White Smoke
by Jackson, Tiffany D.

The phantoms of her old life keep haunting Marigold, but a move with her newly blended family from their California beach town to the 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 home on Maple Street has secrets. Household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there is a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse, Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks. - adapted from jacket

Jackson (Grown, 2020) takes her first plunge into horror in this blend of Candy Man and Get Out, wherein a newly blended family looking for a fresh start becomes the victim of their new home's violent past. That home is in the Midwestern town of Cedarville, an area being revitalized by an arts foundation, which has awarded teenaged Mari's mother its first residency. Almost immediately, their "new" house starts throwing out some seriously strange vibes-doors open by themselves, objects disappear-and local legends give more clout to hags and hauntings than Mari likes to admit. Clear racial divides exist in Cedarville from a war on drugs waged disproportionately on its Black community, and while Mari and her side of the family are Black, her new stepfather and his daughter are white, which adds another interesting dynamic to the story. As Mari tries to manage her anxiety, a recent drug addiction, and a crush on a boy at school, things at home escalate into a hair-raising finale that proves Jackson knows her way around the genre.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling Jackson consistently turns out quality writing and compelling stories. Her many fans know this and won't hesitate to give horror a try. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

A family already at odds tries to survive the whims of a haunted house. Jackson, who penned thrillers Allegedly (2017) and Monday's Not Coming (2018), proves that her skills in suspense carry over to the horror genre. Anxiety-ridden Mari, recovering from substance abuse, tries to start anew when her family leaves California and moves into a newly renovated home in the Midwestern town of Cedarville. She's relocating with brother Sammy, stepsister Piper, stepfather Alec, and her mother, whose acceptance into a 3-year artist residency lets them stay rent-free in a new house that looks perfect on the outside. However, certain things ring alarm bells: a basement they're instructed never to enter, construction workers who refuse to stay in the house past the afternoon, and the stories circulating around the neighborhood about what happened there. As Mari unravels the mysteries around her, she must try to avoid relapsing into bad habits; contain her dizzying, trauma-born phobia of bedbugs; and avoid the wrath of entities who wish her harm. Jackson conjures horrors both supernatural and otherwise in a masterful juxtaposition of searing social commentary and genuinely creepy haunts, as well as providing an authentic portrayal of tensions within a blended family. Mari, Sammy, and her mother are Black; Alec and Piper are White. Begs to be finished in one sitting, though maybe with the lights kept on. (Horror. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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