There’s a killer preface that instantly creeps you out. Good start. The main character, Marigold, and her family have left California and moved to a small midwestern town looking for a fresh start. What they find is a broken city filled with secrets, heartache, and deception.
As mysterious events start happening around her, Mari internalizes her emotions and believes she must be the one going crazy. Her past/current struggles with drug use, anxiety, and intense fear of bed bugs drive her to pretend everything is fine.
Hard to ignore, however, the rotten smell coming from the basement they aren’t allowed to use or to shrug off the fact that things continue to go missing.
It’s impossible to go into too much detail without spoiling the plot completely, but I wasn’t expecting the turn it took. Totally terrifying. I’ll never be able to stay up past 3 am again..or 3:19 am, to be exact. 😨
‘OKAY, SO MAYBE I’m in the middle of some super-cheesy horror movie. I’ve watched enough of them with Sammy to know the drill. We have all the basic elements: family moves to a new town into an eerie house with a dark past.’
I’m going to start by pointing out that I don’t read horror books..ever. My idea of a good Halloween scare is watching Ghostbusters with the lights out. ‘THERE IS NO DANA, ONLY ZUUL!’.
But when White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson hit the shelves, something pulled me to it. Maybe it’s the fact that this title is generating significant buzz in the Boookstagram community or that the cover is visually stunning. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, gritted my teeth, and gave it a try.
The ending was a bit abrupt, but maybe we’ll get a sequel??
This brings me to the first location of importance: Sterling Foundation “debt-free” house.
I’VE ALWAYS HATED the smell of other people’s houses. This house smells like wet wood. And not the kind you smell in the early morning dew, but the campfire burnt-logs-doused-with-water kind that no amount of paint and polish can mask.’
It’s interesting how the main character of a novel isn’t always what you would expect. Yes, White Smoke is told from Mari’s point of view, but she shares the spotlight with the one constant, the reason there is a story, to begin with..the creepy Sterling Foundation “debt-free” house.
You are instantly drawn into the history of the home, making assumptions and guesses as to why the family is being haunted and by who. What’s so significant about this house that would have the entire town whispering about ‘The Hag’ that haunts its inhabitants?
I’ll let you in on a secret… it’s not what you think!
This brings me to the Second location of importance: The River
‘Change is good. Change is necessary. Change is needed.’
What did you think about Mari and Yusef’s relationship?
Honestly, this story wouldn’t have been half as good without their awkward moments and endearing teasing. As much as Mari wanted to push him away to protect her heart, Yusef forced her to care-not only about him but the broken-down city surrounding them.
Taking her to the river and playing around on the “beach” was pivotal for them. Giving her a piece of her old life in California provided her the opportunity to start opening up, revealing parts of her life she had tried to keep hidden.
Everyone has a past, but sometimes things aren’t always what they seem!