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White Smoke

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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.

373 pages, Hardcover

First published September 14, 2021

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About the author

Tiffany D. Jackson

14 books6,007 followers
Tiffany D. Jackson is the New York Times Bestselling author of YA novels including the Coretta Scott King — John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning Monday’s Not Coming, the NAACP Image Award-nominated Allegedly, Let Me Hear A Rhyme, and her 2020 title GROWN. She received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University, her master of arts in media studies from the New School, and has over a decade in TV/Film experience. The Brooklyn native is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.

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5 stars
3,164 (23%)
4 stars
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136 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,102 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,440 reviews78.1k followers
November 22, 2022
"Change is good. Change is necessary. Change is needed."

The author chose violence when she decided to end that book without an epilogue. 😂 Just kidding, but holy abrupt and I-need-a-sequel ending. I'm so glad I was able to chat with a friend about all things White Smoke, and I highly recommend you find a support buddy to do the same.

I've come to think of Tiffany D. Jackson as a modern classic author; her books aren't stuffy literature, but her thematic content is timeless, necessary, and beyond important. Her writing style is accessible and welcoming, but she doesn't shy away from the hard facts and preaches the truth with the unabashed confidence that we need more of in this world. I don't want to really get into the specific plot here, but there are themes of gentrification, criminalization and ostracism of marijuana users, and the specific targeting of Black people in these intertwined topics.

Side note: if you have a phobia involving bed bugs, this book IS NOT for you. *shudders*

Final verdict: Tiffany Jackson has done it again! Highly recommended, especially for spooky season.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,537 reviews9,823 followers
March 21, 2023
**4.5-stars rounded up**

Dang, I loved this story!

Jackson is one of my favorite writers, but I wasn't sure if I would end up loving this one based on some of the reviews.

Yeah, that was silly as hell. Jackson slayed this. It actually includes one of my very favorite Horror tropes ((because it scares the f* out of me)).

Full review to come...stay tuned!!!


Just when I thought my preordering for 2021 was complete...

I am so PUMPED for this novel, you don't even know.

Tiffany D. Jackson, one of my favorite authors, writing a modern haunted house story!?

Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
930 reviews2,563 followers
June 7, 2022
I have always been a massive fan of Tiffany Jackson's writing style. But this one here sadly didn't worked for me as I expected to be. Loved the cover and idea though but still there were several factors that bothered me.

- the pacing of the book was odd like it was really slow in the first half, it took time in building up and when all the thrill and drama started it ended on abrupt conclusions.

- I liked the sub-plot and sub-ideas about gentrification and how she inculcated them in the story but the main theme ie Horror was lacking in every aspect. There was a chilling atmosphere but it wasn't something creepy or something original.

- Mari as our MC is very slow in picking up things around her. She ain't smart like our usual ya mystery/horror protagonist, which is fine but sometimes her reluctance to jump on most obvious conclusions was bothering me a lot.

- there weren't many plot twists or rather shocking plot twists.

- the ending, the most disappointing ending ever written by Jackson.
Profile Image for Kezia Duah.
377 reviews308 followers
August 5, 2022
We get this blended family that is all trying to understand each other, and we have characters struggling. Mari’s own was very interesting with her fear of bedbugs and her unhealthy ways of coping. The house they move into is suspicious from the very first moment they move into telling us that Jackson is wasting no time! The reveals and everything weren’t super overwhelming but sounded about right. So maybe I wasn’t horrified as I would really like to be when I read a “horror” book, but in terms of storytelling, this was generally good.
Profile Image for Ms. Woc Reader.
495 reviews672 followers
September 18, 2021
Marigold Anderson and her family have moved to Cedarville for a fresh start. Change is good. Change is necessary. Change is needed. Or at least that's the mantra she keeps repeating to herself. As part of an artist's residency she and her newly blended family will be living is a restored historic house. They're so happy they don't even care that the street is nearly abandoned and that they're not allowed to step foot in the basement. But suddenly Mari is seeing things and they're hearing rumors about their new home.

I will say it instantly made me think of When No One is Watching. As did the corporate conspiracies. And how it explored gentrification. But especially with the bed bugs. I had to deal with a bed bug infestation before and I'm still a little traumatized so I felt Mari on making sure everything is clean. My fear is nowhere near as debilitating as hers but just seeing or hearing the word bed bugs makes my skin crawl. Random bed bug facts were one of Mari's tics. But those I could've done with out.

I don't recommend the audiobook because I found the narration to be kind of flat. She has a nice standard contemporary voice which worked well for the scenes where they were just hanging out but her voice didn't change during the more action packed scenes. I've listened to author horror novels on audio that really set the tone and this narration didn't. I ended up going back and rereading the entire middle sections.

