Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: White Lines by Jennifer Banash

White Lines by Jennifer Banash
Series: Standalone
Published: April 4th, 2013
Publisher: Putman Juvenile
288 pages (ARC)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: Won from Razorbill Canada’s Twitter
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Book Depository || Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

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.

When I first heard about White Lines in July 2012, I knew I had to read it. New York City + 1980s + club scene = yes please! As time went on I was afraid it would be one of those books that I build up so much in my mind that the real thing couldn't possibly live up to my expectations. Thankfully I was wrong. 

White Lines is a beautifully written, haunting, and dark story about a damaged club kid trying to find her place in life. I was immediately drawn into Cat’s world and the seductive life of the club, the drugs, the music, the people, the power. Cat felt like a freak and an outcast, but in the club she was somebody, and you could feel that heady power-rush feeling emanating from the pages. She had little control over her own life, but the club was the one place where she held the power. She was the guardian of the gate so to speak - she controlled the velvet rope - and she was in charge.

Cat was a character who, for me, was perfectly imperfectly. She made mistakes, her judgment was questionable, and she was certainly flawed, but I loved her. She was human, and I felt her hurts and her triumphs. My heart broke repeatedly for her. When she did drugs, she didn’t have to worry about anything - not her emotional baggage or her horrible childhood or the fact that her life was completely messed up. She was afraid of so many things - afraid of being touched, afraid of being hurt, afraid of being loved, and even afraid of feeling, because then she had the potential to get hurt, and all she’d ever really known was hurt. It was heartbreaking and at times so poignant I was left speechless.

White Lines is one of those books that is so beautifully written, it’s almost lyrical. No matter what was happening - even the things I couldn’t relate to - I felt like I was right there with Cat, living it all. I could see it, taste it, smell it, and feel it, and I loved that. White Lines is a book that will suck you in, grab hold of your heart and make it hurt, but also fill it with hope. With a strong, complex, and almost hypnotic narrative voice that gets under your skin and into your blood stream like a drug, Cat’s story is one you won’t soon forget.

“If midnight is the witching hour, 3.a.m. is the dark, fathomless abyss of the soul.” 
~Quote taken from page 43 of the ARC of White Lines~

Have you read White Lines? What did you think? How do you feel about YA books that contain heavy subjects like drug use and physical abuse?


  1. Gonna admit it: I didn't think this would be my type of book. I don't know WHY, since I'm a contemporary junkie, but for some reason, I sort of just bypassed it. Now I'm considering giving it a chance. Cat absolutely sounds like the type of character I would definitely relate to, and want to wrap up in a big old hug! I'm really impressed that you liked this one so much. Since we share the same brain, I'm thinking I'd enjoy it, too!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  2. I love the voice of the novel so much. I'm not big on novels involving drug use, but I enjoyed this one.

  3. I want to read this book so bad! AHHHH!!!! <3 I like flawed characters that can suck you into the story despite not being able to fully relate to them since you're not completely like them.

  4. Okay so I gotta admit I bought this book because of your recommendation Marie but I am having the HARDEST time getting through it. I don't find Caitlin all that likeable as a character and the writing seems off.


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