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Trouble #1

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine

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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.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published August 4, 2015

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About the author

Stephanie Tromly

4 books444 followers
Stephanie Tromly was born in Manila, grew up in Hong Kong, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and worked as a screenwriter in Los Angeles. She is the author of Trouble Is a Friend of Mine and lives in Winnipeg with her husband and son.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,162 reviews
Profile Image for Lindsey Rey.
286 reviews2,711 followers
November 28, 2015
[4.5 Stars]
Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,603 followers
February 4, 2018
Second read: November 23, 2016
Rating: 4 stars

I'm adjusting my rating because I realized I really really like this book despite its satire tone bordering offensive at some aspects. No book ever made me laugh as much as this series did and Crazy Rich Asians. I'm excited to read the sequel!

Initial read: August 3, 2015
Rating: 3 stars

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine is not for everyone. The opening was slow, there is some concerning offensive content.   In spite of its shortcomings, I still genuinely adore this book.
“Nah it's too late: You care. You're on Planet Digby now. You're already in trouble.”

Zoe meets Digby.

In this YA mystery series, newbie Zoe meets Digby in unlikely circumstances. They quickly developed a strange camaraderie, one that revolves on investigating the case of a missing teenager. Thereafter, adventure, mayhem and tragedy ensue.

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine sounds like a story that could either be an absolute fantastic ride, or merely cliché. In this case, this book straddles the line of barrel of fun and sheer pettiness. One that clearly works out for me


It took me a couple of chapters to warm up with these batch of characters, but in the end they turned up to be fun to read. The characters are well developed, though they could be overwhelming at times. The banter and friendship are without doubt, one of my favorite things about this novel. I hope Tromly would explore this at the sequel. I love the dialogue and the certain snark of this book. I couldn’t help, but to laugh out loud.


The premise promises a fun expedition and Tromly deliver it well with her trademark knack for sarcasm and pop culture reference. It’s entertaining and predictable. It was quite obvious who are the villains from the start. Thankfully that didn’t derail me on ditching this book.

 Things I didn’t liked

Since most of my friends despise it whenever there’s a girl hate trope going on. I’d like to make a note tha Trouble Is a Friend of Mine have plenty of indictment scenes that are quite cringe inducing. It’s not as bad like most books, but it’s still insidious.

* Zoe would lament she hates typical girls
* Super Mean Popular Gal in School Displays Narcissistic Hostile Behavior

This trope needs to die and its not the only way to execute the tension between the girls.

If Digby is a real boy, he deserves to be put on the police blotter. He shows up at most random times, invading Zoe’s personal space. Stalking!

Digby and another prominent main character, Henry occasionally spout sexist commentaries.  I’m glad Zoe is always there to call them out of their bullshit.

Overall, Trouble Is a Friend of Mine is something I would heartily recommend to readers who are looking for a light read that doesn’t take themselves seriously.

Review also posted at Young Adult Hollywood.
Profile Image for Jaylia3.
752 reviews129 followers
February 13, 2017
With snappy dialog, off-beat teen characters, and a whip-smart high-speed plot, this book took me on a wild ride that I didn’t want to end, so the only thing that disappointed me was reading the last page which made me long for a sequel. I’m not sure if one is planned, but some questions are left hanging and the story could definitely continue.

Zoe Webster’s parents have just split up, forcing her to move to a small town with her mother, though she’s always been closer to her type-A father, and leaving her feeling displaced, resentful, and bored. Trying to make inroads into her new high school’s insular social scene has been a disaster, and then neurotic, intrusive, super-smart, utterly idiosyncratic Philip Digby shows up with his crazy ideas and rash schemes and things get even worse.

It’s not that trouble follows Digby, he chases it and for some reason includes Zoe in all his plans. She could refuse--and sometimes she does or tries to--but Zoe’s got nothing else to do, she’s tired of obsessively trying to strategize her future, and besides she’s intrigued. The book opens in the middle of their story with Zoe desperately and inexplicably trying to get inside a house wired with enough explosives to level the block, then jumps to the first day of school and Zoe’s initial aggravating, unsettling encounter with tell-it-like-it-is-to-the-point-of-rudeness Digby.

It turns out there’s some reason in Digby’s mad schemes, but we don’t find out what that is for a while. Digby has a difficult family situation and an unresolved tragedy in his past that drive his actions, which makes it sound like the book might be heavy but it’s almost absurdly funny.

