White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson is fun book that ties in a lot of topical issues like prisons, blended interracial families, poorly treated mental illness, veganism, peanut allergies, predatory televangelists, drug use and gentrification into a spooky ghost/horror story.
The ending was incredibly abrupt. Bizarrely so. I got it from the library and truly thought I was missing a chapter. It resolves the ghost story but absolutely nothing else. Which I guess is realistic but when you devote the majority of the book to gentrification, family and relationship drama, the prison pipeline and investigating a giant conspiracy, to have the book end during a climatic scene involving only the ghosts is very unsatisfying. There was just so much world building and back story included in the book and then it ended. No, I don’t think this very average teenager is going to change what is going on alone but turn the page and not even know where exactly the rest of her family is was very strange. It really took the book from excellent, love this to what? why?
I also didn’t quite get why there were so few male children in the schools. They brought up that the high school was mostly girls many times but why so few boys? The only child we see arrested is her female friend.
Is there going to be a sequel? I haven’t seen announcement and recent interviews talk about her next book and its another horror-esque book but unrelated. Her mom does have a three year agreement to stay in the house, I’d love to see a sequel focusing on her very fun and smart brother.
Mild spoiler but I found it odd that Marigold’s back story is that overdosed on fentanyl-laced weed but not the Percocet she was addicted to. It possibly explained why she wanted to grow her own but what? Why not have her overdose on the pills she got addicted to after surgery? It seemed very “Reefer Madness” in contrast to the rest of the book which was very anti-punishment for weed possession and seemingly pro legalization (the story touched on this but didn’t explore that it was suddenly in the same town where everyone got thrown in prison for possession).