April 4, 2013
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A gritty, atmospheric coming of age tale set in 1980s New York City.White Lines is a novel that you'll stay up finishing (or trying to finish -- depending on the time you have!).
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.
At 304 pages it isn't a very long novel, certainly, yet, I don't know that I could have taken it longer. Not because it's bad, either. The opposite, actually. White Lines is intense and real and gripping and almost overwhelming. A big, long version of Cat's story would have been too much.
Jennifer Banash doesn't skimp on Cat's story anywhere here. We see glimpses of her childhood. scenes of both her mother and father. Though, understandably, mostly her mother. We see how they're both still affecting her today. There's a full immersion in Cat's club kid life, her night's at the club and all that entails for her.
Then there are her days at school. Her 'real world' and attempts at maintaining a semblance of the life that is expected of a seventeen-year-old.
The dichotomy of who Cat is at the club - the in charge, powerful girl who decides who's allowed into the VIP area; in her colorful, outrageous outfits/costumes and makeup - next to the quiet girl who avoids everyone at school, is presented early in the novel:
"The only time I'm really comfortable with the feel of eyes gliding over my skin is at night, hidden behind a veil of powder and paint." - pg 3It's a contrast that almost shouldn't make sense, but because Cat is so well written and feels so real as a character, the daytime and nighttime sides to her both feel believable. (And you hope that she can find a balance.) Cat does seem older than her seventeen years at certain points. Some times because of her actions/schedule. Having her work at the club at night, then attend school during the day was done very well, though. It didn't feel as if she was attending high school as some sort of perfunctory, barely happening activity to keep this a YA novel. It was truly a part both of the novel and her character.
"In real life, daylight steals my words like a vampire running from the sun." -pg 6
The friendships, relationships were a great part of the novel. Cat had one for both sides of her life and it was easy to see how they each worked for that part of her life. The relationships that form during the novel were not ones that were not ones I expected or not ones I expected to work out as they did. We were given a lot of depth to characters that I was, I suppose, expecting to play more superficial roles.
Banash's descriptions, more present in the beginning, are especially worth noting: "[H]er auburn hair the color of burnished strawberries, her legs wrapped in a pale pink tights. . . made me think of pirouettes, a haze of tutus, feathers drifting slowly across a darkened stage." (pg 9)
This is a coming of age story that is gritty and real; honest and painful; heartfelt and true. Cat's story isn't one that will leave you any time soon.
other books you may also like I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert and Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
thank you to Penguin, to Stacey for the review copy.
and now for the giveaway . . .
. . . Click below
((my White Lines Spotlight Post with an excerpt is here if you'd like a sample))
What's your favorite 80's song??
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