I wanted to read some spooky horror books and I’m also in the middle of reading through Tiffany D Jackson’s backlog, so White Smoke came out at the perfect time. This is a good one!
I always enjoy Jackson’s writing style, and I tend to enjoy her darker themes. White Smoke was no different. It includes gentrification, underage drug use, as well as the criminalization of marijuana users. Among other things, of course. For such a short book, this covers a lot. Oh, and bed bugs.
Reading about Mari going through all this horrific stuff and also dealing with anxiety and OCD was tough. I felt very connected with Mari, although I would have preferred to have seen her build up a couple of relationships more. Her relationship with her brother, Sam, though was LOVELY and I need more of this in YA.
I really enjoyed the horror elements and I found them outright creepy at times. That doesn’t happen often with horror novels, but in some places I even found myself jumping a little. Creepy children are the WORST, let me tell you.
I really hope Jackson writes more horror books (Harper, make it happen!) because she clearly enjoys writing them. She does an excellent job at building suspense, and I was a bit scared to read the next page in some cases. That’s exactly what I want from my horror!
I’ve seen some comparisons to Hill House (false, imo) and also Get Out (yep, I see it). I think White Smoke is its own thing, but I do understand the Get Out parts because the neighbourhood in this was… not all right.