Sep 21, 2021

Review--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.


Tiffany D. Jackson writes, White Smoke, a horror story sure to fill you with terror and dread, and the burning need to never ever move into a house people are terrified to even enter!  This was a book that had me chilled from the very beginning, eagerly turning the pages and jumping at every sound both heard and imagined. This is a read to keep you reading long into the dark, quiet night.

Marigold and her new blended family have moved into a quaint little house, after that everything that happened in her old hometown in California, a change was needed. But Marigold and her family aren’t what you would call the happy little Brady Bunch type. In fact, Mari can barely stand her new stepsister, Piper who’s ten and very whiny and almost diabolical.

Mari wants nothing more than a quiet, simple life and to maybe get high. Yes, Mari is a past addict of sorts. She’s not a total druggie, but I was a little put off by her desire to find her next fix. She’s so desperate she tries to grow her own pot, as past experience tells her, you can’t trust any dealer to give you the right stuff. Her past issues do come about and explained eventually, but for the longest time I was trying to figure out how to connect with this heroine who literally wanted nothing more than her next high.

Thankfully, there are other things to keep Mari occupied, such as the weirdness that is her new house. Strange smells, items going missing, random items that she and her family don’t own that are suddenly turning up, seeing shadows out of the corner of her eye, doors randomly opening and closing, and even more creepy a locked basement door (and yes, its door was one of the ones randomly opening and closing). If that wasn’t enough, Mari’s stepsister, Piper claims to have a new best friend who doesn’t like Mari living in HER house.

What was truly terrifying at the start of this book was Piper. You know those movies with the evil child who always smiles when an adult’s back is turned…you know that evil, conniving kind of smile…yeah, Piper is like that! A child to truly terrify you with her ease of manipulating the adults into taking her side and leaving poor Mari getting constantly yelled at. Piper was truly frightening at times.

What made things creepier though was all the ghostly happenings that Mari kept encountering. Naturally, they always happen at night and when Mari was alone. This book was so unbelievably creepy and yet I couldn’t get enough of it.

There were other things happening when Mari wasn’t at home, like meeting the super cute boy, Yusef. Though Mari isn’t looking for a relationship with anyone at the moment, still smarting from everything that happened “before.” There’s also some seriously mysterious and shady things happening with the Foundation group that brought Mari’s mom and family to this free home. What that exactly entails was a little less than forthcoming. I want to make another comment about this but will refrain because I keep seeing it being something of a spoiler.

The pacing to this one was spot on! I mean, yes, I got bored at times when Mari left the house, because what’s a haunted house story without the characters spending more time at home with all the creepy! Not that I’d want to stay in a haunted house either! But the moments Mari left the house were never overly long and she ended up back home sooner than you think and that’s when all the horror filled moments happened!

As I said, White Smoke was a page turner! This creepily delightful horror novel definitely kept me on my toes and had an ending that was without a doubt shocking! Needless to say, I positively loved this one! It was the perfect ghost/haunted house story that held me riveted and needing to turn those pages as fast as I could! If you’re looking for a creeptastic horror novel this Halloween season, look no further!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars





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