This was a fast-paced read that packed a lot of social commentary in it but I don't think it really took the time to deep dive into said commentary. It felt like two books to me. The legalization/criminalization of marijuana storyline could've been in it's own book by itself. And I felt like there was some fear monger when it came to the discussion about weed. She overdosed on fentanyl laced weed but not the Percocet she was snorting! I'm not even someone who endorses teens smoking and I wasn't a teen who did it but most of my friends did. It's very common so I actually thought it would be normalized here. Instead it's easy for Mari to write off the creepy things like being followed and watched as paranoia over her anxiety and weed habit. The issues explored here were not given the space they needed to actually be discussed.

The last 25% was where it really started coming together for me. I didn't see that twist coming! And then it abruptly ended. I liked the commentary around the blended family making things work despite their differences. I think that I would've loved this book had it left some of the other plots to a different book. It felt like a detractor breaking up the momentum of the story. I never got that heart-racing sensation I craved. I did feel itchy from the bed bug scenes. When the main focus was the scary things going on in the house the book worked best. I would've liked the writing to be a little more descriptive though because I couldn't picture what the house looked like.

If you're not really into scary reads and don't mind a book that doesn't know what it wants to be, then this will probably be a good starter horror. But the lack of direction and conciseness really kills the momentum. If you're into tighter more atmospheric writing that also blends social commentary with paranormal aspects, Bad Witch Burning is definitely the read of the season.

Full review
Profile Image for Melissa (Catch Up Mode).
4,572 reviews1,880 followers
September 11, 2021
It honestly pains me to give this rating because Jackson's writing is SO good. I just did not connect with this book, and it is ALL on me.

This book's strengths are in its theming, as it is with all of Jackson's books. If you read Alyssa Cole's When No One is Watching, White Smoke has a similar feel. The horror of gentrification has a large spotlight shining on it, as well as the criminalization of marijuana possession to the point where entire communities of people are incarcerated. However for me, the strong points got a bit lost amidst the weird ghost story atmosphere.

The pacing on this novel is odd as well, there's a long setup that doesn't reveal much, then the ending is very abrupt and doesn't explain anything or give a satisfying conclusion. I really wanted to connect more with Marigold as a character because she is so complex, but we don't get as much depth from her story as we could have.

Overall though, if you like YA horror woven with relevant social theming, this will be an excellent book for you. Jackson's turns of phrase are intricate and her creativity keeps me coming back time after time. Like I said above, just because this book wasn't exactly for me doesn't mean that it won't be the perfect book for someone else who loves a creepy horror tale. Definitely give it a chance and take the time to look at the gorgeous cover.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Jess Owens.
306 reviews4,401 followers
October 26, 2021
I received an audio copy from Harper Audio in exchange for a review.

White Smoke is pitched as Get Out meets The Haunting of Hill House. Now I haven’t read The Haunting of Hill House but I watched the adaptation and I’ve heard they’re pretty different. I did watch Get Out and loved it (also loved Hill House). So needless to say, I was pumped. I read Monday’s Not Coming by Jackson and it was amazing and heart wrenching, so I thought this would be a hit for me. Sadly, it did not hit.

The story definitely make my skin crawl because the main character keeps mentioning how she thinks everything is bed bugs (bc of a prior experience), which is valid. BUT SHE THINKS EVERYTHING IS A BED BUG and my god I was so tired of hearing it and it made me itchy. It guess good bc it’s horror but also I was annoyed. She also talked a lot about wanting to smoke weed to calm her anxiety. I have no issues with weed but the main character needed THERAPY not weed. She had a major trauma she needed to deal with, her parents divorced, she didn’t have the best relationship with her stepdad. THERAPY was needed and it was bothering me that she was trying to self medicate and that her mom didn’t see this as necessary.

For the foreseeable future, I am no longer reading books pitched as “Get Out meets X” I’m tired of it. I loved Get Out and happy it has inspired so many creatives, but please, give it a rest. It’s tired, I’m tired. This story felt slow in places and then too fast in others. I only liked the little brother Sammy as a character, everyone else was meh. Also, the mom remarried. Her husband was always playing favorites with his kid he brought into the marriage and leaving out her kids. That. Bothered. Me. It did have creepy elements, mostly focused on their house. Is it haunted or no? I don’t like how it ended, it didn’t give me the resolution I needed and it happened too quickly.

Overall, disappointed. It was fine


I’m really tired of racism always being the reason stuff is happening. House is haunted ? Not really, it’s racism. Town is seedy? Yes, because racism. Secret society ? Yes and it’s racist. I just want Black stories that don’t have to deal with that ! We can have a haunted house and it’s not because they’re Black and the town wants to run them out. We can have secret societies that don’t exist to kill Black people. Maybe this is what publishing wants right now but I don’t.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,828 reviews2,188 followers
November 2, 2021
4 stars!

I thought this book was utterly fantastic! I’ve seen so many 3 star reviews I was worried I wouldn’t like this one, but it exceeded my expectations!

White Smoke is about teenager Marigold who moves from California to the Midwest with her mother, brother, stepfather and stepsister. As a part of an agreement with a foundation, they get to move into a newly restored home for free as long as a family member contributes to the town in an artistic way. But while their home is fixed, their entire neighborhood is filled with dilapidated buildings and eerily empty of other people. And strange things keep happening in the house.

I really enjoyed this book so much, I first heard about it in a webinar the author spoke in and had been dying to read it ever since. And then the book released and so many of the reviews were meh, I got worried, but luckily I liked it more than most people did. I thought there were so many wonderful nuances to this book that I didn’t quite connect at the beginning of the book, and then as the book went on it made perfect sense. Subjects such as gentrification, wrongfully imprisoned, weed, lack of male boys in the high school, etc. But it all worked together really well into the story and was all completely plausible which I loved.

This book was also so deliciously creepy! Perfect for that spooky/horror feel you are looking for. And it was creepy without being gory which I very much appreciated. There was a lot of suspense and I thought the payoff was great based on the buildup. I will say, I wanted a bit more from the ending. I won’t go into details but I almost want a second book or at least a follow up epilogue so I can get some dang answers! I have many!

My first book by Ms. Jackson and I adored it. I am ready to read her backlist now, this book was so good!
Profile Image for Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked).
296 reviews1,462 followers
October 16, 2021
I'm thinking 4 stars, but likely would've been 5 had the ending not been so abrupt. I was absolutely terrified and freaked out for several hours last night 😂 full review/live reactions coming on my channel on Monday!
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,401 reviews11.7k followers
August 30, 2021
I've come to expect Tiffanty D. Jackson to deliver certain things in her books impeccably - social and cultural context, fully fleshed out characters, gripping narratives. And she definitely didn't disappoint on these fronts. White Smoke's narrator Mari is a girl who I will remember, with her phobias (HUGE TRIGGER WARNING FOR BED BUGS PHOBIA!), addictions and penchant for making wrong decisions. I liked the portrayal of the dynamics within a blended multi-racial family. The subplot about gentrification, Devil's Night and wiping out black communities was strong (I need to read more about Detroit).

However, the horror elements, while well written and creepy, didn't ultimately add up to something fully believable for me. I still think White Smoke was wildly better than most YA thrillers, and maybe adult as well, but the ending of this story just wasn't what I wanted.

I am interested to know some more inspiration behind this book. Jackson in her foreword had vaguely mentioned some of the historical facts that this novel is based on, but I hope she talks more about them in her future interviews.
Profile Image for Talkincloud.
161 reviews3,252 followers
January 29, 2022
Świetnie napisana. Mam wrażenie, że cokolwiek wyjdzie spod ręki Tiffany D. Jackson będzie dobre i jakościowe. Ta książka sprawiła, że miałem ciarki na całym ciele. Niejednokrotnie. Od samego początku domyślałem się rozwiązania pewnej zagadki, ale nie odebrało mi to przyjemności z czytania/słuchania. Nawiązania do „Obecności” i „Paranormal Activity” — bezcenne! Polecam!
Profile Image for Booktastically Amazing.
470 reviews391 followers
September 23, 2021
(y'all, there's a literal site for I'vebeentraumatizedbyTiffanyD.Jackson. It's like a therapy circle and I'm so in)

I have done it again.
Done something so stupid, thoughtless, moronic and foolish, that I'm left breathless whilst staring at my imbecilic self.

I have read another Tiffany D. Jackson book.

Rating: 👻👻👻👻👻 4.8
(I'll tell a couple of truths and maybe a lot of lies. But are they actually truths? Or are all of them simply lies?)

And well, this one? Okay, I'll admit it. This was amazing.
*sticks head into trashcan with a sudden bout of nausea*

Seriously, how many times will I tell myself not to do it? How many instances must be recorded into my memory for me to actually comprehend that these books are going to be the end of me?

When will I stop? When my eyes burn with lack of sleep?
When I hear a creak, and suddenly I'm not even walking but flying?

Yeah, these books make me question myself a lot. Is that actually a surprise? Nope.

So yeah, I am absolutely terrified. Trembling, eyes shaking, skin quaking, all that stuff. And of course, as movies have so wonderfully taught us, I heard a noise and dutifully called out 'Hello?' so I'm writing this in hopes that the person who finds my account after a fabulous murder scene, will understand my purpose for writing this as... uh, (add adjective here), as possible.

Another Lie: I never thought Tiffany D. would write a ghost story, let's just start there. I'm pretty sure I'll become a ghost very soon, but I would love scaring the crap out of people, I count that as a win. So, me being me, stupidly uttered (out loud, because of course, I have the brain of mitochondria in a prokaryotic cell. Yes, I needed to use that) okay, this cannot be that bad.

*at that moment, Booksy knew, she messed up-*

It ended up being not that bad, actually. *glances at the gun pressed against forehead* Yep, I'm totally not lying. The plot obviously didn't hook me, and it obviously didn't make me addicted to every paragraph. Pfft, who told you that? Silly goose, this book was rainbows upon bloody rainbows. Okay, now that I believe if they wanted to end my existence, they would've done it already, let me tell you the truth. It was a gory, disturbing, horrific, creepy, jaw-dropping experience that I would not trade for the world. I enjoyed the pacing, even when it went at the speed of Lighting McQueen and I started accidentally skipping sentences, thus, spoiling myself, THUS, making me hate myself as well. I was intrigued by the words 'psychological thriller' that made me doubt if everything that was happening wasn't actually real. The start grabbed me by the eyeballs and shook my head like a rag doll, hoping to make me so enticed by the story, my sockets would stay linked to it.

I finished this in a day, and I'm actually not surprised anymore.

One Truth: Moving on, as I'm currently typing this as quickly as possible (remember, there's someone about to end me right now) I have run out of words and feelings, well not feelings, goodness knows I have too many of those, to describe the writing. Dang, words don't make justice to it. In other books of this same author, I've felt like something was just a tad bit off of perfect, and I have no idea if the whole terror emotions I was experiencing eclipsed any flaws it might've had in this book. I smelled what the MC smelled, got my breath taken when the MC would be short of a horrifying demise, eyes widened when plot twists were throwing themselves at me (nobody has ever done that, so the fact that a book did it, is making me feel ever so flattered), and frankly, WHAT THE HECK WAS UP WITH SOME OF THESE PEOPLE??? LIKE, DANG.

I really, really enjoyed it. Also, would really, REALLY want to know how much Tiffany's paying Tartarus to be let in and have devilish fun with the citizens of that place.

Another Lie: The characters didn't cease to freak me out. Why? Because I didn't trust anyone! I trusted the dog for about five chapters. And that's sad.

Actually, no, I ceased to trust him when he would creepily start biting the air. Sir- no. Be gone. Okay, fine, be gone, take a shower in a certain batch of water and come back, so I can cuddle you.

Another Truth: The MC frustrated me, because come the heck on, doors slam behind you. A creepy had reaches inside the bath to turn off the faucet. I would literally put a flipping closet in front of the door or something. On the other hand though, darn it, she was just so well created. Gah, she annoyed me, then I felt pity for her, angered the crap out of me, then I would proceed to try to fictionally comfort her, THEN she would call have the awesome idea to, I don't know. Walk downstairs when hearing a strange noise? Does that, uh, does that sound close to thought through, to you? You bet if I- oops, just tripped over a dead body, hang on, let me take a shower. Okay, where was I? Oh right, if I were to hear a noise ANYWHERE out of my room, I would STAY in my room. Pfft, I have no hero complex whatsoever, so if you dumbly go to the down low, I will go to the up high and laugh at you.

A lie: Her brother was precious, I loved the guy. Didn't deserve as much suffering as SOMEONE made him go through.
We could talk about how creepy and not normal the stepsister is, but I just don't have the ener- okay, I will talk about her a little. Have I mentioned how much creepy kids... CREEP me out?? Like, hahaha, no. You tell me you have imaginary friends at the age of ten (never mind me who talks to herself and fights with air about the custody of seven of her nonexistent children), if you think that just because you're my sibling, I won't throw you out of the window, you've got it wrong.
Because I will throw you out of the window.
Okay, okay, I wouldn't throw you exactly, I would make your trip and then simply... let you fall. See? No throwing involved.

A truth: Every time I read one of Tiffany's books, I sincerely wonder, how in the seven hells does she make me care for a character when they're in the book for less than three pages? And how the HECK does she make me actually feel something for them when something bad happens? It's like some sort of witchery, I tell you.

On a closing note, I shouldn't re-read this, I really shouldn't. But there's always something so appealing about doing something not recommended for you. Kind of like writing a review amidst the possibility of being murdered, or writing a review when you have another test in the morning. I jumped, squealed, frantically searched for a valid reason to read this at night, jumped some more and freaked out a lot. The plot was amazing, I kind of saw it coming, but that's just because I've been traumatized before by the author and have learned some sort of strange defense mechanism.

AKA, reading every book of hers in hopes of perishing in an extremely dramatic fashion with much flair and quite a bit of glitter.
Remember, even in death, you can shine.

P.S: Oh! Did I fail to mention the romance? Oh, that's right. Aw, no. Not necessary. Sweet, but ultimately useless.

Keep reading for one of the scariest moments that honestly scared the crap out of me:

“Mari, are you coming? Hurry up!”
“Coming, I’m coming!” I grumble, locking the screen.
The rain roars outside, clapping against the windows. Sammy has every light on in the house, something he does when he’s scared but doesn’t want to admit it. I chuckle and head down the hall.
“Yeah? What’s up?” But the first floor is empty. The TV is on, episode five still playing, and
Sammy . . . nowhere to be seen. No sign of Buddy either. They couldn’t have gone upstairs without me noticing. Those stairs would let us know ants were climbing up them. He definitely called me from down here . . .although he did sound far away. Farther than usual. I turn off the TV and take in the room.
Silence. The kind of silence that feels heavy and loaded. On the sofa, a bowl of popcorn is tipped over, kernels spilled onto the rug, the throw blanket still warm. An icy sensation crawls up the back of my neck as rolling thunder makes the glass cabinets shake.
Something is wrong.
“Sam,” I call, louder this time, patting my pockets for the phone that’s still upstairs on the charger. Maybe he took Buddy for a walk? Which makes no sense, but nothing has been making sense lately. Lightning flashes, the back windows like a wall of black mirrors reflecting the stillness of the house: a silver teapot on the gas stove, pans hanging from the ceiling rack, a metal basket of Red Delicious apples on the table bathed in warm light. Pulse throbbing, I approach my reflection in the deck door, cupping my eyes to peer out into the darkness. Trees violently whip in the wind, a hectic dance. Inside, the house is calm, picturesque. Then something clicks behind me.
In the reflection, I watch the hallway closet door slowly swing open and the look on my face belongs on a movie poster.
“Sam?” I whisper, peering over my shoulder, the tremor in my voice identical to the one in my hands.
The house holds its breath. I shouldn’t check, I know I shouldn’t check, everything inside me
screams I should just make a run for it. But . . . where’s Sammy? Lightning strikes, the gold doorknob catching its spark. Keeping my steps light, I creep closer. It’s nothing, it’s nothing, relax, I chant to myself, entire body now shaking. With two quick steps, I wrench the door open wide, jumping to face whatever’s behind it. But there’s nothing there. Just some hanging coats, random shoes, and a mop.
“Sammy?” I cry out, now desperate. “Where are you!”
Suddenly, a hand shoots out from between the coats and yanks me inside by the collar. I let out a shriek, forehead hitting the back wall of the closet, the door slamming behind me. Balance skewed in the pitch darkness, I whip around, thrashing at the air, clothes, hangers . . . ready to fight for
my life, until a flashlight clicks on, illuminating his face.
“Sammy!” I snap, shoving his shoulder. “What the hell are you doing?”
Sammy digs his trembling nails into my forearm, eyes wide and glassy, pure terror painted across his face.
“That’s not me!” he whisper-shouts, lips quivering. “That’s not me!”
“What? What are you talking about? Are you—”
Then I hear it. His voice. Sammy’s voice. Calling me from outside the closet door. And everything inside me curls inward, hardens, and I stop breathing.
“Mari! Mari! Come downstairs!”


*me looking at my corpse already rotting on the floor*
*me over dramatically presenting it to the author*

Don't you think... you've done enough? Has it never crossed your beautiful, disturbing mind that I was not ready for what happened?

No? Ohhh, I guess Hades hasn't given you an umbrella.

Six hours. I read this in six hours. I am mentally EXHAUSTED- actually, I really am not, considering that I need to be alert if a door slams shut so I can do the smart and super normal thing of... running, instead of asking 'HeLlooOooOo, someone TheRE?'.

What will they answer, huh? No yeah, I'm in the living room, can you grab the popcorn?
Profile Image for JustJJ.
103 reviews133 followers
January 9, 2023
This review and others @Bookerification

Rating: 3.5 stars

Cover: 🌟🌟🌟
This cover may not be particularly striking, but I love the purple smoke and simplicity of the design.

Writing: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
The clear writing style is delightfully haunting. A tense, creepy atmosphere is established from the start and maintained throughout the story. As strange events occur, the history behind these is gradually teased out, keeping the information easy to grasp and engaging.

"Change is not always necessary but the right change is most definitely needed"

Storyline: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
The story begins with Marigold and her blended family arriving in a strange new house and city. While things get rather creepy and violent as the story builds towards a climax, it is not particularly scary. Much of the focus is on Marigold's personal struggles and family drama, which adds complexity to the story and these characters. Serious themes surrounding race, gentrification, incarceration for marijuana possession and blended families are also explored, giving readers lots to consider. However, these topics are not given a clear resolution due to the open ending.

Main character(s): 🌟🌟🌟.5
Marigold is a complex protagonist sinking under the weight of internal and external ghosts. Despite this, her character does not experience much growth - especially since she is unwilling to get the professional help she needs. Her selfish and headstrong nature also makes her character hard to root for, yet, she remains compelling and realistic.

"Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling"

Secondary characters: 🌟🌟🌟
The four other characters in Marigold's family are given distinct personalities and roles in the story. I absolutely loved Marigold's brother Sammy, who is constantly amusing and sarcastic. On the other hand, her stepsister Piper was hard to like as she is cunning and vindictive, but I eventually sympathised with her character. Marigold's mum and stepdad (like the remaining secondary characters) were less noteworthy as they failed to make much of an impression.

Romance: 🌟🌟
The hint of romance in this story was cute, and I loved the comical first meeting the characters had. However, little happens, so this aspect only has a minor effect on the story.

In essence, 'White Smoke' is a thrilling read that uses a creepy tale and complex characters to explore several serious themes. Sadly, no clear resolution is given, which makes the story unsatisfying. Why not check out The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed if you liked this book.
Profile Image for Beary Into Books.
658 reviews42 followers
November 18, 2021
Rating 4.5

WOW! I listened to the audiobook version of “White Smoke” and the narrator did such a fantastic job! She really nailed the main character, setting, and creepy vibes. I tried to listen to this as much as I could at night or on my drive to work (it was dark before time changed) and it actually made me jump a few times! Haha, I love when a book can have you looking over your shoulder. There is one scene in the book that I still think about but don’t want to ruin it for others. All I can say is, have your popcorn ready because you're going to be going on a ride with this one! The author @writeinbk did a great job of having the reader question everything until the end.

The characters in this book were beautifully written and felt pretty realistic to me. Being someone who is from a blended family I could really relate to what happened in this story. It’s hard for parents to not show favoritism especially when it comes to punishments or knowing who to believe. Unfortunately, the main character Marigold has made some mistake in the past which has led her mom and step dad to lose some trust in her. So, when her step sister Piper creates these lies her parents are hesitant to believe Marigold is in the right. While I did enjoy Marigold’s character I do wish she made changes for the better earlier on in the story. I felt like she knew she was making mistakes but was okay with making them. However, I do know this was needed to show character growth. I enjoyed the side characters and what they added to the story. Some things certain characters did I would never be able to forgive them for. I can’t say due to spoilers but I think you will know who I’m talking about once you read it.

I did have a few issues with some characters and how abruptly it ended but overall, this was a really enjoyable psychological thriller. I tried to keep this review short to avoid giving away too much. I definitely think you should read this book knowing as little as possible.
Profile Image for Ashley.
800 reviews443 followers
June 21, 2022
Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars

HO-LY SH*T! This was EXACTLY what i've been looking for! The perfect haunted house story with its own twists, turns, & vibe, as well... this is definitely ANYTHING BUT a carbon copy like most haunted house based horror i've come across lately.

I am seriously impressed, and when it comes to horror because that is seriously hard to do !

I also really, really appreciated the mental health rep—anxiety, OCD, panic, and all the paranoia that can come with that, rep! It was pretty spot on for what anxiety & panic feels like, and knowing you're probably being irrational, but because of your sub-conscious can't help but seize up in a panic attack anyway. The mental health rep was just great .
(Unfortunately, I would know, for all o' the above. Anxiety is one hell of a bitch! 🥺)

Major props to Jackson, because I just haven't been able to find a haunted house story that actually scared the hell out of me for who even KNOWS how long (?!), even though i've been looking FOREVER. And BOY, does this hit the SPOT!

A bullseye with thrills and chills and all sorts of things that will keep your eyes glued to the pages, & your ears open for things that go bump in the night!

100% recommend!!! 🤍🤍🤍
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,449 reviews7,555 followers
October 4, 2021
After some stuff and things went down in her old town, Mari(gold) and her blended family of Mom, brother, Stepdad and stepsister are relocating to Cedarville thanks to her mom winning an award from the Sterling Foundation that will pay all of the family's housing costs for three years. Aside from the fact that the area is most definitely considered wrong side of the tracks with vacant and dilapidated houses up and down the block aside from their fresh remodel, it seems like a pretty sweet gig. That is until doors start closing on their own and random figures start being seen and heard.

The blurb calls this Get Out meets The Haunting of Hill House which is not particularly accurate. Just because a horror story is written by a black person and includes black people in its cast of characters doesn't make it Get Out FFS. Jackson herself even offers up shoutouts throughout the book to the most obvious comparison . . . .

The driving force propelling this storyline as far as the house and town go is gentrification. This is a theme that has popped up in several books I’ve picked up recently. Living in a metropolitan area myself I can see why as it is a subject of much interest and such a double-edged sword. I mean who wouldn’t want run down neighborhoods revitalized and crime rates reduced? But on the other hand who would want to do so when a consequence is pricing out the law abiding citizens who have been the ones invested in making a change for the long haul? I’m not here to debate who is right - I’m just saying this plot point apparently works for me because the tension this topic creates is nearly palpable.

