Momma Leighellen's Book Review
“There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices to be found only in the minds of men. Prejudices can kill, suspicion destroy, and a thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all it’s own.” – The Twilight Zone, from Tiffany Jackson’s notes on White Smoke.
This voice over from the Twilight Zone is the perfect prequel to starting this new YA thriller from Tiffany Jackson out September 14, 2021. The book is filled with “so scary it can’t be real” scenarios that tie in beautifully with current events. Jackson has a way of mesmerizing us with a storyline that pulls you in while educating us on social justice at the same time.
The story follows a young high school girl named Mari, suffering from anxiety and PTSD, and using marijuana as a way to cope. She abruptly moves to a new town with her blended race family. When they arrive, the perfectly manicured home is in the middle of a literal ghost town. All the other homes are abandoned and rundown. Their home is the first in the “new phase” of updates coming soon to the entire neighborhood.
As if that’s not weird enough, they are told NEVER to go in the basement. Yet, they continue to hear noises and smell funky things coming up through the vents. As Mari digs deeper into what happened in the town before they arrived, she is quickly met with backlash. Her sister begins to have visions and act strangely. What is really going on here??
I actually loved the horror aspects of this book. It totally creeped me out and I wanted so badly for there to be actual supernatural elements in this book!! I would have been happy to have this just be a pure thriller.
However, Tiffany Jackson shines when she’s communicating social justice issues. You can tell she is passionate about them. So she focusses the story more on gentrification, the difficulty of a mixed race family, and the criminalization of marijuana use. This feels like a YA version of When No One Is Watching. If you liked that one, you should enjoy this. If you were hoping for straight up horror, this may not be for you.
You can pick up a copy of the book here. To read more of my reviews, check out the rest of my blog. To enter the latest giveaways and see what I’m currently reading, head to my Bookstagram account in IG. And to listen to me chat all things bookish and share my latest reviews, head to my Booktube Channel. To try out an Audiobook, check out Libro.fm .