Friday, July 26, 2013

Review and Giveaway of Jennifer Banash's 'White Lines'

Goodreads Description:
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.
About Author:
Jennifer Banash was born and raised in New York City. She now lives in Southern California with her beagle, Sigmund, and her vast collection of designer shoes.

Check out my blog at
My Review:
I went into this book not knowing a whole lot about what it was about exactly, but I really enjoyed it. The writing manages to be both lyrical and gritty at the same time, much like the main character Cat. It takes place in New York. I assumed it was present day. I think if I knew anything about club life in New York I could have figured out that was not the case a lot sooner, alas I know nothing about it. There were other hints dropped throughout the book as to the time the book took place. I eventually narrowed it down to the year 1988. I based this on the fact that Reagan was still president, but it had to take place after the song 'Jane Says' by Jane's Addiction came out (it was playing in the background of a scene) which was in 1988. Normally I would be irritated that the time period wasn't exactly clearly stated, but it was kind of fun playing detective and very satisfying finding it out on my own.
So it took place in the late eighties in New York. This was the time and place of the 'club kids' who became celebrities for being outrageous, throwing parties, and working at clubs. Cat is one of these 'club kids'. She is a seventeen year old girl who lives on her own in downtown New York. Her wealthy parents divorced; her father remarrying and pretty much abandoning her with her mother who was both emotionally and physically abusive to her throughout her entire life. Social workers finally stepped in and let her father know that she was no longer to live with her mother so he got her her own apartment. Cat is a very damaged character because of the torment of her mother and the abandonment from her father. She uses the club scene, and the multitude of drugs found there, as an escape. She goes to school basically as much as she needs to to not get expelled and has no real plans for her future. She flinches anytime anyone tries to touch her and is incapable of saying the words I love you, out of fear of both hurt and abandonment. She has only two real friends and a ton of acquaintances. She meets a boy at school, Julian, who she is intrigued by, but he also terrifies her. The book basically tells the story of her descent into rock bottom.
The character of Cat is well drawn and incredibly believable. She is authentic in a crazy world of phoniness. Cat can be infuriating throughout the novel, but somehow manages to be likable at the same time. I was rooting for her even at her lowest moments, especially at her lowest moments. This book takes the reader into a world of excess and craziness through the eyes of a broken, but loveable teenage girl. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cat's story. I liked that Banash put a large emphasis on her relationships with her friends and not just her potential romantic relationships. It is easy for young adult writers to give the idea that romantic relationships are what is most important, but this book definitely didn't do that.
This book was refreshing. It was different than a lot of the other books I've read lately. The main character is imperfect and somewhat broken, but real. The story was unique and the setting interesting. This was the first book I have read by Jennifer Banash and I am excited to read more by her. Her writing is both beautiful and raw, and she manages to hook you in and not let you go until the very end.
My Rating: