Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: White Lines by Jennifer Banash

Synopsis (from Goodreads): A gritty, atmospheric coming of age tale set in 1980s New York City.

Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream: she has her own apartment on the Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But when someone comes along who makes her want to truly live, she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control.

Both poignant and raw, White Lines is a gripping tale and the reader won’t want to look away.

Lynne's Review: 

Told in a brutally honest, deeply intimate way, WHITE LINES by Jennifer Banash is an edgy, dark and gritty tale that chronicles the steady decline of Cat's crazy life during the wilder side of life in the 80's.

Cat is a seventeen year old girl, a barely passing senior in high school. The product of growing up in a physical and emotionally abusive home as well as the child of a broken marriage. She is estranged and emancipated from her parents and even though her folks are well off, she ends up living by herself in a fairly rough part of town - an area called Alphabet City, in New York.

To make ends meet, Cat becomes a party promoter for one of the hottest, trendiest clubs downtown. She earns $500 a week and soon finds herself in the top echelon of the clubbing food chain. As the force behind the magical velvet rope - the person who either denies or grants VIP access to the inner sanctums of the night clubs - most nights you'll find Cat dressed up in some crazy, atrocious costume - designed by none other than her dear, close friend and partner in crime, Giovanni - but most of all ... you'll always find Cat higher than the night before.
Because hers is a world where the bass is always thumping, vibrations rippling through the air and she's not having the time of her life unless she's bouncing off the walls, rolling through life on a drug induced high and wired for sound. At the pinnacle of her 'career' Cat finds herself growing up too fast, too soon and far too many lines too deep into drugs. She's in denial and throwing caution to the wind.

quotes I marked while reading:
pg 210 It's easier to pretend that you need nothing and no one, that you're an island surrounded by miles of water, uninhabitable, than it is to let your real feelings out where they can be trampled on. Sometimes I wish I were made of something impermeable and hard like wood or metal. Something that would keep the core of me locked away, encased in a thick, glittering shell.

pg 242 I know I have become my worst self, a girl who will do anything to avoid looking at her own frightened reflection in the mirror. A girl who runs away, straight into the dark of an eclipse, just to have some place to go.

I found Cat to be a character my heart ached for. She was so broken and pitiful and almost beyond being able to save herself. We watch her spiraling out of control, falling deeper into the pit of her own self destruction. I wanted her love interest (Julian) to save her and if he couldn't do it, I hoped her best childhood friend Sara would be there to catch her before she fell.
But like watching a comet on a direct path toward the sun, you just know that Cat is going to get burnt and you wonder if she'll survive the very worst of her existence.
This is a story about a young life, lived hard and fast, that definitely gets worse before it gets better. And yet, there is so much more to this story than the drugs and club scenes. Ultimately, it's about a lost soul who is desperate to find love, yet at the same time, afraid to be loved.

Jennifer Banash has a writing style that is lyrical and realistic. In WHITE LINES, she writes about habits and secrets that usually stay hidden in dark corners - a lifestyle most people would deny even exists, let alone admit to living. A deep look that is almost too close for comfort.

While the club scenes weren't the lifestyle that I personally experienced, I grew up in the eighties and I can only imagine this type of thing must have existed in cities more advanced than where I grew up.
I found a lot of shout outs and references to that era's brand names (like Tab -the drink, Sony walkman, etc) and most of the music being mentioned or played in the club (Madonna, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran etc) brought back some of my own memories of growing up in the 80's.

Due to the realistic nature of this book, adult themes and heavy drug use (as well as the risky consequences thereof) I would recommend this book to ages mature 16-17 and up.

I received this ARC of WHITE LINES directly from the author for my honest review. Thank you again Jennifer!

 rated: 4 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment