White Lines by Jennifer Banash is a fairly dark young adult book set in the 1980s (so, that’s basically historical fiction right? WOW I AM OLD) featuring the dangerous world of drugs. So, basically this book is lots of drugs and clubbing and the 1980s. I liked it, but did not love it or really, really like it, ya know? And I have to be 100 percent honest with you, reader friend, typically I am not one for drug books, but I cannot resist the siren call of the 1980s. EVER. So, when I say that I actually liked this book despite the ‘dangerous world of drugs’, that’s actually a pretty big compliment from me, given my reluctance towards those more hard hitting sort of books.
Caitlin lives in an apartment in NYC by herself. Basically, her dad bankrolls her rent. However, before you start saying WOW THAT GIRL IS LIVING THE DREAM, think about the circumstances behind her living situation. First off, Caitlin’s mother is off her rocker and is physically and emotionally abusive. She is THE WORST you guys, the absolute worst. Second, Caitlin is addicted to coke. Third, her dad lives in Connecticut with his new wife and of course she doesn’t want to interrupt their marital bliss or anything. ALSO. Caitlin is in school for bad kids, or really kids who messed up and so, she’s pretty much failing out of that, and she has no friends at her new school. Further, Caitlin is a club promoter by night, which is when she does her drugs. And finally, the other aspect of the plot of Jennifer Banash’s White Lines, She’s kind of in this love triangle with new boy at school and the club owner Christoph who is a total dirty old man. Alas.
Caitlin is the sort of character who I wanted to lecture about her bad life choices. BUT at the same time, I know that it would be totally douche-y of me to lecture her, because this girl has a super sad back story and we all do the best we can with the cards that we are dealt, so perhaps her coke habit is a way of dealing with life. As a reader, I definitely did have empathy, which is good. Like, I think sometimes we should step down from our ivory towers and be non-judgmental. ANYWAYS, I definitely did connect with White Lines and Caitlin, even though I have zero experience with hard drugs, as a lot of the book is the story of a teenage girl trying to find her way in the world, once you get past the clubbing and the drugs. Caitlin comes across as vulnerable, and it feels authentic, and I really went in for that.
Probably my favorite thing about White Lines by Jennifer Banash was the world building. I know, I know, world building? For a realistic book? Guys, bear with me here. I thought that Banash brilliantly set the scene, so to speak. As I read, I felt that I was there in the clubs and on the subway with Caitlin. There’s a certain feeling of grit and grime within the pages, even with the club scenes, I felt like I needed a shower while reading. Also, there are bits that are TOTALLY 1980s, and as a self-professed 80s nerd, I LOVED IT.
I will admit, I actually really liked how White Lines ended, BUT I would have liked more. I guess I just wasn’t ready for the story to end yet. Also, I need to put this out there before ending the review – there is lots of coke in Banash’s book — which FYI I don’t get the point of. Who wants to snort lines? Gross. Obviously DARE worked on me. Just saying, I don’t get the appeal of snorting something up your nose for a high. I also don’t get the whole needles thing either, but I suppose this is why I am not addicted to drugs. ANYWAYS, I’d say if you want to try a book about drugs, check out White Lines by Jennifer Banash, it’s a pretty decent reading experience and never goes into Go Ask Alice territory, thank goodness.
Disclosure: Received copy for review
Other reviews of White Lines by Jennifer Banash:
365 Days Of Reading – “a crazy ride with a core message that isn’t to be missed.”
Pure Imagination – “a beautiful story that left me feeling hopeful.”
The Flyleaf Review – “make no mistake, this book is gritty and uncensored”
If you liked White Lines, you might enjoy Crank by Ellen Hopkins.