A religious cult, a skeevy gynecologist, high stakes crime, and the jungle politics of high school all figure in the plot. There’s some romance, but it’s far from typical, and a crime is solved, but a mystery is left hanging. Front and center is Zoe’s maddening, enlightening relationship with Digby and their harebrained, rapidly evolving adventures. This is a debut novel--can’t wait for the next book.
Profile Image for Amy.
859 reviews59 followers
April 7, 2015
Like a love child of Veronica Mars and John Hughes, TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE is a madcap mystery, a fresh coming-of-age, and an unlikely friendship story in one! After a divorce and ensuing custody battle finds Zoe reluctantly starting her junior year in upstate New York, oddball and outcast Phillip Digby appears on her doorstep, subsequently dragging Zoe into his search for a missing teenage girl. With fresh, infectious characters and a thrillingly zany plot, TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE is a reading treat from start to finish!
Profile Image for Alexandra Christo.
Author 9 books4,706 followers
May 18, 2018
That was just what I needed. Digby is a shit, but he's also an awesome one. Zoe is also awesome. Their banter is awesome. Idk I just really liked this one and am going to go and order the sequels stat (is it cool to say stat? I'm going for it. STAT. SEQUELS. Huzzah)
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,048 reviews908 followers
October 18, 2017
This book you guys...couldn’t stop laughing. I have never read about such a smart, witty, yet annoying and loveable guy before. I too loved Zoe because she wasn’t the typical main character. Full review TK
Profile Image for ☾.
209 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2022
usually, i rate books in a kind of objective manner. this is not an objective review, because i was having too much fun with how corny this book is to actually focus on whether it was good or not. and when i say corny, this time i mean it as a compliment (in a witty-teen-sitcom-that-has-its-moments way). it has been a longgg time since i’ve actually laughed at a book’s jokes, so i appreciate this book for its service.

recommend: maybe, but only for a no-substance fun read. and i’d treat it as a standalone, cause the other two aren’t that good. again, i think i’m horrendously biased because i had so much fun, but looking back i can see how somebody could totally dislike this book. the characters are so fun and give scooby-doo energy, but the cost of this is that the mc is in fact the most 2D character in literature. i couldn’t tell you a thing about her. howeverrr, i am willing to pay that price for the interactions in this book.
Profile Image for TL .
1,765 reviews35 followers
October 4, 2016
Now this doesn't mean I hated the book or didn't enjoy it in parts... I did for the most part. I loved Digby's wit and Zoe was awesome (Henry, so-so). There were quite a few moments of me laughing out loud in the break room at some of the stuff that was happening/being said.

So the rating? A "been there done that" type of feeling... I kept comparing (without really meaning to)this with Ellie Marney's series. At times I was successful at putting it out of my mind and going on with the story but still...

The "mystery" was okay, but not very compelling for me. It was like looking at a piece of artwork and while you can appreciate the style and skill of the artist, you not really impressed over all.

Not a bad story but nothing new for me *shrugs*
Profile Image for Liz.
250 reviews1,988 followers
October 5, 2015
I thought I reviewed this already! Finished sometime in September.

Main character -- Zoe -- was a bit dry at first, but I grew to love her! Digby was definitely a love-at-first-mention for me. And I'm glad he and Zoe became friends because they -- along with Henry -- have some crazy adventures involving attempting to solve the disappearance of a missing girl. There are a few twists near the end having to do with the missing girl as well as Digby's story. AND we see some great character growth for Zoe.

This book was right up my alley with the humor, a school dance (why do I love dances in fictional setting so much?!), AND family?! and crazy adventures?! YES.
Profile Image for Meg.
209 reviews348 followers
August 11, 2015
You know those books that are maybe not objectively the greatest but are still quite solid and tons of fun so whatever nothing’s perfect? Trouble Is a Friend of Mine is one of those books (for me at least, I’ve seen other reviews calling it both flawless and irredeemably awful so perspective and all of that).

Let’s get the negative out of the way first, shall we? I figured out the mystery within four chapters (something I am often times utter crap at), Zoe, the main character/narrator’s characterization mostly consists of sarcasm, dad issues and is friends with Digby, and Digby, the character the book arguably centers around, is the definition of a manic pixie dream boy with the analytical and social skills of the BBC’s Sherlock.

If any of those things are deal breakers for you, you’re probably not going to like this book.

That said, I liked it, like, a lot. A MPDanything combined with an MC that basically only serves as a viewpoint into said MPDperson’s life is normally enough for me to throw a book across the room in a frustrated rage (looking at you TFiOS), Trouble had enough going for it that I was able to relax and ignore the more critical parts of my brain for a bulk of the reading experience.

I was hugely appreciative of the hilarious supporting ensemble. While none of the characters were all that deep (Zoe is dry and skeptical, Digby is too clever for his own good, Henry is exasperated and a bit of an idiot but sweet, Sloane is Regina George, etc), they work their designated type so well it and have just enough detail thrown in that it comes across as intentional and fun instead of flat and boring. They also play off each other really well and the end result was a climactic action sequence that left me laughing my ass off and desperate for a sequel (seriously, point me to the petition, I want more).

