Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Spotlight: White Lines by Jennifer Banash

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White Lines
Jennifer Banash
Release date: April 2013
by Putnam Juvenile


A gritty, atmospheric coming-of-age tale set in New York’s Lower East Side

Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream—she has her own apartment on New York’s 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 her real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream.

The sounds of the city grate against Cat’s nerves, she shrinks away from human touch, and can barely think the words “I love you” even when she feels them. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father who’s found happiness in another woman, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But then someone comes along who makes her want to stop escaping her life and actually live it, only 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.

Doesn’t this sound like a fantastic, gritty contemp story? I think so. I’ve been loving contemporaries so much lately it’s such an awesome change from all the dystopians and paranormals so I’m very excited for this release! With this cover and blurb reveal, I also have an excerpt for you as well as an entertaining interview with Jennifer that I think you will really enjoy. Then(!!) you even get a chance to win an ARC of this pretty! Right? Wicked awesome day!


I’M SITTING ON THE STONE STEPS at school, pretending to enjoy an apple that I bought from an Asian grocery a few blocks over, when all I’m really thinking about is how long I have left until I can go home and start getting ready for the club, every stroke of makeup on my skin sliding me further from daylight. I tongue the white flesh and sink my teeth in, wishing the ripe fruit was the tanned blond head of one of the salad girls.
     Since Manhattan Prep is housed in a brownstone and has a population of only one hundred students or fewer in the entire school, we don’t have a cafeteria. Or a prom. Or dances. Or phys ed. Instead, the Park Avenue girls buy salads at a cafeteria next door and sit in the glass atrium picking at their wilted greens, retouching their lip gloss with sticky pink wands. Even though we are all essentially weird in some way— after all, this is a school for kids who have gotten into some kind of trouble—it’s not enough to banish cliques completely. We still have the same bullshit categories as any other school: the jocks, the popular girls, the nerds. And the untouchables.
     Like me. It goes without saying that nobody wants to have lunch with the weirdo who goes to clubs all the way downtown every night, so I sit on the steps and try to pretend that it doesn’t matter, when really, I’d do just about anything to have a friend here. This silent admission makes my cheeks flush with shame. How can I be so weak? Even at Nightingale, I only ever really had Sara, her blond curls hanging over my shoulder, elaborately folded notes tossed at my feet during study hall. Somehow, it was almost enough. But here, with no one to talk to day after day, the loneliness creeps in like an old friend I no longer want to know. Worse yet, it wants to make small talk. Oh, it’s you again? How’ve you been?
     Across the street, Julian, the new kid, sits on the curb in front of Ray’s Pizza, a slice dangling from one hand. As he brings the pizza to his lips, the cheese falls off in one giant greasy slide to his lap. Julian has long dark hair that hangs to his shoulders and looks as if it hasn’t made friends with soap or water in days. His skin is the color of café au lait, and there’s something about the tilt of his eyes that makes me think he’s vaguely Asian. He wears jeans so tight that I’m sure years from now he’ll be sitting in some clinic with his frosty blond wife, stammering that he has no idea WHY they’ve had such a difficult time starting a family. All I know about Julian is that (a) he sits right across the aisle from me in history class, and (b) he transferred from Dalton last week after some kind of scandal involving his ex-girlfriend, and (c) he’s totally into the Ramones. He doesn’t talk to anyone, and never raises his hand in class, just stares down at his binder and scribbles what looks like pictures of Transformers on the cover with a black pen.
     Julian finishes scraping melted cheese off his jeans and looks up, an irritated expression clouding his face. When his eyes meet mine, I feel a rough shock of recognition between us and raise my apple core in a kind of demented greeting, the air suddenly as thick as pudding. Julian tosses me a curt nod and promptly goes back to stuffing the rest of the slice into his mouth, gnawing hungrily at the edges of the crust, watching me all the while. Even though I love staring, and I think that generally other people’s lives are way more interesting than TV, I feel uneasy as Julian’s eyes lock on to mine. My face burns as he chews the last bite and brushes his hands against his black jeans before walking toward me. I turn the apple core over and over between my palms, my heart careening in my chest as he approaches, glad that my hands have something to do even if the core is damp, sticky, and turning browner by the minute. As Julian moves closer, I can’t help but notice how he shakes the hair from his eyes with one expert, jagged motion, how his hazel eyes change from green to brown in the light His skin is smooth and slightly bronzed, as if he’s just returned from some exotic locale. He tilts his chin in my direction defiantly, his eyes flicking coolly over my body, taking me in.
     “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—especially if that person happens to be a guy. And up close, Julian is definitely interesting—though it makes my stomach churn spasmodically to even think the word to myself. People are dangerous, unpredictable. I know this implicitly, and every time I come into contact with them, I become a caged animal, a panther pacing back and forth behind steel bars, wary and agitated.
     “Yeah,” I stammer, turning redder by the second and wishing that a manhole would just open up and swallow me whole. I look down at my black boots and scramble for something to say, my brain a jumble of images, none that entirely make sense. “Your pizza—I was just . . . hungry.”
The minute the words leave my lips, I know they are the truth. My stomach begins to growl loudly as if in agreement, and I look up into Julian’s amused face and laugh, my voice echoing in the street, too loud, even with the noise of a passing bus belching a thick cloud of black smoke. As the sound vibrates through me, jolting me into the present, I realize that it’s been forever since I’ve laughed at something legitimately funny or awkward without being prompted by the ingestion of some mind-altering substance. Still, I can’t quite turn off that ever-present voice inside my head, the one that holds up an invisible hand to stop me from going further, from moving closer.
     People are dangerous . . .
     “Well,” Julian says, laughing along with me and holding out a hand, “that’s remedied easily enough. C’mon.”
I stare at his hand, the long fingers, and look into his eyes, which I can now see are flecked with gold. I toss my apple core to the concrete and take hold of him, ignoring the voice that begins, even now, to protest more loudly, whispering like a flock of ruffled birds, Don’t touch, don’t trust. I draw a deep breath and follow him blindly across the street, unsure of where I’m being taken.

Interview with Jennifer Banash
Q. As White Lines is set in New York City and I read in your bio that you were raised there yourself, what do you love the most about this city?

I love the energy of it, the pace, the way everyone is always rushing around so they don’t miss THE NEXT BIG THING!  I live in Los Angeles now, and it’s a totally different vibe–much more relaxed–almost comatose 🙂  I love the people, the ambition, the noise–I just love everything about it. I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else.

Q. I know a lot of us are going to NYC next year for BEA, what tips would you give someone who’s never gone to the city?

Don’t take taxis–always use the subway!  you’ll get where you need to go twice as fast.

Q. Can you share any fun stories about living in NYC?

I once threw up half of a lime on Cher–don’t ask 🙂  Also, I used to live next to the Hell’s Angels headquarters on the Lower East Side, and every July 4th, they would have a huge party where they would block off the street, build a grandstand, and have bands play heavy metal music all night long. The last July 4th I lived there, they got a bit too overzealous with the fireworks, and threw one in the courtyard of my apartment, shattering my glass door completely. The next morning around 9 AM, they politely knocked on my front door, gave me a coffee from the deli on the corner, and proceeded to fix my door with a new sheet of glass.

Q. In a time filled with dystopians and paranormals, what made you decide to write a more gritty coming-of-age tale?

Because I’m completely burned out on dystopians and paranormals, and I know there are a lot of people who feel the same way. The books that meant the most to me in my youth were always the coming-of-age stories, and the grittier the better–books like THE CATCHER IN THE RYE and LESS THAN ZERO.

Q. What can we expect from Cat as a protagonist?

Honesty, heartache, and, hopefully, redemption.

Q. What are your plans after White Lines?

I’m currently working on my next book, SILENT ALARM, which is about a school shooting in the Midwest, told through the eyes of the shooter’s 16 year old sister.

CHER!! I laughed so hard during this interview! This was so much fun! Thank you so much for dropping by and having Xpresso Reads be a part of your cover reveal, Jennifer!
Jennifer’s Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
Jennifer Banash was born and raised in New York City. She now lives in Southern California with her beagle, Sigmund, and her vast collection of designer shoes. I am the author of the Young Adult novel, WHITE LINES, forthcoming from G.P Putnam and Sons in April, 2013, as well as the three-book series THE ELITE, published by Berkley Jam. which includes the titles THE ELITE, IN TOO DEEP, and SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE.

The lovely people at Penguin Books for Young Readers have generously offered up one ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of White Lines for giveaway
Open internationally (as long as the winner is reachable via UPS)
Giveaway ends July 26th, 2012
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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137 Responses to “Spotlight: White Lines by Jennifer Banash”

  1. Vivien

    While I’m not burned out on Dystopian fiction 🙂 I’m always interested in reading a coming of age novel. They tend to make me really nostalgic. Always refreshing.

  2. lisseth

    WOW! I had not heard of this book & Spotlighting it was good because I would have missed a great contemporary read! The cover & synopsis sound AWESOME!

  3. Candace

    This book sounds really good! I love books with a NYC setting.
    I need to know the Cher story. Seriously. So curious!
    I grew up in Sturgis, SD. Home of the motorcycle rally. The hells angels have a bad Rep but honestly they were some of the best customers. They tipped well and weren’t rude. Compared to so many others they seemed like stand up guys.

    Thanks for the giveaway, cant wait to read this!

  4. Lexie

    I actually kind of love that cover. It’s very simple, but it fits the premise perfectly. Dark and plain and real. Definitely going on my TBR list.

  5. Mary @ BookSwarm

    This one sounds wild and dark! I love the idea of an NYC club kid confronting her issues. And that story about the Hell’s Angels–that was great! Hard-partying pussycats. 🙂

  6. april_hunter24

    The cover looks amazing, a lot better than the books with a girl in a long dress on the cover. I’m really liking dystopian novels right now so this books sounds just like something I would like. Thanks for the giveaway !

  7. Amy

    I am really looking forward to this book. It sounds great!! I have been really into contemporary lately too, especially darker ones. That was a great interview!!

  8. Erin

    I love the way that she talks about NYC, I think that alone will make this a fun book. Thanks for the chance to win. 🙂

  9. Hannah Doermann

    I kind of love this cover. At first look, it looked like just another pretty face cover, but I love the starkness of the black and white picture. And the purple font is awesome 🙂 I love how NYC-enthusiastic the author is – I love books set in NYC! Can’t wait for this book 😀

  10. Nick

    Sounds very interesting ! I can’t wait to read this, but I can’t believe we have to wait until 2013 ! >.<
    Oh well, I’ll just have to learn to be patient. 😀

  11. Alexa

    This is such a fun interview! Plus, I think it’s awesome that Jennifer grew up in New York City and wrote a book set there. It’s the best city in the world (and clearly, I’m biased) and I love living here!

  12. Shooting Stars Mag

    I LOVE contemporary novels. I like to read a variety of things, but contemp will always be my favorite and it’s mostly what I read growing up too. This novel sounds awesome and excellent interview, Giselle! Silent Alarm sounds fab too. I’ve always been fascinated by school shootings and I love reading fictional accounts of it.


  13. Sam

    I hadn’t heard of this before but it sounds fantastic! It just went straight onto my TBR pile. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the excerpt!

  14. London Judge

    Loved everything about this post! I am definitely adding White Lines to my TBR pile, thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  15. Chapter by Chapter

    I enjoy a really good contemp. every now and then! This one sounds like it should be a pretty interesting read. Great interview! I’m dying to go to NYC one day, and from my friends who have gone, they say the same thing…subway over taxi. Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. Addie R.

    I’m getting much more into contemps too! And this one sounds really gritty and emotional. Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint!

  17. Mimi Valentine

    Oh, Giselle, I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and it sounds SO COOL! I don’t know if I would’ve ever found it on my own, but now I’m definitely excited to get my hands on it 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing, Giselle! <3

  18. Jessie

    OOooh, this sounds good. How have I never heard of this one before? A nice contemporary coming of age story sounds good – and set in New York! Double plus! Thanks for bringing it my attention!

  19. Danielle B!

    I love the cover! I like how the cover model’s eyes pop! Plus I’m a sucker for black and white covers with a pop of color. Thanks for the giveaway! 😀

  20. Angy

    The cover looks cool, really different from other books. The purple is really unusual to use, but it stands out, I like it !


