Parents' Guide to


By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Edgy noir with violent sex, drugs best for mature teens.

Pasadena Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

An effective page-turner, this noir novel exposes the weaknesses of a community where teens are left to run wild. A teenage wasteland is a good setting for foul play in Pasadena, and the protagonist, Jude, is jaded enough to make a decent noir antihero. It's a seductive world of jaunts to Malibu in a camper van with pot-smoking teen lovebirds, or an alcohol-soaked party at someone's hippie dad's house. It's a place where an iced coffee and a cigarette makes for breakfast -- and where roofies and negligees are the stuff of nightmares.

Though Sherri L. Smith's writing can be overly descriptive at times ("well-tended Victorian houses staunchly ignore the shower as tourists run by in flip-flops and canopied bicycle surreys"), she does nail the atmosphere and teen social scene of L.A.'s suburbs. An enjoyable read for fans of noir or for sophisticated urban teens who are not surprised by what their peers in big cities are getting up to.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate