Trouble Is a Friend of Mine, by Stephanie Tromly (2015)

Trouble Is a Friend of MineHere is the perfect choice for Nancy Drew fans ready to advance to YA literature without giving up their heroine’s adventures. First-time author Tromly draws heavily on the teen detective’s traditions, creating a fast-paced mystery with smart-mouthed teen characters who outwit the bad guys with little adult help, but with a large helping of humour – primarily sarcasm. Narrator Zoe is 16 years old, and new to town with only her mother after her parents’ divorce. She soon meets Digby, quite possibly the most resourceful and irritating classmate on earth, but with an irresistible charm that leads her straight into the first of many escapades. There’s a girl named Bill (though nowhere near as interesting or important as Nancy’s George) and some minor sexual tension between Zoe and Digby that led me to recall my own tween time puzzling over Ned and Nancy’s relationship. Tromly even names the upstate New York town River Heights. The mystery is straight out of the girl detective’s handbook, involving kidnapping, over-the-top bad guy neighbours, drug dealers and bags of money. Tromly provides a contemporary flavour to this traditional genre by adding mean-girl cliques, an alcoholic mother and a philandering dad but this mystery’s heart is solidly Nancy Drew. Overlook the reliance on coincidence and enjoy it for what it is, a teen caper that satisfies the young lightweight mystery fan in what is likely to be the first of many adventures for this duo and their friends.

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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