This author works for me as well. I love YA writers who push the envelope and bring adult topics of discussion into the mix. Jackson does not shy away from socioeconomic, mental health or drug addiction issues in this latest release. NOT attempting to pull any punches certainly makes for a story that flows more effortlessly. For example, I should have seen that ending coming because I’ve read that particular twist before and not all that long ago. That’s the sign of a good storyteller to me - you aren’t even trying to think past the point in the book where you currently are.

An easy 4 Stars. (I still hate face covers, though so that would get Zero 😁)

Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,405 reviews1,853 followers
November 4, 2021
Throughout this read, I was definitely in the 'like' camp more than the 'love' and had it been the opposite I would've been far more disappointed by the ending than I was. But it was still a huge, abrupt, bummer.

This story is half horror and half psychological anxiety fuelled discomfort. It also has a less than fun new blended family dynamic which was grating in a whole different way, too. While I enjoyed this when it was a horror, I was equally horrified by the circumstances that had plagued this town, the violent gentrification that had occurred (and was still occurring) at the expense of others; but at the same time this particular plot sort've went off the rails in an unbelievable way (not the criminalizations, that, unfortunately is very believable, but the shady corporate conspiracy and the specifics of what they had set up..? yeah, no) -- which, considering I was reading about ghosts and hauntings and potential possession, says a lot.

As a haunted house story, this was great. For someone with an anxiety, reading about Mari's phobias, it was just as unsettling. Everything else, and the ending.. I don't know. Equally in the 'I don't know' pile of things is the reluctance for Mari to jump to the very obvious conclusions about what was happening around her. Why she was so slow to pick up on this, to resist it when others were more convinced, I have no clue.

This one gets a cautious recommend out of me, I think. I absolutely don't want to dissuade you from picking it up but at the same time I'm not going to encourage anyone to read it.. just incase it's even less a hit for you than it was for me.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.
Profile Image for CW ✨.
644 reviews1,696 followers
December 22, 2021
Terrifying and so engrossing; truly a haunted house story meets Get Out. I had to read this during the day because listening to this at night made me scared of my own house.

- Follows Marigold, a Black teen, who alongside her blended family move to a new town for a fresh start. However, Mari soon discovers that their new home holds history and secrets - and that it may be haunted with something darker.
- I was glued to this book, even though it scared the crap out of me. It's thoroughly eerie, unnerving, and so uncomfortable, but you can't help but keep reading?
- Creepy children with imaginary friends. That's all I'll say.
- Marigold suffers from OCD and intense anxiety, and I liked how this added another dimension to the story, giving Marigold's character and her dynamic with the family more depth.
- The pacing worked well for me, but I listened to it in an audiobook and was enraptured for most of it!
- I liked the anti-gentrification and anti-racist lens that this story had - and how sometimes tragedy is manufactured for capitalistic gain.

Content warning: drug use, addiction, bed-bug phobia, arson, police violence, horror themes
Profile Image for Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura).
505 reviews730 followers
October 14, 2021
This was my first read by Tiffany D. Jackson and I'm happy to report that it won't be the last.

Horror and psychological thrillers are two genres that I hardly pick up but I was seeing White Smoke literally everywhere and decided it was a sign. You know those books where you read the first chapter or so and you're instantly hooked? This was one of those books for me. And let me just say, I was creeped out from the very beginning. Nothing to make sleeping a little uncomfortable like reading this before bed.

This book really took some turns that I just wasn't expecting. I love reading those books where you think you know it all but clearly you don't. This book was exactly like that. I swear to you the twists had me yelling. The story was fast-paced for the most part. I personally don't mind slow books and this one wasn't slow for me, but there were moments where I wish things had sped up a little. The overall atmosphere and story were just so good that I couldn't put the book down. I never realized how much I actually enjoy scaring myself until now. I had goosebumps constantly! and sitting in a room alone reading when there's no one in the house is possibly the best and worst decision of my life.

I really liked our main character, Marigold. She was flawed in many ways and I loved watching her grow a little throughout the book. She made some less than stellar choices but we've all been there at least once right? Loved her little brother so much. Then there was Piper. I didn't like her for the most part. I mean she's ten and I could see why she was the way she was but annoying was an understatement. There were some things that I wish we had delved deeper into but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't already sold on the book. I mean the book obviously has flaws and having read this a week ago I can definitely see some of them since my excitement died down, but I really enjoyed my time reading this. Like REALLY enjoyed my time. To experience this book again like the first time would be amazing. I mean I didn't enjoy freaking out over normal house sounds but it is what it is.

Overall the plot felt a lot deeper than I thought it would be, and definitely not what I was expecting. There were themes of gentrification, ostracism, addiction, and mental health among other things so the story really took me by surprise. I don't want to say alot because I feel like it's better to go into this not knowing too much about it. I will warn though, if you have a fear of bed bugs then this is probably not a book you want to pick up. The mentions are frequent and the writing makes it feel so very real. just thought I would mention that.
Profile Image for Misha (Heartsfullofreads).
197 reviews46 followers
September 17, 2021
I want to begin by saying Tiffany D. Jackson absolutely wrote a book that gave me the chills!

This fast-paced story (that I do not think should be compared to Get Out) was terrifying! The bumps in the night started almost immediately. Marigold's fear of bed bugs will seriously have you checking your couch and bed crevices.

This was an excellent haunted house story. The abrupt ending slightly dissapointed me. Overall, I enjoyed it and read the entire book in one day!
Profile Image for Mel.
232 reviews37 followers
September 29, 2021
While primarily a horror novel about a haunted house in a rundown small town neighbourhood, White Smoke also deals with inner demons and familial horrors to mixed results. There are some great ideas here -Tiffany Jackson has some important things to say about gentrification and the demonization of marginalized populations by the gentrifiers who claim to be bettering a community- but everything built around these big ideas is a bit of a haphazard mess. There are too many disparate threads that fail to come together, and the abrupt ending was a perplexing choice, given the slow build into a dizzyingly paced final act.

The book follows Marigold, a young woman battling a debilitating phobia of bedbugs, and rebuilding the trust of her family after overdosing and embarking on the painful road to recovery. She moves to the town of Cedarvile into a recently renovated old house with her mother, brother, step-father and step-sister for a much needed fresh start. However strange things start happening soon after they move in as belongings inexplicably move or disappear on their own, a foul odour wafts up from the basement, and ominous bumps in the night keep Marigold on edge. Is their house haunted, or is there some Scooby gang reveal just waiting to be uncovered?

In addition to the central supernatural mystery, the novel touches on televangelism, corporate corruption, addiction and the systemic racism of the American prison system. Needless to say, these are a lot of big themes, none of which are explored in a particularly fulsome or satisfactory way. Some of these big topics are touched on briefly, yet wind up playing a pivotal role in the book's big moments. I would have loved some more background on a couple central ideas to keep White Smoke focussed in scope rather than attempting to take on so much in a relatively short novel. I have read and loved other Jackson novels, but ultimately this one swings for the fences, but left me feeling underwhelmed.
Profile Image for Mara.
1,562 reviews3,771 followers
February 7, 2022
This is a case of love the writing/character development but less impressed with the plot execution. There are things I like, things I don't, but overall, the best moments for me were when we had true scares happening
Profile Image for Toya (the reading chemist).
1,132 reviews97 followers
September 21, 2021
I'm honestly really torn on this one. Even though this story is compared to Get Out, it is the YA version of When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole. That's not a bad thing because I thoroughly enjoyed that book.

What Jackson does well in this story is creating a spine-tingling and chilling atmosphere through her depictions of this haunted house that Marigold 'Mari' and her family have moved into.

What really did not work for me was the portrayal of Mari being an addict. It is evident from the beginning that Mari suffers from both severe paranoia and anxiety. Mari recounts her past when she was hospitalized for an overdose. However, it is clear throughout the book that Mari desperately needs her anxiety addressed (which she knows that marijuana helps to subside her episodes), and not through chamomile tea or whatever other homeopathic concoction her mother wants to use instead.

I think that the constant villainization of Mari from both her family and community was unwarranted since no one wanted to address the root cause of her pain, which at no point was a secret. Everyone knew she was battling with anxiety and paranoia, and rather than look into medicinal marijuana or some other alternative to give her a decent quality of life, Mari was painted as a drug addict looking for her next fix. It genuinely pissed me off for the majority of the book.
Profile Image for Roxie Voorhees.
Author 17 books102 followers
September 24, 2021
Do NOT sleep on this book because it is YA.

Highly recommend listening to the audio in a pitch black room.
Profile Image for erin ♡ .
161 reviews84 followers
Want to read
March 25, 2021
Me: *sees the blurb* who else feels like they aint gonna survive this story?
Profile Image for Kamaryn.
116 reviews223 followers
September 22, 2021
I wasn’t a fan I’m sorryyyyyy 😭😭 im giving it a 2.5 rounded to a 3 😖 So many things left unresolved. Basically this book was not paranormal whatsoever. It focused all on marigolds family conflict, along with racial devision in the neighborhood and household.Ir rubbed me the wrong way with talk about addiction like the author didn’t want to really go into it too much to where actions of the MC were left looking irrational without any factual information about the topic. I’m just a disappointed I really wanted to like this book 😔
Profile Image for Maria.
505 reviews323 followers
September 19, 2021
OH MY GOD! I’ve never been truly frightened in a long time. I want more horror from Tiffany D. Jackson ASAP! And maybe we will get it, because the ending was kind of open? And I want a sequel? (Please!)

I love the blended family aspect, the racism, gentrification, capitalism, drug use, everything was covered in this book.

You know Tiffany is my favourite author, so I don’t even need to tell you to read this. Add to your spooky TBR immediately!
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