made me feel ~feels~ especially the locket and that ending! ZOE YOU DESERVE DIGBY AS MUCH AS HE DESERVES YOU, COME ON! And everyone’s basically shipping them or knows that something is going on (Liza, Fisher, Sloane, Allie, Charlotte, Austin, Val, Cooper, Everyone!) I also just realized how much I love the nickname Princeton when Digby uses it. Lastly, pro-tip gentlemen: lending coat jackets never gets old. 

To end this crazy review, I would like to say that I’m up to 92 tabbed scenes. Yes, I beat the 74 notable scenes in book 1 and yes, I almost bookmarked everything in this. Don’t blame me! Stephanie Tromly definitely knows how to make the audience feel emotions that she wants them to feel whether it is humor or excitement or kilig/swoony or sad feels, she got you people.

“So this is how it’s going to be, Princeton? I get you after hours?” – Digby

“Wow, Princeton is double-booked. How do you like life in the fast lane? (…) Is it everything you thought it would be?” – Digby

"Princeton, make sure he has the decency to work for it when he lies to you.” – Digby

“If you like her so much, why didn’t you do something about it when you had the chance?” – Austin

“We’re millennials, Princeton. We’re all post-traumatic.” – Digby

“Do you think it’s bad I’m disappointed no one’s turned up to murder us?” – Felix

“Forgetting about the bad times… that isn’t happiness. That’s amnesia.” – Digby

“What’s crazy about my knowing who I belong with? (…) Why should I be surprised you don’t understand that? You’re dating Austin and bickering like wifey with Digby. (…) It means you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think this thing with Digby is not a problem.” – Sloane

Guys, I swear. A week later and I still have feels just thinking about them – especially Digby. And yes, I even dream about these beautiful characters sometimes. THIS OBSESSION. I’m also saving up big time to get my own copies of the two books (once the local bookstore has them in stock. Last time I checked, only Trouble#1 was available huhu)

I have no more words left to say. Typing this out literally made me out of breath (or maybe it’s just the caffeine) This is one of the longest reviews I’ve ever wrote and I may or may not have overly hyped it but I can’t help it! If I haven’t convinced you to start on this series now, I don’t know what will but you’re definitely missing on something. I rest my case.

+ I NEED TROUBLE NEVER SLEEPS ASAP! (I’ve read somewhere that it’s the working title and I guess it fits because with Digby around, will trouble ever rest???) STEPHANIE TROMLY I’M STILL WAITING FOR OFFICIAL NEWS PLS. I NEED ANSWERS (and more Digby/Zoe goodness)

Five out of Five rating for Stephanie Tromly's Trouble Makes A Comeback!

5/5 Rating! :)

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