Sunday, May 12, 2013

Novel Review: White Lines by Jennifer Banash

Rating (Out of 5): ~3 (maybe 3.5)
Genre: YA Historical (Romance)
Publisher: Penguin (Putnam)
Publish Date: April 4th, 2013
Spoilers?: Some (nothing huge).

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Something Specific:

  • "Who really needs to do advanced algebra in everyday life? It's not like I'll be at the supermarket someday and suddenly need to solve some complicated algorithm just to figure out whether or not I have enough change for a box of Fruit Roll-Ups." (ARC, pg. 4)
  • "'See something you like?' He raises one dark eyebrow and I feel like I'm going to spontaneously combust, which is what always happens when someone potentially interesting talks to me in the real world." (ARC, pg. 24)
  • "All I am is myself. I am myself so fully from such a young age that it is painful to watch as she tries to remake me in her own image. I fight from the very beginning..." (ARC, pg. 198)

I started this book, for some reason, not knowing that it was going to have a heavy drug plot. After I started the book and looked back at the synopsis and title, I was a bit dumbfounded on how I had missed that. I think, maybe, that I saw abuse and zeroed in on that alone.
The drug bit made me slow down at first, just because I don’t tend to really enjoy drug related things, including storylines, and I must say that I am definitely biased in that, but I got through the book. It had some good parts. And some not so good parts.
Cat, who is seventeen and living in the 1980’s, is living on her own because her mother is abusive and her father doesn’t want her. While going to school during the day, some of the time, she works at this club downtown at night, where she also does drugs and parties all night long. She’s still trying to deal with the after-effects of the abuse from her mother, both physical and emotional, while also trying to deal with the drugs and school work and her friends and how alone she feels.
I was not a huge fan of Cat. For one, I’m not a fan of partying and doing drugs so irresponsibly, particularly when you know you shouldn’t be doing it and are not even really enjoying it at times, but I’m biased in that. Maybe other people won’t be so bothered by that. My biggest problem with Cat, I think, is that I, personally, didn’t really connect with her. I didn’t like how she reacted to her mother at first, or how she didn’t really try very hard with her father, or how she acted to her friends, or with what she did with her boss, a forty-ish year old man. I did like when she kind of angsted over her past, and I did like her near the end of the book, when she finally stepped up and decided to do something about her life. That made the book’s rating jump up about a half star.
A problem that I had with the book was that I didn’t really feel her addiction to the drugs. I think maybe she just was trying to take her mind off of everything, which is true, but not that it had to be drugs that did it. Because there was a part during the book that she was so busy with other stuff that she wasn’t even really doing any drugs, or thinking about them at all. And even though she says at the end that she’s fighting her addiction, her addiction didn’t really feel real to me in the first place.
I also didn’t really like the romantic parts of the book. I didn’t like the thing with her boss, as I said above, because he was a creepy jerk and it was all around dumb, but I also didn’t really feel anything with the boy from her school. Their romance just didn’t really connect for me, and they didn’t really hang out a whole lot, even though they were supposedly still together at the end of the book.
The main part about the romance, though, was how both men tried pushing her into sex, and then when she said no, they got all pissed, like they deserved it and were expecting it just because she agreed to go out with them/invited them inside. And that’s crap. Especially how she didn’t even really acknowledge how they acted or that it was wrong of them to do that. But it might have been purposeful, and because of the time that the book is set in, which, if so, then okay. If not, then that’s crap.
I mostly liked her friends. Particularly Sara and how she pushed Cat, but also Giovanni, because I felt bad for him. He just needed someone to be there for him, and it seemed like his life was looking up by the end of the book. I also felt like Cat’s father should have done something more, but think that their relationship was a lot better, and still getting better, by the end of the book.
The ending was my favorite part. Because everything had rounded up and was getting better, was looking much brighter for all of the characters, and I’m happy about that.

 A review copy was provided by Cuddlybuggery's Little Blogger, Big Ambitions project and Christina of A Reader of Fictions. Thank you so much!

1 comment: