White Lines | Jennifer Banash | Book Review

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.

White Lines by Jennifer Banash | Good Books And Good Wine

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.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I’ve actually been looking forward to reading this book mainly because it’s set in the 80s and there’s this whole club scene going on. However, I wasn’t aware about the drugs aspect of it but I guess it’s okay for me. I do like to read about things in books that I just know I’d never do in real life on principle. Like smoking or drugs. Or maybe it’s just that I’d hate to rely on stuff like that to feel normal.

    Anyhow, great review April and I’m glad you liked the book.

    • Sana, yeah the drugs play a pretty big role in this book. I agree, I like reading about things that would never cross my mind to do in real life as well. I mean, okay I’ve smoked a cigarette or 10, but I would never ever do coke and this book does a good job of showing why some people do it and also why it’s bad.

      Thanks 🙂

  2. I’m pretty nervous about the drug scene in this book as I’m very straight edge (I don’t even drink!) and I tend to feel very anxious when the main character makes a lot of bad decisions but I do have a copy of this so I’m planning to at least give it a shot.

  3. Is it really sad that when I read “1980s” after reading the title of this one I immediately thought “oh, this is a drug book.” I think it’s a little sad. I mean, I obviously didn’t do drugs in the 80s… you know, being like 7 and all… but yeah, I pretty much associate the 80s with hardcore drugs. Oh, and “crack is whack.”

    I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to resist the siren call of the 80s for this one…. although it really doesn’t sound like a “Candice” book. But… 80s… I <3 the 80s!

  4. I don’t think the siren call of the 80’s, which I also hear loud and clear, will be enough to lure me into this.
    It was drugs and love triangles, not cool in my book. I can deal with one or the other but not both.

  5. I’m reluctant to read drug focused books as well. I’ve been hearing mixed reviews about this one, but I’m a sucker for good world building so I’ll have to put this on my TBR list. Great review 🙂

  6. I’m like you, I don’t really like drug books, they are just a bit too sad for me at times. However, I have seen this book and the title has always made me turn away from it, but after seeing your review I may check it out. I kind of like books that take place in the 80s too,

  7. This book seems pretty interesting for the most part, and I am called to it by the fact that it’s set in NYC. It sounds intense though, and I’m not sure I’m in the right mood for that! However, I do like that you were able to feel some empathy for the MC so perhaps there is something to the way this book was written.

  8. Lots of conflicting reviews for this one! (I actually like that, since it’s nice to get a variety of opinions.) But anyways. Like you, I’m don’t really get the need to snort/inject myself to get a high, but that makes a book like this interesting a new, so long as it’s handled well, and it seems like Banash did handle this well for the most part.

  9. I read this last month and was surprised at how much I empathized with Caitlin. And I agree about Banash creating the world of NYC in the 1980s, I really felt like what it must have been like to be there. Great review!