“We’d gone to California to be new people, to have a fresh start. But bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses.”
When Jude is trying to spend the summer visiting with her father, away from her mother and her mother’s lecherous boyfriend, she gets a phone call that will not only change the rest of her summer, but the rest of her life. The phone call comes from her friend Josh, who wants to tell her that he found their best friend Maggie dead in her family’s swimming pool.
“Maggie always was a fucking train wreck. Leave it to her to end up facedown in a swimming pool on the hottest day of summer.”
So Jude heads home to deal with Maggie’s death, which is of course, difficult for her and everyone involved – especially when Jude starts to realize that things just don’t add up, and maybe Maggie didn’t commit suicide like everyone around her thought – maybe she was murdered.
While everyone else (Maggie’s parents and other friends included) seem to think that Maggie was just unhappy and killed herself, Jude tries to convince Josh that she didn’t. Jude just doesn’t believe that her best friend would ever do something so horrible like end her life – because that just wasn’t her style. While Josh and Maggie work to put clues together to discover what could have happened to their friend, Jude also has to work through her feelings for Josh, and try to figure out if she wants to be with him or not.
Jude has to uncover this whole other life that Maggie had – other friends, guys that she was sleeping with – and it felt to Jude like maybe she didn’t know this girl as well as she thought she did.
“The thing I’m finally learning is that someone can be your best friend in the world, but you’re not necessarily theirs.”
Taking place over a miserable summer in California, Pasadena is a story about a girl who is determined to find out what really happened to her best friend, while dealing with the grief and questions that she left behind.
I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but I have to admit that I’m drawn into those that focus on the upper class – like Maggie and some of her friends. The glamor, beauty, and allure of their lives is just fascinating to me, and when I heard about this book, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up.
Pasadena was an interesting read, albeit a bit slow in terms of pacing, at least for my taste. The book was on the shorter side, which helped to keep attention, and I did finish this pretty quick. While I didn’t find the book boring (quite the opposite, actually – the mystery aspect kept me guessing throughout the whole time that I was reading it), some of the characters weren’t as well-defined and exciting as I had hoped they would be. I think Maggie was definitely my favorite, and getting to witness her personality through the flashbacks scattered throughout the novel was a nice bonus.
I was a little surprised by the ending, for what was supposed to be the “big reveal.” I guess I definitely didn’t see that coming. Although I honestly thought that it was going to play out a lot differently than it did, it did make sense, and it really gave me the chills, to say the least.
I don’t want to say too much about this book, because half of the fun of reading it was picking up little clues along the way and reading through the flashbacks to try and put the pieces together as you read and form an idea of what could have happened to Maggie. It was interesting to see how things played out.
I do wish there would have been more fanfare about Jude and Josh, though…it just seemed like that part of the book was a little bit vague. While it wasn’t a big deal and isn’t going to ruin the story, I’m the kind of reader who likes to get closure while reading.
If you like mystery, give this one a go. It deals with a lot of dark subject matter, as you’ve noticed, but it does have an awesome mystery element to it that will keep you guessing!