BOOK REPORT for White Lines by Jennifer Banash

Cover Story: Hairy Big Face
BFF Charm: Eventually
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Runaway Train
Bonus Factors: The '80s, Stefon, New York City, Mysterious Loner Dude
Anti-Bonus Factor: Mommy Dearest
Relationship Status: Dancing Queens

White Lines

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Cover Story: Hairy Big Face

What's worse than a Big Face on a cover? A Big Face who doesn't know how to use a rubber band or a bobby pin to keep her hair in place. Seriously, Big Face, how does all of the hair in your eyes NOT bother you? Even more perplexing: Why do publishers think that a face covered by hair is edgy and mysterious? It's not edgy, it's annoying, as anyone who has ever worn lip gloss on a windy day can tell you. But judging by the plethora of hairy Big Faces out there...

Texas Gothic opposite hallelujahentangled

...it appears that YA cover designers have never worn lip gloss on a windy day. 

The Deal:

At one time or another, every teenager dreams of having a Kevin McCallister moment and living at home, alone. For 17-year-old Caitlin (known as Cat), this dream is reality, and it's certainly not all sundaes and campy crime movies. After Cat's father left to play house with his new wife, and social services picked up on the fact that Cat's mom was beating her, Cat landed her own tiny apartment in the gritty heart of New York City. But her real home isn't where she sleeps—it's where she dances. Seduced by the 1980s world of New York club culture, Cat works as a promoter at Tunnel, presiding over the velvet rope, throwing ridiculous parties and snorting her weight in cocaine. At night, she's sparkling and alive, but in the day time, she's a zombie, drifting through high school and avoiding people as much as possible. When new kid Julian shows up at school, Cat slowly begins to see value in her life outside of the club, but she may not be able to escape the darkness of her nocturnal world.

BFF Charm: Eventually

BFFeventually

Cat's personality is like night and day when, well, it's night and day. If I saw her sitting alone at school, I would be drawn to her raw fashion, her loner attitude and her cloud of loneliness. But at night, well, let's just say that if I was trying to get into Tunnel, I highly doubt Cat would let me in. From the first page of this book, I cared about her, but I wasn't sure if she was bestie material. She's carrying around a U-Haul's worth of emotional baggage, and she can't seem to make conversation without a healthy dose of coke running through her veins. Speaking of drugs, Cat makes TERRIBLE decisions. CONSTANTLY. But as the story progressed, and she finally started to give a shizz about herself, I saw a true friendship (and a ton of '80s dance parties) in our future.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to Cat's real BFF, Sara, who is AWESOME. Girl, come over to my place and tell me your hair secrets! Same goes for Giovanni, Cat's club BFF and fashion consultant. That diva would KILL IT in the make-over portion of our slumber party.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Julian is a classic MLD (see below), and when he shows up at Cat's school, you can understand her sudden interest. Underneath his leather jacket and Ramones t-shirt, Julian has a heart of gold, and he's such a good guy that I'll forgive him for his gross, unwashed hair. His relationship with Cat is tenuous, and her inability to emotionally connect with him is both frustrating and tantalizing. And then there's the owner of Tunnel, Christoph, whose sexy aura of power and sophistication makes up for the fact that he has a ponytail.

Talky Talk: Runaway Train

Author Jennifer Banash really likes to set the scene. This book is brimming with details, from the songs pounding through the speakers to the layers of Cat's latest club ensemble. Her sentences overflow with descriptions, the pages rich with Cat's emotions and experiences. But while Banash paints dazzling pictures of lurid VIP rooms and pulsating dance floors, there were times when I felt that her descriptions hijacked the plot. Like a runaway train, this book hurtled through intense emotional tunnels and violent turns, but there were moments when Banash should have hit the brakes on her verbosity instead of letting the minutiae throw the story off track.

Bonus Factor: The '80s

madonna

This book isn't just set in the '80s, it's set in the cool '80s. From Joy Division posters to neon green spike heels, Cat's world is an electric snapshot of new wave culture. Occasionally, Banash overdoes it on the references, but overall, it's an exhilarating glimpse into a decadent decade. I guarantee that, after reading this book, you'll be jamming out to New Order and lining your eyes with a thick line of kohl.

Bonus Factor: Stefon

Stefon

New York's hottest club is TUNNEL. This club has everything—a chandelier room, kids with birdcages on their heads, deadbeat debutantes, a bathroom piled high with coke, space suits, teapot hats, mohawks and more!

Bonus Factor: New York City

NYC

Cat's New York is seedy, dirty and positively fascinating.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

MLD

As mentioned above, Julian has all of the necessary ingredients for an MLD: a troubled past, enigmatic motives and a gorgeous face.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Mommie Dearest

mommy dearest

Usually, when there's a terrible parent in a book, we give out the Patty Chase Award. But Cat's mom is so bad, I had to go with Mommie Dearest. I mean, we're talking wire hangers level of insanity.

Casting Call:

sophie turner

Sophie Turner as Cat

As we've seen on Game of Thrones, Sophie can play the part of a weak girl whose inner strength surprises you. That's Cat in a nutshell.

alicia b

Alicia Banit as Sara

Jordn Rodriguez

Jordan Rodrigues as Julian

Julian seems to be half Asian, half white. So the choice was obvious.

alex sgarsgard

Alexander Skarsgård as Christoph

DUH.

Relationship Status: Dancing Queens

When I spotted this book at the club, I was immediately drawn to its dark, glittering glamor. We went wild together on the dance floor, and it busted moves that both enthralled and intimidated me. Our night together was an intoxicating whirlwind of colorful characters and gripping emotion, and I'm grateful for the glimpse it gave me of New York club culture. But, while the book kept spinning and spinning on the dance floor, I knew one night was enough for me, and I was grateful to see the light of dawn creeping in under the door, signalling the end of our adventure together.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from G.P. Putnam's Sons. White Lines will be available April 4th.

Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. The founder of Forever Young Adult, Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).