It also helps that there was so much top notch quippy banter with the occasional slapstick moment thrown in for bonus comedy. Digby’s kind of like one of those dolls with the pull string and a voice box and every time you wind him up he spits out cutting observations and witty one-liners. If that’s not your thing, he’s going to get super old, super fast. Fortunately, it is very much my thing so I loved it.

The third thing that made this book really work for me was how it felt dealt with its tropes, specifically either by flipping them around (example: Henry, the Adonis jock girls fall over themselves to hook up with who refuses to have sex with any of them because he wants his first time to be special) or cheerfully calling them out (example: when Zoe’s mom lets her run off into danger bc YA parenting, Zoe, and therefore the narrative, takes a moment to stop and inner-monologue about how YO THAT IS KIND OF SOME SEVERELY CRAPPY PARENTING). To me, it all came across like the book is fully aware that it isn’t perfect but it’s trying and having a lot of fun which is apparently all I need to work with.

As far as the plot goes, Trouble is definitely the fluffy end of the crime and mystery intensity scale. While there is some dark and unexpectedly dramatic stuff, it’s light on consequences and overall seriousness. It’s kind of like Scooby Doo, one dimensionally creepy, evil adults’ plots are foiled by a band of incredibly clever, determined and meddlesome kids. If you watch Scooby Doo and shout things like ‘IT WOULD NEVER GO DOWN LIKE THAT WTF IS THIS’ then again, this book is probably not for you. If you watch like ‘well this is all fun and games so whatever’ then you may want to check this book out.

Basically, if the headline HILARIOUS BAND OF UNLIKELY FRIENDS GET UP TO SHENANIGANS AND SOLVE CRIME intrigues you and you don’t demand a lot of complexity out of your plot, Trouble Is a Friend of Mine is definitely worth bumping up your TBR. It’s short, it’s quick, it’s fun, I liked it, the end.

Review can also be found on Cuddlebuggery.


This book is adorable and hilarious. Very fun, much shenanigans, def recommend.

rtc shortly.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,670 reviews701 followers
March 29, 2015
1.5 stars

I'm not even sure what I just read. I loved the idea of it, the synopsis sounded exactly like my type of book and yet I'm sort of confused about the whole thing.

Zoe and Digby are interesting enough characters. She comes across as a people pleasing pushover and he seems super manic. There were some secondary characters who were mildly entertaining, but it's almost not even worth mentioning them.

For me, the plot was really repetitive and I don't even know what to say about the ending. There were a few fun, snarky parts, but they were few and far between. Honestly, I'm not sure what kept me reading.
Profile Image for Caroline.
581 reviews806 followers
February 3, 2016
HMM I'm gonna say 2.5 ish rather than 2. This story was entertaining and all that but I just didn't enjoy it. I found the characters to be kind of annoying. Digby especially was just rude. Like I have the kind of friends who make fun of each other and all that, but there's a line and he just seemed to cross it. He would point out legitimate insecurities and think nothing of it. Like no man, that makes you a dick.

Some of the dialogue between characters was genuine and funny. I think my main problem with this book is it's lack of plausibility. Digby is a Sherlock Holmes wannabe and somehow uncovers a huge number of things that the apparently incompetent police force have failed to see. There were some genuinely funny moments and the mystery was good but the ending annoyed me because we didn't actually get all the answers I wanted. So I don't know. Just meh.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,377 reviews1,051 followers
July 9, 2015

3.5 stars

The best way to describe this YA novel is cute and quirky. Filled with fun dialogue between a girl who moves to a new town, a new school, and runs into an unusual teen boy who is always up to no good as he's trying to solve the town's crimes. There are other teens, all different personalities - the good guy next door; the stuck up rich girl no one likes; the nerdy, small for his age boy who's a genius; the mom who tries to reclaim her daughter's affections; the distant and controlling dad the main character wants to please; the annoying stepmother; the weird neighbors; the annoying school security guard. Well, we get the drift some of these characters are cliche, but you know what? It works, and it works well.

It's impossible to grow bored long as there's always something going on. These two don't sit still as they find their ways into trouble, get out with funny finesse, only to jump back into the fire all over again. The mystery isn't terribly strong but the book is a mixture of different genres - YA, humor, mystery, crime, a tiny bit of romance (possibly but not really). Overall it's a fun story, not a serious one. There's serious elements, of course, but it's all treated in a fun manner.

Tromly's debut novel is written well - she makes convincing dialogue stream from the character's mouths and there was some humor that was funny enough to make me snicker aloud. Even if the story has some trademark characters, the story is in no way average, and the way it plays out is unique enough to stand out be remembered as something special.

