Skip to main content




Sherri L. Smith has written a multitude of novels including: FLYGIRL, ORLEANS, SPARROW, and a few other young adult novels.

Jude is vacationing across the country when she gets the call no one ever wants to get. The voice on the other side of the phone informs her that her best friend, Maggie, was found dead in a swimming pool. Everyone is calling it a suicide, but Jude cannot get the uneasy feeling that they are wrong out of her head. She believes that Maggie was murdered. After flying back to California, Jude begins to uncover the skeletons everyone is hiding to try to figure what really happened.

PASADENA is said to be in the style of a noir film, but I cannot speak to this since I do not believe I have ever watched a noir film. I am able to say that an abundant amount of other readers have said that the novel is true to this claim, though.

"PASADENA keeps the reader guessing as they try to put together the pieces as the characters work them out. This kept me intrigued enough to keep reading..."

PASADENA keeps the reader guessing as they try to put together the pieces as the characters work them out. This kept me intrigued enough to keep reading and I found myself picking up the book in my free time because I wanted to know if I was right about the whole thing. I really enjoyed how Maggie’s friendships were explained. It gave a depth to the characters that would have been lacking without it.

The plot of the novel fell short for me during the last 50 pages of the novel. The ending was rushed and the explanation was not my favorite. I also did not like Jude as the narrator. I just could not get behind her attitude and personality. She tended to look down on people a lot and it turned me off from her as a character. She treated everyone in the novel poorly and pushed them into uncomfortable conversations while everyone was still in grieving. That did not seem like a healthy coping strategy, especially to the other characters, who were trying to grieve normally.

I was also not a fan of how the Jude made it out to seem that characters were worse than they actually were. I felt bad for Joey especially. He was one of the few characters who I enjoyed reading about within the novel. I had so much sympathy for him with everything that happened throughout the novel.

In the end, I had mixed feeling about PASADENA. I definitely did not 100% hate it, but I definitely did not love it. The novel in whole fell short for me with the exception of the author’s writing style. I truly wish I had been able to enjoy the novel more. I realize that while this novel was not my cup of tea, others may really enjoy it. I have read multiple positive reviews of PASADENA and I already have a friend from school borrowing the novel because she took one look at the book and knew it was her kind of book.

I would recommend PASADENA to fans of WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart, ANTISOCIAL by Jillian Blake, and ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen McManus. This book would be a good option for someone who is not into scary mysteries, but wants a mystery that will still shock them.

Reviewed by Anna R., Teen Board Member on September 18, 2017

by Sherri L. Smith