Tuesday, April 23, 2013

White Lines, by Jennifer Banash- Review

From Goodreads:
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.
Ok.  First up, I have to shame-facedly admit that I was spectacularly clueless to the 80's setting until way far into White Line.  In my defence, the nods to the very 80's world, through music, clubbing, clothes etc., can really all be attributed to the younger set today who are so desperate to relive that tragic time period in culture.  Listen, I was a kid old enough to have style opinions during the 80's and I still regret them, I have no interest in reliving them with teased bangs and spandex.  It took until a comment on page 71 by Cat for me to clue in this was ACTUALLY the 80's
"A car screeches down the street blasting the new Duran Duran song, bass kicking, and Sara briefly nods to the beat.  Sara is a sucker for pretty boys with highlighted floppy hair and early eighties New Wave wardrobes, and Duran Duran more than fits the bill as far as she's concerned"
 Of course once I did, things fell into place in a much smoother way (um, like a lower east Manhattan 1br for 600$ a month. WAY more sense).  It was a belated ah-ha moment, but at least it came before the ending.

As someone who's incubating their first child at this very moment, Cat's relationship with her mom was not only shocking but hard to relate too.  Not that I'd want to relate to an abusive relationship, but I've never read about a mother-daughter one before, and theirs is truly awful.  Especially the parts where her mom goes on about how she made her, the levels of disturbing were many and made Cat's spiral so understandable. 

I liked the nuancing of Cat's character, how her upbringing causes her to veer to unhealthy relationships, and how the healthy ones are hard for her to understand or deal with.  I especially appreciated her blindness to Giovanni's problems, someone caught up in their own downward spiral is not likely to be perceptive to others, and if Banash had given Cat that insight I wouldn't have found it believable.  More than anything I liked how as Cat stepped out her role, Alexa stepped in, and it continued on without her as if she'd never been there at all.  Although I'm not, nor will I ever be, part of that strange area of club culture, I don't doubt it is that fickle and largely faceless.

An evocative, and well written story of abuse and the possibility of salvation, White Lines was a read that resounded with me.  Outs were easier because of money, but I can over look that, if only because Banash wrote with a depth I can't brush off.

White Lines, by Jennifer Banash
Published by Putnam Juvenile, April 4th, 2013
My copy kindly provided by the publisher


  1. I need to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it.
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