• Winner of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Book Award for Young Adult

  • A Junior Library Guild Selection

  • VOYA Starred Review

When Jude’s best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident.  Her friends call it suicide.  But Jude calls it what it is:  murder.  And someone has to pay.

Now everyone is a suspect—family and friends alike.  And Jude is digging up the past like bones from a shallow grave.  Anything to get closer to the truth.  But that’s the thing about secrets.  Once they start turning up, nothing is sacred.  And Jude’s got a few skeletons of her own.

In a homage to the great noir stories of Los Angeles,  award-winning author Sherri L. Smith’s Pasadena is a tale of love, damage and salvation set against the back drop of California’s City of Roses.

Bad things happen everywhere.  Even in the land of sun and roses.


“Smith’s Pasadena compares with classic 1940s noir films, such as The Big SleepLaura, and The Maltese Falcon.  The novel captures the pain of mourning and the desperate search for answers which can never satisfy. […]the resolution fits the book and characters like a well chosen black dress worn with the Kim family’s heirloom pearls.”

—VOYA Starred Review

“Beautiful clothes, bad habits, ugly secrets: Sherri L. Smith probes the vulnerable underbellies of a lot of toothy sharks in this page-turning California noir. Pasadena is stylish and still sad, chilling and still hopeful, open-hearted and still mysterious. Smith is an author with astonishing range and she’s a stellar storyteller.”

E. LockhartNew York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars

“Enthralling!  From page one, I was inside the life (and death) of Pasadena.  Smith has created a world that is at once startlingly real and heartbreakingly unreal.  Smith’s novel had me leaning forward in my seat trying to remember to breathe.  In Jude, there is something of all of us– knowing deep truths but hoping for something else, hoping somehow to change a history already set in motion.”

Jacqueline Woodson,  National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming

“A stylish exploration of loss.”

Kirkus Reviews

“The touch of noir adds just enough grit and heat to the narrative, conveying Jude’s emotional and physical environment effectively. This is a moving and well-written exploration of friendship and loss.”


“[A] deeply tragic and darkly humorous tale . . . . Jude—who, through Smith’s keen narrative voice, is a sharp and often biting observer of human nature—tries to reconstruct Maggie’s final days, pulling from her own memories of a friend who knew her like no one else. Turns out, Maggie played that role for several people, yet no one truly knew her, an often heartbreaking paradox of teenage friendship that Smith explores deftly.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Jude leaves no holds barred in her laser-like determination to find the truth, and the secrets that eventually surface, in Smith’s beautifully crafted and suspenseful novel, come as a surprise.”

—The Buffalo News

“What Smith has produced this time, in Pasadena, is a devastatingly honest exploration of loss, grief, trauma, friendship and family – both the kind we are born into and the kind we choose. […]this is both a beautiful and important novel and would recommend it for any collection serving teens in grades 8 and up.

—School Library Journal


Publisher:  G.P. Putnam and Sons
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Genre:  Mystery, Older Young Adult
Hardcover: 240 page
ISBN #9781101996263