Written by Tiffany D. Jackson
Published by Katherine Tegen Books, September 14th, 2021
My star rating – 5 stars!
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.
After reading the synopsis and then hearing the author herself talk about this book during a publisher event, I just knew it was going to be incredible. But I still managed to be completely blown away by it!!! Sure, this book sounds amazing, but I knew it would all come down to the execution and atmosphere. I read Allegedly by this author a few years ago so I knew that she was more than capable of making this story what it could be. Even though I knew this, she STILL made my jaw drop!
So we have Marigold and her family as they move away from their home town in California. Her mom was offered a new job and, as long as she was working for them, they got to live in a newly renovated house, free of charge. The offer was too good to pass up! Marigold also seemed to have some troubling things going on at the moment so it was a fresh start for all. Nothing about it seemed “right” though. Their house was the only one to be renovated yet. All the others were falling apart, partially burned, and housing squatters. And then there’s the fact that things were being “lost”, doors opening on their own, shadows in the night, and putrid smells at 3am. There’s also the imaginary friend her step sister mysteriously manifested….. is it anxiety? Change in routine? Or is something actually happening? You’ll have to read it to find out!
Like I said, the atmosphere had the power to make or break this book…. And it 100% made this book what it was! The scenes were so vividly described that it was easy to feel like you were experiencing it yourself and could picture it in your mind….. which was freaking terrifying! Not the kind of thing you want to feel as though you’re a part of but, if you’re into books that creep you out, then you’re in for a real treat! This had all those classic haunting elements only elevated….. and repeatedly! Seriously, if you’re easily freaked out by things that go bump in the night and you may not sleep well because you’re afraid someone is hiding in your closet, you might want to read this one with the lights on!
What I thought was really fascinating about the way she wrote this was the fact that our main character Marigold had a past. Something happened when they were living in California that she clearly wanted to forget. She did something that seemed to be haunting her to this day (no pun intended…. actually I DID intend that!) and we have no clue what happened. As the story goes on, we learn a little more but, in the meantime, we have to sit there and wonder if those events have something to do with what’s happening now. After reading Allegedly, I knew that this author likes to play mind games with the reader. Has that lead to trust issues? Probably. But it kept me on edge the whole time, wondering what was real and who was responsible.
It’s that mystery and suspense that kept me flipping pages! This book is so fast paced and makes you question literally everything. I’m the type of person that can spot a plot twist a mile away normally. Not with this author! This is the second book I’ve read of hers and I haven’t even come remotely close to figuring it out! I finished the last 25% of this book in the bath tub. It was the last 5% and there was no way I was stopping, even though the water was now freezing and I was shivering. I HAD to know and I had to know NOW! The reality of this ending creeped me out far worse than my own imagination….. and if you know how twisted I can be, that’s really saying something!
I absolutely LOVED this book more than I thought possible! I’m so used to reading YA horror novels that hold back the punches for fear of taking things too far and going too dark. Tiffany D. Jackson holds no punches and cares not for your anxiety! It’s all here; dark and dirty, just waiting to seek you out in the dark. Beware friends: your sleep will be disrupted from this one but it’s so worth it!
Until next time, happy reading!