Reviews for White Lines

Booklist Reviews 2013 April #2
By night, 17-year-old Cat works the club scene in downtown NYC, guarding the velvet ropes, snorting lines of cocaine, and losing herself in the thumping bass of the music. By day, she's living alone, away from her abusive mother and disinterested father, trying to scrape by in school and avoid meaningful connections with others. The club scene couldn't be further from the "tight smiles and expectations" of her Upper East Side roots; instead, at 3 a.m., with the DJ spinning, she can lose herself "in the melody streaming through the speakers like hot honey, reality off in the distance, hazy as a half-forgotten dream." The endless drugs and lecherous, old-enough-to-be-her-father club owner are starting to wear Cat down, but, when she meets Julian, a Ramones-loving transfer to her school, she just might find a reason to fight for her life. While Banash's novel, which is set in the 1980s, advances slowly at times, the gritty and emotionally charged story pulses like the rapid heartbeat of a girl in distress. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Seventeen-year-old Caitlin is on her own, reluctant high school senior by day and "club kid" at night. At turns frenetic, straightforward, and evasive, Cat's narrative is a visceral and unflinching portrait of drug use, abuse, and the 1980s New York club scene. Above all, it reveals how relationships are forged--and can fall apart--within the family we choose.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 March #2
Despite the title's obvious drug reference, this is less a scare-'em-straight story than a memoirlike account of a lost club kid navigating 1980s New York's underground parties. At 17, Cat lives in an apartment in New York's East Village, away from her physically and emotionally abusive mother and her distant father. She spends some time at school and some with her pre–club-scene friend Sara, but her home is Tunnel, the club where she throws a regular party. By the time readers meet Cat, she has begun to weary of the scene and its drug-heavy lifestyle; in fact, despite a few joyous flashbacks, it is initially difficult to understand the club scene's appeal. Patient readers, however, will see Cat's life slowly unfold through the flashbacks, painful conversations and a constant cycle of parties and exhaustion. The prose and dialogue are largely evocative, though some of the imagery comes out overwritten ("The early winter sky outside the window is a leaky ballpoint pen"). The characters are diverse and carefully drawn, from Cat's friend and fellow club kid Giovanni to her frightening employer Christoph, and the overall mood is intense without ever aiming for shock value. Subtle, sad and, eventually, hopeful. (Historical fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #3

At 17, Cat is on her own in New York City's East Village. She has fled the penthouse apartment where her abusive mother lives, and it's easier for Cat's emotionally distant father, who lives in Connecticut with his girlfriend, to pay Cat's rent downtown than to admit that his ex-wife is dangerously angry. Ensconced in the club-kid world of the late 1980s, Cat works the door at Tunnel nightclub and is increasingly dependent on cocaine to get her through long nights followed by days at her second-chance high school. Things pick up a bit at school when Julian transfers in, and Cat does have a few friends looking out for her, but she's being pulled deeper into the scene, especially now that her boss has started hitting on her. Banash's Elite series takes place on the Upper East Side, and she knows N.Y.C., but Cat doesn't feel like more than the sum of her many problems. When she finally pulls herself out of her downward spiral, it's not especially surprising: she's a familiar character and this is a familiar arc. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 June

Gr 9 Up--From the outside looking in, 17-year-old Cat has it made. She has her own tiny apartment in New York City and is a "club kid," which means that she works the velvet ropes and is treated like royalty at some of the hottest clubs in town. But her life is spiraling out of control. She lives for the night-the throbbing music, the pulsating lights, the crazy clothes, but most of all, the drugs. Things like school, food, and friendships become secondary to her. Emotionally and physically scarred by her abusive and disturbed mother and abandoned by her father, who refused to see the abuse, Cat shrinks from real emotional relationships. But there is something about Julian, the new guy at Manhattan Preparatory Academy, that makes her want to reach out and connect with him. Will the drugs keep pulling her back? The portrayal of the drug culture and club scene of 1980s New York City is detailed. The first third of the book is incredibly unhappy reading, but such dark plotting is necessary to show the hopelessness of Cat's situation. The language is extremely strong throughout, used casually and (mostly) without emotion. After a climactic and pivotal scene, the ending seems a little pat. If your teens like gritty, urban fiction, White Lines might be something they'd pick up.--Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI

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