Title: White Lines
Author: Jennifer Banash
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Synopsis (via 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.
Review: I won this ARC from Jennifer Banash herself before it was released last April, but it's been on my bookshelf ever since. (This has become a blogger problem for me; I will get a book to review, but I won't review it right away. This is something I hope to fix by the end of 2014). I decided I needed something to read during my long drive to and from Florida over spring break and White Lines was the lucky one of the bunch.
To be honest, I had no idea that this story was set in the 1980s. It felt more futuristic than "historical," but I enjoyed the club setting nonetheless. I haven't read a book involving clubs and the night scene before White Lines, but Cat's story is fresh, raw, and unique. Jennifer Banash wrote about touchy topics that most young adult authors tend to avoid such as drugs and childhood abuse.
I found the story to be dull up until page 92. Cat had been introduced, the reader got a look at the club she worked at, she took some random drugs a client gave her and wound up passing out in the club bathroom. Cool, right? All I could say was, "Really?" After her near-death experience, I found myself getting more comfortable in Cat's shoes. The story got really exciting once Alexa was introduced.
Alexa was Cat's high school's princess. She was popular, she was spoiled, she had a group of minions that followed her wherever she went - but she was getting tired of it. Alexa decided that Cat would be her ticket out of the royalty lifestyle by showing her a glimpse of the nightlife. Like Cat, I was hesitant to warm up to Alexa because of her social status, but by the end of White Lines, she had become one of my favorite characters. She helped Cat see that it's possible to change your lifestyle under any circumstances if you're unhappy.
Cat was a strong, main character who could take care of herself after all she had been through in her childhood. Along the way, she lost sight of who she was and who she could be, but that could also be a side effect from all the drugs. I admired her strength because she faced her fears and acknowledged she had an addiction and needed help.
The ending was a nice closure for Cat's story. It's a perfect standalone with a new, spunky setting and raw material that will leave the reader wanting more after every page they turn. Once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend reading White Lines for a fresh story line that's on the other side of the young adult spectrum (especially if you need a break from reading the cookie-cutter high school romance young adult novels. I sure did). (: