White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

White Smoke

by Tiffany D. Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House meets Get Out in this chilling YA psychological thriller and modern take on the classic haunted house story from New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson!

Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.

The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That's only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there's a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.

But "running from ghosts" is just a metaphor, right?

As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn't limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.

* An Amazon Best Book of the Month * Parade's Best YA Books of the Year * Indigo Best Book of the Year * SLJ Best Book of the Year *

Reviewed by Angie on

3 of 5 stars

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Proceed With Caution:

This book contains anxiety, drug use, discussions of addiction and rehab, violence, blood, and animal injury.

The Basics:

White Smoke is narrated by Marigold, a teenager who is really going through it. She was recently hospitalized and her mother is keeping a close eye on her. They've also just moved into a creepy old house in a mostly abandoned neighborhood where things are not going well. That's actually an understatement. Is Marigold imagining all of the weird happenings, or is her anxiety getting the best of her? Or is she back on drugs like her stepfather believes?

My Thoughts:

I was super excited for White Smoke. Horror isn't my typical genre but I love Tiffany's books, so I was curious what she would have to offer in this genre. I didn't love it, but that's because the story feels incomplete. I did enjoy it though, and the big reveal near the end was something that I am honestly terrified of after reading an article of a similar situation several years ago. I do not think so! Get out of my house!

White Smoke has a lot going on. Too much actually. It seemed like every chapter introduced some new element, and some of them are not wrapped up at the end. In fact, the book just ends suddenly. I expected at least one more chapter, but nope. It's just over in the middle of some high adrenaline action! That's an interesting way to end a book, but some important plot points were simply dropped and abandoned, making it feel rushed and incomplete.

I wanted to know more about this creepy little town. Why do the few remaining citizens hate Mari's family on sight?! What's the deal with that TV preacher?! What's in the seeds?! Where are we?! Why didn't anyone ask why they can't go into their own basement?! Why does Mari act like she's addicted to weed?! Why does a 16 year old girl have a guru?! I had a lot of questions, honestly.

In the end, I did like White Smoke. I read it all in one go, since I needed to know what the heck was going on in Mari's house! I wasn't disappointed by the truth, since like I said, that seriously terrifies me! But I needed more in the end to feel like the story was done.

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Reading updates

  • 22 September, 2021: Started reading
  • 22 September, 2021: Finished reading
  • 3 October, 2021: Reviewed