Pasadena

by Sherri L. Smith

When her best friend Maggie’s death is ruled suicide, Jude needs a better explanation... read more

When her best friend Maggie’s death is ruled suicide, Jude needs a better explanation for such a huge loss. Beautiful Maggie, living in an L.A. mansion and fascinated by old Hollywood, had just gotten early acceptance into Brown. Jude tries to find out about her friend’s final hours, certain something sinister happened. Chinese American Maggie was the center of a diverse, otherwise disparate group of young adults who, Jude realizes, don’t have much in common without her. Jude likes Joey, her not-quite boyfriend (Jude has trust issues, the origins of which are gradually revealed), and laid-back surfers Hank and Effie, but not the others. She decides to investigate what everyone was doing the night Maggie died. The style is crisp and tight in this noir-inspired work, full of sharp, vivid descriptions, skillfully drawn characters, and a subtle sense of foreboding. The wonderfully realized L.A. setting juxtaposes magical light and grittiness; struggle with excess, material and otherwise. Maggie and Jude’s lives were opposites, too, and yet they clicked. Jude’s search stirs up memories (Maggie is the only friend she told about being raped when younger) and brings the complications and imperfections of being human into relief. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2017

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