Why the 3 rating? I typically don't enjoy stories so quirky enough to give a higher rating, just a personal thing, but it's a great book for this type of humor genre, the author approaches it enthusiastically and the characters are easy to love.

Received ARC from publisher in exchange for a review
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,417 reviews1,333 followers
January 3, 2016
I wanted to love this book more. I really, truly did. I mean what book touted as a mashup of Veronica Mars, Sherlock Holmes & Ferris Bueller’s Day Off wouldn’t be amazing?

For me… it was this one.

It started out wonderfully, but as the story progressed I just found myself losing interest more and more.

What did I like? I thought that at times, this was actually really funny, and witty. I truly enjoyed most aspects of Zoe & Digby’s friendship and the development of their characters. I would probably say that their scenes together probably saved this book from being a total bust for me.

What didn’t work for me? Ugh, I hate to say this because of what I said up there, but I think Digby kind of creeped me out. I mean, I really enjoyed him as a character, but he seriously has no boundaries and no qualms about invading people’s personal space. This really threw me for a loop because I can typically look past this kind of thing, especially because he and Zoe become friends, but I think I just found myself not all that invested in the story as a whole and that just added to my ‘meh’ feelings about this.

Additionally, some of the story itself really didn’t work for me. Zoe & Digby are investigating a missing teen and this leads to a few different ‘situations’ along the way… I felt like even though they were each separate, we were experiencing the same thing repeatedly… encounter bad guy, get into trouble, get out of trouble… repeat.

All that said above, I definitely urge you to give this a try. I’m somewhat in the minority on my feelings as you’ll find quite a few higher ratings out there. Fans of witty dialogue, a fast-paced story, and characters who are a little bit out of the ordinary should definitely check this one out.
Profile Image for Maddie.
557 reviews1,136 followers
November 24, 2016
Review originally posted on Heart Full of Books!

I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while, and that’s mostly because the Goodreads reviews shout that there needs to be a sequel. This can only mean there’s one heck of a cliffhanger, and I wasn’t ready to be unsatisfied…until I found out there’s a sequel, coming out in the week!

So, I was ready to dive into Trouble is a Friend of Mine, safe in the knowledge I could jump right over to the second book straight after. No guesses what I’m reading now.

Advertised as a mix between Sherlock and Veronica Mars, I was on board from the word GO, so let’s talk about this mad, hilarious story and why the sequel is a must.


In River Heights, the same town in which Nancy Drew can be found, a new mystery solver has joined the scene: Philip Digby. Told from the perspective of the new girl, Zoe Webster, Trouble is a Friend of Mine is all about getting dragged further and further down the rabbit hole of a drug ring, a missing girl and a potentially dead sister. Dun, dun, dun.

Seriously, there are so many layers to this mystery, I started to wonder how everything was going to come together by the end. Of course, one thread is left trailing for the next book, but I absolutely loved the progression of shenanigans. Just when you think Digby, Zoe and Henry, the cute popular guy, are safe, they’re falling from ceiling vents and being shot at by drug dealers.

It’s definitely a story that keeps you on your toes, and the dialogue had me snorting at some points too, so that’s always a bonus. It was a type of style I haven’t read in a while, and I liked getting to enjoy dialogue, rather than just breezing through it.


Zoe, our protagonist, was new and she had a lot to adjust to. Digby, who’s not unlike stalker-y Toby from my beloved Geek Girl, knows all about what she eats when she’s alone in the house and has seen the inside of her diary without her realising. He’s also signed her up for a class project with him that they never seem to acting do anything for. While I thought Zoe’s analysis of high school society was cliche, and some of her worries felt forced to make her seem more #relatable, there’s a lot to like about this girl that will go along with anything, even if it means she’ll get her chin cut open.

Digby was by far the stand out character, so quirky and mysterious. I was really worried about him falling into a nerdy-boy box but there’s also something ruggedly handsome about him, so he seems like the best of both worlds, enough for everyone to be interested in him, but not interested enough to get to know him.

The friendship between the two is cool in the sense that there’s no definite line between them being just friends and them being something more than that. Zoe likes Henry but gets jealous at the prospect of Digby going to a school dance with someone else. I’m really intrigued by how that dynamic of their relationship will progress in the sequel.


When you read this book, you can definitely expect a lot of trouble, mischief and hilarity as the situation gets progressively harder to get out of. The mystery that was the most intriguing was the one surrounding Digby and his past, which I don’t think will truly be resolved for a while, but that tantalising desire to know more is going to nibble at me until I find out. Overall, I think you’ll love this book if you’re looking for the fun, adventurous side of Sara Shepard novels, and so I’m giving Trouble is a Friend of Mine 3.5 stars, with room for the sequel to shock me!
Profile Image for Lina.
869 reviews17 followers
November 23, 2021
Have you ever tried to supress laughter because someone is sleeping ? It's painful ! You start to make weird noises and your eyes tear up. Your cheeks hurt from your smile and you just have to let it go and laugh. This is the book that makes you feel like that.

I can honestly say that I don't remember laughing harder with any other book. Trouble is a friend of mine was incredible. It has an incredible cast and the dialogue is swoon worthy in a really smart way. I can't say much, except that I was amazed.

If you want a super cute romance this isn't the book, but if you want adventure and a light book with characters who somehow get out of problematic situations, this is it. What is more to say? This had me laughing so hard and I loved it.

Re-read November 2022

4 stars. I love when a book makes me laugh.
Profile Image for Lisa (lifeinlit).
695 reviews461 followers
December 18, 2015
2.5 stars

“Sherlock meets Veronica Mars meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is EXACTLY on point with how I would define this book. I think people will flock to this book and totally love it! I think it will be a big hit! Sadly, for me that didn’t happen. I finished reading this book, put it down… and just kind of stared at the wall. What had I just read?

Zoe’s parents are recently divorced, causing her to relocate to a new school. Her father is urging her to go to a new preppy school, and she tends to agree with whatever her father suggests. Digby shows up at her house one day asking some pretty strange questions, which is how these two meet and eventually become friends. Digby is pretty quirky and comes up with a plan, with the help of Zoe, to find a teenager that recently went missing. This starts their adventure, which is filled with all kinds of drama, sticky situations, and even a bit of criminal activity.

What I liked: It was pretty darn funny at parts. Digby is totally hilarious and it’s impossible not to laugh at some of his dialog. What I didn’t like: The parts that weren’t funny were just… boring. Like it was a movie that you play in the background while cleaning the house because it’s better than silence, but that you’re not really fully invested in and kind of not paying attention to in its entirety. (Does that make sense?)

A totally random thing that irked the bejeezus out of me… the constant use of “he said” and “she said”. I know, pretty nitpicky for me to even bring this up, right? But when I’m listening to an audiobook and every sentence ends with “he said” and “she said” constantly, it really gets annoying for me. It got to the point that I was only hearing those phrases and it was grating on my last nerve. I suppose this was done as a way to speed the dialog up a bit, which was successful since the dialog was extremely speedy. But I just have this pet peeve when so many sentences in a row end with these phrases. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. *shudders*

I truly believe others will enjoy this more than I did. And there’s proof over at Goodreads since it has received a few 4 and 5-star reviews already. I’m just not one of the few that really enjoyed it. I’m so sad about this because from the synopsis I was sure I was really going to love it. It just wasn’t a book that I really felt impacted me in any way, and I really didn’t care much about it while reading. Like I mentioned earlier, it was just kind of playing in the background and I didn’t feel as though I was invested in the story at all. (This is most likely a case of “it’s not you, it’s me,” so don’t let my review sway you away from reading this book. Check out the other reviews on GR before making your decision.)

Audiobook Impressions:
This is the first narration I’ve listened to by Kathleen McInerney. And while I wasn’t blown away, I also don’t have any issues with it. She did a consistently good job, performing each character and making it unique enough to always know who was speaking. No complaints here.

(Thanks to Listening Library & Kathy Dawson Books for the review copy!)

Find this review and others like it at Lost in Literature!


Profile Image for Kadi P.
740 reviews92 followers
July 4, 2022
Perhaps one of the best books I’ve ever read. There was everything to love and not a single thing to hate. It deserves its coveted spot on my all time faves shelf!

The humour was quirky and fantastic — I laughed a lot. The characters were solidly written. Digby was strange but I like that he wasn’t aloof and he wasn’t socially awkward. He was actually very charming and forthright. He also wasn’t devoid of emotions or unable to express himself emotionally. He talked about a lot of things that characterised him firmly as someone with trauma but who wasn’t defined by their trauma.

The protagonist Zoe had such wonderful yet subtle personal growth throughout the book and so did other secondary characters that featured more than I expected them too. Some might read this book and look at Zoe as having been constantly whiny, but I think she provided a necessary balance of realisticness against Digby’s reckless gung-ho attitude whilst still being open to slowly changing her perception on everything, particularly her self-worth.

The character dynamics were also very well-crafted. I liked that the romance wasn’t extremely forced but some tensions were ever-present (which was to be expected; it was YA, after all). I particularly liked the trio friendship between Zoe, Digby and Henry. It didn’t feel forced or awkward as if one of them was the third wheel too, it felt completely natural and I loved seeing them interact.

The narrative voice was perfect and really helped mesh the humour with the craziness of the antics. And the antics were completely crazy. I loved how it felt like a meeting that spiralled out of control and swept us along on this crazy, unbelievable ride.

