My agent, the esteemed Abigail Samoun, decribed my recently completed manuscript as teen noir. What does that mean?
Here's the short explanation: Imagine the shadowy, violent, atmospheric style of classic books or movies from the 1930s and 1940s, such as The Big Sleep or The Postman Always Rings Twice. Then imagine updating that style into modern day and making the protagonist a teenager. That's about it.
But if you want a more sensory explanation, just watch Brick. This great 2005 indie movie, written and directed by Rian Johnson and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is the best example I can think of.
Levitt finds the dead body of his ex-girlfriend. He sets out to find the killer and navigates his way through the violent underworld of a crime-ridden high school.
The movie grossed about $4 million. Not a lot. But it made back ten times its cost. Not bad. It's become a cult favorite along the way. Check it out.
Or, if you prefer to read, here's a good review.
By the way, others have described the TV series Veronica Mars as teen noir as well, but VM is about as noirish as a Clinique counter at Nordstrom.