Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled 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 picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone. But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right? As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.
I have read other Tiffany D. Jackson books before, and she is a genius. I will basically read anything she writes now, so when I found out she was writing a book about a haunted house, a house that wants Mari and her family gone. I was ready to see what this book would have in store for me. Trigger warnings: addiction, incarceration, drugs, overdose, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, panic attacks, blood, murder, arson, fear of bedbugs
Tiffany D. Jackson is still a genius. I fell completely in love with this book. It’s a blend of horror and psychological thriller, and it creates something new that grips you by the throat.
This book was incredibly interesting and just downright enjoyable to read. I was pulled through it, wanting to know what was going to happen next, what could happen next. I just really, really liked reading it. I know that sounds like simple praise, but I feel like it’s deeper than that. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of reading this book. I loved the mystery, I loved the characters trying to figure out the mystery, I was completely invested in what the mystery was. There are a lot of aspects being pulled in different directions, and they all come together to create a very strong book.
I fell in love with the characters. They all felt so real, and so human. And I found them easy to love. There is even a dog! Who helps protect his family! (He ends up alright.)
The plot of this book was thrilling. It is a fantastic haunted house story with a twist. I can’t say much because of spoilers, but just know that Jackson takes this story to a whole other level. She knows what she is doing, and she does is well. There’s cabinets left open, glasses left on the counter, hostile neighbors, a rumor about the previous owners of the house, nightmares and weird smells and weird temperature changes. And then there is a whole other plot running beneath that.
I will say that the ending felt a little bit abrupt. I felt like there were a few things that could have used a bit more time to be wrapped up and I wondered what happened to certain characters and was curious about the aftermath of some plot points. Though, I did read it as an ARC, so perhaps it will be different in the finished copy!
Overall, this book is brilliant. It’s creepy and terrifying, but there is also such sweet relationships and growth throughout. It ties so many intricate plot points to create something incredible. I really, really loved it.