Review #213

Title- White Smoke

Author- Tiffany D Jackson

Series- standalone

Rating– 3.9/5

Genre- YA contemporary

Cover– representative

POV– first person, present tense, one POV


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.

First chapter- we’re set up in an eerie house on a bad neighborhood where things don’t seem particularly safe or pleasant. I have a suspicion that odd things will be happening soon

Best part- the creepy vibe was well done

What I would change- something happening sooner to answer questions

Dialogue- realistic

Inclusivity- the main character and most secondary characters are Black

Ethics/morals- murder

Pacing- medium

“Do you realize books are just trees with words.”

Thoughts while reading-

Chapter 2- Buddy the pet dog is my favorite character. But really, the author does a great job of showing Merigold’s anxiety with cleanliness and bed bugs. She seems pretty reserved and OCD. and then the other family members are so realistic with their little quirks that make them stand out. Sammy has allergies and Piper is always eavesdropping. And there’s already new interesting questions. Who moved her phone? What will happen with this newcomer guy? Why don’t they have cell service? Why are the construction workers wary?

Chapter 3- it’s hard for me to personally relate to this YA character who smokes weed since I’ve never smoked anything 

Chapter 4- so their house is haunted and a ghost is stealing their stuff and playing harmless pranks?

Page 100- things have been a bit repetitive and I’m hoping for the plot to escalate

Chapter 12- this story is feeling more of a true YA story instead of a teen character that can also be read by adults. YA seems to be split in half that way and this one isn’t carrying over for me.

Halfway – we finally learn about the fires and riots of the past but it feels a bit cliche to have Halloween involved

Page 247- having their little sister be the antagonist is interesting because of her young age

Page 279- sometimes the scene breaks feel really abrupt like the scene didn’t actually end and the next sentence they’re somewhere else completely with different characters

Page 368- that climatic scene was written really well with awesome sound effects and fast paced suspense

Ending – things weren’t fully resolved so I didn’t finish feeling satisfied. The prophet and scripture verses were yucky but I understand the impact the author was trying to do. 

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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