cover image White Smoke

White Smoke

Tiffany D. Jackson. HarperCollins/Tegen, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-302909-5

After being expelled from her Carmel, Calif., high school for drug use, Black former track star Marigold Anderson moves to Detroit-inspired Cedarville with her newly blended, interracial family. To get a new start and recoup the steep cost of Mari’s rehab stay, they’ll be living rent-free at an artists’ residency, in a renovated historic house, while Mari’s author mother writes a new book. But when the family arrives, it slowly becomes clear that there’s something sinister about the new home—and that everybody knows about it but them. As references to systemic ills pile up, it becomes clear that the murderous and racist history of the predominantly Black subdivision is about to rear its furious head. Amid the family’s struggle to adapt to the strangely desolate town is Mari’s mission to secure a weed connection to help her cope with anxiety and delusional parasitosis. Plot progression is scattered among a number of unresolved threads, and Mari’s addiction-induced tunnel vision takes center stage to the detriment of other components, but Jackson delivers multilayered frights in a true horror tradition, peppered with instantly recognizable references to urban legends and internet horror culture. Ages 14–up. Agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary. (Sept.)