The mystery itself was more like two mysteries that ran side by side. One of the mysteries was quite weak, I managed to guess aspects of it from the beginning. I like to think that that didn’t really matter though because this book is both about the adventure of the discovery as well as solving the mystery, and also there were aspects I didn’t guess and were surprised when their revelation came about. It was awesome that one of the mysteries was left unsolved by the end of the book. That made me really look forward to reading the next book! That, and I can’t wait to read more interactions between Zoe and Digby after that parting gift...

(Recommended by Lynn)
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
581 reviews820 followers
June 4, 2019

this was SO much fun and I didn't realize I needed a comedy right now, but I really did. I legitimately laughed out loud on a couple of occasions (my mom was there and she was so curious as to why I was laughing)

it's definitely a good read for younger teen audiences too (or even middle school), although some of the jokes did feel very 2015 (when this was published) and gave off subtle not-like-other-girl vibes (but that's definitely not the worst thing I've seen committed in 2015 YA lit)

overall, I really loved this one! the need is great for book 2
Profile Image for Nazeefa.
238 reviews52 followers
February 7, 2017
WHAT EVEN. I was not expecting what I read.
I absolutely loved this!
I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Stephanie Tromly is a genius at witty, smart humour and this was the most perfect old-fashioned mystery/crime solving YA that I never knew I needed.
There was tropes that could have been dealt with better and the language was ableist at a few instances. So I hope Stephanie Tromly changed that in the sequel.
But overall, I adored this. Zoe and Digby are my new kids, I love them. (Digby reminds me of Dirk Gently which explains my fondness). Zoe is easy to love and relate to.
I'd read multiple books just for this duo and Tromly's writing.
Profile Image for Claire.
798 reviews92 followers
February 25, 2018
I want to give this book 5 stars, but alas, I can't. It's not plausible. In fact, it's unbelievable! Also, one of the main characters named Digby, reminds me of a manic pixie dream boy with a little bit of Sherlock. It's plain (as vanilla) obvious that he's only around when things are fun. He also notices things that other people wouldn't normally notice. My other issue with Digby is that he's got problems (like the normal Sherlock in the show) and other issues too... You know, I love my personal space. I honestly don't know what Digby's personal space is like. For starters, he reads Zoe's (the other main character) diary.
“Wait. That was in my diary. You read my diary?’
‘I didn’t read it… much. I skimmed it. You know, you’re way ahead of the game. Most people don’t have their identity crisis until their forties. You’re wrong, by the way,’ he said, and he quoted: 'Medium-length brown hair, brown eyes, medium height. All I see in the mirror is a medium brown blur.'
I lunged at him.
‘You don’t really think that, do you, Princeton? Because that makes me want to cry. And also … Henry gets “hero handsome” and all I get is “Jehovah’s Witness?”

Then, he stalks her. Finally, for some weird reason, I don't know he's able to get in her room at night. He also kinda reminds me of Margot from Paper Towns. Additionally, he has ways of doing things. How do I explain this without spoiling the book? He's too smart. Too smart for his age and it's ridiculous. There, I said it.

Besides that, at least Digby is hilarious. If it weren't for his sarcasm and deprecating humor, I wouldn't be able to enjoy this book. You see, our other mc has no personality. This is literally PLANET DIGBY. Everybody else are just side characters and were seeing things in the eyes of our plain mary jane. I wish she had something going on for her, but sadly, she lives in the shadow of her father. That's the only thing I can infer from her personality. I guess you can also call her mean and judgmental. She seems to hate every girl she comes across, or another girl bites her at the back (figuratively speaking). Seriously, this book lacks female friendships!
“I’m always shocked when rich girls aren’t pretty. How could you be unattractive if you had all the nicest clothes and makeup? It didn’t compute. But I guess there really were some things money can’t buy. Ursula was a hatchet-face. Even wearing a straw hat and a gingham bikini, she looked like she’d just murdered someone and was calculating how to dispose of the corpse.”

Digby had a lot to say about Zoe but I'd rather let you guys read the book for yourself. The other characters in this book are the usual YA trope types. You have the hot jock, the mean girl, the nerd, etc. Great thing is that it doesn't take the fun away from the book. Needless to say, this wasn't what I was expecting. I really enjoyed this.

Just to add to my predictability, of course I ship Digby and Zoe!
“By the way, Princeton, I’d describe you as a classic wide-eyed American girl next door with a nice-to-meet-you vibe who’s hiding behind a disappointed divorce-kid downer persona,
And looks-wise, I’d say a young Anne Hathaway.’

Digby stepped out onto the tree. But, just in case that left me feeling too good about myself, he ducked back in for an encore.

‘Except horsier. Seriously, Princeton, wear your retainer.”
Profile Image for Jen.
371 reviews56 followers
April 1, 2018

Easy to read and fun.

Though filled with mysteries to uncover, adolescence and events both structured and random.... there as something missing with this book that won't quite allow me to give it a full 3stars, and I think it has to do with the main characters; Zoe. Her personality was all over the place and considering the book is told from her point of view she took a back seat to Digby - who is also a main character.

Described as "Sherlock meets Veronica Mars meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" - I'd throw that Veronica Mars reference right out the window and replace it with Dirk Gently.

It was a little all over the place for an amateur detective novel, especially as I felt I couldn't even begin to piece together the trails that were being followed/clues that were picked - which is the opposite of what a reader wants, as it doesn't give us the opportunity to guess for ourselves what's going on.

I did however enjoy myself reading this book and will pick up the second book when I feel in the mood for something easy or need something to get me out of a slump.
Profile Image for Andi.
1,127 reviews
September 16, 2017
I saw this recommended for people who like Veronica Mars. It seemed interesting. The reviews seemed promising.

While I enjoyed the mystery, the character Digby drove me up a fucking wall and I really can't see them chemistry between him and Zoe. I feel that's the way it's going, since that ending happened (and my book had bits and pieces for the next installment..).

I loved the story. I love how mad-cap, zainy, hilarious and dark everything was at times. But honest to god, the romance/relationship between Zoe and Digby was just a non existent factor to me. What does he look like? Does he have some kind of personality disorder? Does he try to actually be nice when it comes to Zoe and his feelings for her (besides from the very vague and distant hints).

They're perfect for one another, because she ain't a bush of roses either. I just thought that he'd grow up a bit and actually act a bit more mature.

I liked the supporting characters - Felix, Sloane and Henry. They finish out this strange rag-tag group in a good way, so I'm glad they're returning for book two.

Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,211 reviews1,649 followers
July 14, 2019
4.5 stars

Since Meg sent me a copy of Trouble Is a Friend of Mine with her recommendation, it should come as no surprise whatsoever that I enjoyed the shit out of this book. I devoured it like a bag of chips, though thankfully this doesn’t go directly to my thighs and stomach. Tromly’s debut impressed me so much in fact that I will definitely to read every single book she ever writes. Trouble Is a Friend of Mine is one of the banteriest books ever, deliciously funny, silly, and shippy.

Zoe Webster moves to River Heights following her parents’ divorce, and she’s not thrilled across the board. Leaving New York City for suburban boredom doesn’t excite her. Nor does the prospect of starting a public school and trying to make new friends, something at which she does not particularly excel. She’s also not looking forward to living with her oblivious mother, who allowed Zoe’s dad to cheat flagrantly for a very long time before finally kicking him out. Zoe’s dad’s a douchebag, but at least he’s honest with himself. (Note: these are Zoe’s opinions, not mine.)

Immediately upon moving in, she meets a strange character. Digby comes into her life, like, well, a wrecking ball. Digby’s the bastard love child of Sherlock Holmes and Ferris Bueller. Fiercely independent, surrounded by chaos, and hugely clever, Digby’s on a mission to solve a number of cases, including a missing person’s case and what the fuck is up with the cult in the mansion next door to Zoe’s house.

Initially, Zoe really doesn’t want anything to do with Digby, who annoys her. However, she doesn’t really know anyone else and she has nothing better to do, so she finds herself increasingly drawn into his schemes, doing things she never would have imagined she would do…like breaking and entering. I’ve heard comps to Veronica Mars, but actually one of the things I love so much about this book is that I really don’t think this comp works. She may be Digby’s Watson of sorts, but Zoe’s hilariously bad at crime.

See, for all that the subject matter deals with some intense subjects, this book is 100% banter and silliness. It’s a farce, a slapstick comedy. There’s actually not that much straight up hilarious humor in YA, so Trouble Is A Friend of Mine was a breath of fresh air. I laughed out loud several times reading this one.

For the most part, Trouble Is the Friend of Mine doesn’t delve to deep into character back stories. However, among the hijinks and shenanigans, Tromly does throw in some development. Digby’s working through a whole host of issues, choosing to laugh in the face of danger as he tries to come up with an identity of his choosing rather than the one forced on him by circumstances. Zoe has a predictable but satisfying arc with her father, and a scene-stealing arc with her mother. I love how her mother seems like the typical bad YA parent, but she turns out to just be trying out various parenting strategies. Her mom’s awesome, and their relationship is a highlight.

For a bit, I did even consider rating Trouble Is a Friend of Mine five stars, because I think Tromly really hits humorous mystery on the head. There was one element that didn’t ring quite right, however. That’s Zoe’s relationship with Bill (aka Isabel, who chooses to go by Bill to not be associated with Bella Swan). The two become friends ostensibly, but there are really only two very brief scenes where they interact that way, though supposedly they’ve spent time together off-page. Bill uses this time to hook herself up with Digby upon whom she has a massive crush. The fact that Zoe’s one female friend was using her to get to a boy is pretty ick, and I hope further development is put into this in the next book. I do appreciate that Sloane proves more than just a mean girl, however.

