This book was another Hot Key books bloggers list book – and an unexpectedly brilliant one. A modern-day missing girl mystery, it was peppered with dialogue which ranged from unexpectedly witty to ridiculously hilarious, and starred an eclectic cast of caricatures of teenagers in a backwater American town which combined to create a book which had me almost crying with laughter and trying to hide it on the tube.
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.
This book might be told by Zoe, but the star of the show is most definitely Digby – the trouble referred to in the title. A lot of the reviews of this book that I’ve read have criticised Digby as being a caricature – he has a ridiculous array of skills, no parental oversight, little to no knowledge of human interaction, a keen eye for detail, and a seemingly sociopathic willingness to manipulate anyone, combined with a stalker-like attitude to Zoe and her personal space.
And yes, okay, most of these criticisms are valid, and Digby isn’t exactly your average teenager. But this book isn’t supposed to be taken as a super serious loook at what teenage life is like in America – after all, the prologue paints Zoe as trying get to *into* a house full of explosive. I don’t know about al teenagers, but that’s certainly not a scenario I ever encountered. Digby is a large part of the appeal of this book, because his zany characteristics and reckless endangerment of everyone around him – combined with his seeming ability to get out of any situation relatively unscathed – are what fuel the book.
Enjoying this book requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, and just going with the flow – much like Zoe herself in the course of the story. And once you get past that, it’s really a very enjoyable ride. Verging on the ridiculous, and skirting around almost parodic, this book is filled with laugh-out -loud moments which kept me entertained for three commutes to and from college, while also muffling the frequent laughs.
This isn’t a ground-breaking treatise on the nature of teenage friendships. But it is really, really enjoyable, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a laugh. A little suspension of disbelief will go a long way as you enjoy the witty, self-deprecating, often on-point and razor-sharp observations of Zoe.
According to her twitter, Stephanie Tromly is currently working on a sequel as well, so double trouble!