Saturday, August 8, 2015

Summer Reading 2015 Trouble is a Friend of Mine


You know those buddy movies where one friend is always getting the other into crazy situations? Sure you do. The more adventuresome member of the group lays out a plan that seems so logical, because they say it in such a calm and rational way. So the other(s) agree, even though they know better from past experience. And then, once their brains begin to work again and they notice all the inconsistencies and gaps in the plan, they are suddenly saying, "Wait! No. What?" as they stumble into another impossible situation.

That's what it is like to be on "Planet Digby," as his friend Henry calls it. Philip Digby is a bit of a celebrity in River Heights because his little sister was abducted from their home 8 years ago and never found. When he decides to enlist new girl Zoe Webster in helping him look into the disappearance of a high school girl, it becomes a series of dangerous and complicated events that seem to come faster and faster. Along with the help of Digby's longtime friend Henry and the school's resident genius, Felix,they investigate such odd places as a gynecologist's office, the storage shed at the football field, a convenience mart near the interstate, and a sleazy hotel in a bad part of town.

What makes the story so captivating are all the undercurrents running through each of the characters. Digby still wants answers about what happened to his sister. Zoe is angry at both her parents over their divorce. Her father is pushing her to attend a private school and come live with him and her stepmother. Her mother is finally dating someone, but hasn't told Zoe yet. Henry once dated the missing girl and worries about what happened to her. It's such a mix of normal teenage angst and more life-altering trauma, all swirled together with the manic pace of Digby's sleuthing efforts.

If you like realistic fiction, but you don't mind if the action is a bit like a mashup of episodes from "Sherlock", "Weeds", and "21 Jump Street" (without the badges), then this will feel just right. It's quirky, charming, occasionally nail-biting, and you will be sad when it ends and want the characters to hurry up and get into more "shenanigans" (as Digby calls them), right away.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. (Recommended for readers ages 12 and up by the publisher.)

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