Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

Hi Bookstafam

Welcome to review central…

Todays post is my review of the book Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin. I was sent this book by Titan Books to read and review (thank you!)

Firstly I will add that the cover of this book is gorgeous and then the sprayed edges (heart eye emoji). I do love a sprayed edged book!

All thoughts and opinions on this review are my own.


Author: Sarah Maria Griffin 
Title: Other Words for Smoke 
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Fantasy/ Paranormal / YA
Pages: 336
Overall Rating: 3/5*


The house at the end of the lane burned down, and Rita Frost and her teenage ward, Bevan, were never seen again. The townspeople never learned what happened. Only Mae and her brother Rossa know the truth; they spent two summers with Rita and Bevan, two of the strangest summers of their lives…

Because nothing in that house was as it seemed: a cat who was more than a cat, and a dark power called Sweet James that lurked behind the wallpaper, enthralling Bevan with whispers of neon magic and escape. And in the summer heat, Mae became equally as enthralled with Bevan. Desperately in the grips of first love, she’d give the other girl anything. A dangerous offer when all that Sweet James desired was a taste of new flesh…


I had to get my thoughts together for this book as it evoked so many thoughts and feelings. A coming of age story that was written with such emotive descriptions and a few twists and turns along the way.

Sarah Maria Griffin has created a story interwoven with magic, history, and everyday struggles including loss, guilt and love. The character development was intriguing and I found the twins Mae and Rossa easier to engage with. Bevan I just couldn’t engage with and found her pretty selfish but she does play a major part in the book.

Mae and Rossa are twins they have a special bond which is tested when they arrive at Aunt Rita’s. They are both going through personal issues, they are 14 years old and just been dumped at her Great Aunts house who they have only seen a handful of times. Mae who is finding herself and Rossa who has gone into himself.

Grief and Guilt play a major part in this book and I feel that it is the foundation of the book, a subtle yet prominent theme throughout. The characters Sweet James and Bobby Dear are important characters and it isn’t until the end that you understand what and who they are. I found their characters intriguing especially how they depict Fear and Love, which to me is symbolism in its purest form.

The book is narrated from several of the characters points of view, Bevan, Mae and Rossa. The narrative moves from third to second person depending on the point of view. You also see the past history of Aunt Rita and why she became the person she is. There is a lot of intrigue in the book and it kept me turning the page to find out what was happening. 

I did enjoy this book and it kept me engaged from the start. The idea of a house that changes, that something that you can’t see is there was spooky yet thrilling at the same time. I also adored the talking cat even though his and Sweet James’ motives were nefarious.

Overall an enjoyable read with elements of the paranormal, a hint of fantasy and a whole lot of young adult themes. It was a captivating atmospheric read that well keep you spellbound.


Thank you again to Titan Books for sending me this book to read and review.

Happy Reading




3 thoughts on “Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin”

    1. There are LOADS! If you haven’t then maybe, Aurora Rising, The Boy Who Steals Houses, Viper. Any particular genre??


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