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Review – White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

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Title: White Smoke

Author: Tiffany D. Jackson

Publication Date: September 14, 2021

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins)

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Number of Pages: 373

From Goodreads: 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. 

I received an advanced copy of this book from Harper Collins Canada from an HCC Frenzy event, all thoughts and opinions of this book are my own. I apologize for being super late with this review.

The first thing I want to say about this book is that it was outside of my comfort zone. I usually stay far away from horror and this book falls firmly in the horror category. If you’re fan of horror, I don’t know if you’ll enjoy this book because I’m reviewing it from a non-horror reader standpoint.

This is a haunted house book and I thought it was very creepy. As a non-horror reader, I couldn’t read this book in the dark because I live in an old house and all of the normal old house noises started to creep me out. I don’t like the idea of strange noises, weird smells, and tohings moving on their own.

As far as the characters in this book goes, I have mixed feelings about all of them. I didn’t think any of the characters were particularly likeable, but I think they were designed in a way to make the reader have mixed feelings about them. I did love the relationship between the main character, Marigold, and her younger brother Sammy though.

As far as the plot goes, I enjoyed it, and it kept me on my toes. I thought that the plot regarding the big picture and the city of Cedarville as a whole was a bit predictable. However, as a non-horror reader, I did not see the haunted house storyline playing out the way that it did. Overall, I enjoyed all of the twists and turns in this book. I also liked the open ending of this book and that there’s room for a sequel.

I liked that this book dealt with some heavy topics. It features a blended family, racism, white privilege, trauma, drug use, mental health, and gentrification to name a few things.

I liked that the town of Cedarville was inspired by Detroit. I live in Windsor, which is across the river from Detroit, so I enjoy seeing familiar places on the page.

Another thing that I want to note is that bed bugs and a bed bug phobia are heavily featured in this book. Bed bugs are one of those things that I haven’t given much thought to, but this book definitely made me aware of them and very horrified by their existence.

Overall, I found this book to be very spooky and creepy. It kept me on my toes and I thought it was a great way to start off the spooky reading season.

Rating: 4 Stars!


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