If you’re looking for something funny and bantertastic to combat the shitness of the world, look no further than Trouble Is a Friend of Mine.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews714 followers
December 14, 2015
***This review has also been posted on Xpresso Reads

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!

Note that I received a finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews63 followers
July 1, 2015
TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE is an incredibly fitting title. When Zoe Webster's parents divorce and she moves to a new town and school, her first new friend is the enigmatic Digby. Digby gets her into all sorts of trouble, including the sort that convinces her to run back into an exploding building (and that ends up on her permanent record).

TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE is a very over-the-top book. The personalities are large, the plot is fast paced, and the interweaving tales of sordid crime are told as a slapstick comedy. It was perfect reading for waiting to get on a plane. It was quick and funny and didn't take itself seriously, but the subject matter still got under my skin.

It helped that I really liked the characters. Zoe is struggling to define who she is, especially now that she's living farther from her overbearing father and starting to realize that her spacey mother maybe isn't so oblivious. (Hint to most teenagers: your parents probably are less oblivious than you think.) Digby is the sort of person who only exists in books, but he works here. I like how as the truth is uncovered, more and more of his actions make sense. I also liked his former/current best friend Henry, who gets wrapped up into helping them and getting into trouble with them. He makes for a nice contrast with Digby as the second male lead. I thought the supporting cast worked well too, including the mean girl who goes along for the ride during the climax.

Zoe and Digby's search for a missing girl throws them into the path of a pervert, local (and not-so-local) drug dealers, rogue cops, a cult, and a flat-out bully. It also livens up their night at the school dance quite a bit. Pretty much all the trouble the teens get into is preposterous, but the characterization and neat plotting keep TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE clicking along.

I hope that Stephanie Tromly plans to write more of these three characters, although she does leave them in a good place. Even if she doesn't, I'm sure her next book will also be a riot.
Profile Image for Stefani Sloma.
392 reviews117 followers
August 27, 2015
Trouble is a Friend of Mine is ridiculous. The characters, the plot, the mystery? All ridiculous. The funny thing is that some of that ridiculousness really worked for me – especially when it came to the characters. But that also means that some of it didn’t work. Let’s break it down into strengths and weaknesses.


– The book is hilarious. I had A LOT of laugh out loud moments at the dialogue or characters.
– It’s well-written, easy to read, and fast-paced, which made it super enjoyable for me.
– The characters. Yes, they’re over the top, particularly in the case of Digby, but they’re fun and silly and strange and quirky, and I dug that.
– I got really involved in the mystery. It was pretty obvious who the good guys and bad guys were, but I was still interested to see how it would all wrap up.
– Digby reads a lot like a Benedict-Cumberbatch-Sherlock, which I loved.


– The plot is rather convoluted and the ending doesn’t really do the best job of wrapping it all up.
– The book is pretty over the top in certain parts and rather unbelievable. I had trouble suspending my disbelief in parts. A lot of it seemed a little too easy.
– Occasionally, the book felt like it was trying a bit too hard to be “quirky.”
– Digby is a stalker. He shows up in Zoe’s room in the middle of the night. He’s got A LOT of issues and everyone just kind of says, “Oh, that’s just Digby.” But some of it is seriously messed up. Overall, I liked his character and his over-the-topness, but it irked me some.

The bottom line: Overall, I had a lot of fun reading Trouble is a Friend of Mine. Yes, it’s ridiculous, and yes, it’s a little over the top. But it’s also HILAROUS and strange and silly and really fun to read.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Penguin Young Readers for letting me read this!
Profile Image for Eri.
595 reviews175 followers
July 6, 2017
This book could be quite questionable at times, but was still oddly compelling and I confess that I rather adored major aspects of this book.

This is my second attempt at reading this, and surprisingly, after the hurdle of warming up to these characters, I am in love with them. Digby and Zoe are an oddly enthralling pair, and while I did not condone some of their actions, it was a zippy ride and I am glad that I gave this book a second chance.

I'm rather disappointed that there was a need for the typical girl-girl hate trope though and the stereotypes that were a little too brash for me to like.

mini-review to come.
Profile Image for Jentry.
308 reviews
December 16, 2018
I enjoyed this book so much! I read part of it while traveling, and there were many moments in public places where I actually laughed out loud, which is rare for me.

Content warning: Lots of teenage boy humor... which I mostly found funny, but would make me hesitate recommending it to most of my goodreads friends. Also, cursing.
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