  21. Badass Bookie

    I really feel like the cover ties in with the novel! Cat sounds fierce and the girl on the cover looks badass. And Cat’s life sounds amazing, but not just that it feels like she’s a character that everyone can relate to in one way or another ! SO KEEN! 🙂

  22. _Sandra_

    Great interview! And such an interesting book and story, can’t wait to get a chance to read it. Thanks for a great giveaway! 🙂

  23. Gaby

    OMG when I first saw the cover I was like “Oh wow that one pretty cover”, but when I read the summary I was like “Ok this is so going on my TRL”
    I am dying to read this book.

  24. Mindy

    The cover is nice. I don’t think I would of picked it up on cover alone. But after reading the interview and the synopsis. I have changed my mind.

  25. FreakChiq

    The cover is really eye-catching and I love the font and the fact that it’s purple (it’s my favorite color). 😉

    White Lines sounds like a great coming of age novel. Thanks so much for the chance to win an arc!

  26. Sarah (The Book Life)

    I love that the cover is all greys with the bright purple title text, front and center! I’m also a die hard contemp fan, so I love that this is one, and it definitely sounds intense :0)

  27. Christina

    The cover looks so familiar to me for some reason. There’s another cover like it and I can’t remember what book. Driving me bonkers!

  28. Meg K.

    Great interview, Giselle! What we can expect from Cat really makes me want to read this book. Plus, it has a gorgeous cover. 😉

  29. Nancye

    This sounds like a very interesting book! I doubt that I would’ve been able to live on my own at that young age!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  30. bookworm105

    I think that the cover is eye catching ’cause of the purple against white and grey. I would love to have it on my shelf! =D

    Thanks for he giveaway! =D

  31. Deea

    Awesome! I actually am a little burned out on dystopians and paranormals (I’ve been reading more contemps lately too), so I’m looking forward to this story. And I like the cover, it gives it an intense, dramatic feeling.

    Also, it was fun reading about Jennifer’s real life NYC experiences!:))

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  32. andrea b

    I found out about this book today and it’s going on my 2013 wishlist because I’m really curious about NYC in the 80s and liked the excerpt!

    thanks for the giveaway!

  33. Maji Bookshelf

    First off, this cover is GORGEOUS! and the story.. sounds like it will be a great coming of age story! Those always make my heart cozy 😀
    – Farah @MajiBookshelf

  34. Helen Keeble

    This sort of thing isn’t usually my cup of tea, but I found something about the excerpt rather compelling. Will have to check this one out! Always good to broaden one’s reading horizons, after all…

  35. Juliana Dias

    I liked what she said about wanting to write a coming of age book. I LOVE dystopian, but lately it seems it’s all there is in bookstores. I really love when contemporany novels get love 🙂

  36. Rabiah

    Half a lime on Cher? Sounds like a great story 🙂 Can’t wait to read this one– sounds amazing! 😀 Great interview and thanks for the amazing giveaway!

  37. medinahusa

    the cover just catches your eye and sets the mood for the story that sounds really interesting. It’s always the cover that pulls you in and the contrasting colors, the purple with the black and white dramatic background really catch your eye.

  38. Dinky

    I really love the cover. This book looks as great contemporary story! (: I can´t wait to read this. Thank you soo much for this awesome interview and giveaway (:

  39. Violette

    I love this cover and thanks so much for the interview! This one sounds like it will have me really feeling it after I read it. I love that. 😀

  40. Louise

    Great spotlight, this book sounds really good! The excerpt has me really interested in reading and the interview was fun to read. Thanks for the awesome giveaway 🙂

  41. oriana

    its the first time that I hear about this book, and I like the excerpt, the cover too, i mean it match with all the “white” theme

  42. Denise Z

    I have always wanted to go to NYC and see the hustle and bustle and lights. Someday I will go and see the setting of this very intriguing read. Thank you for sharing with us today. I am looking forward to reading White Lines 🙂

  43. Daizymoon

    While I enjoy dystopian and paranormal, it is very refreshing to change things up a bit. I can’t wait to read this book and I find it’s cover very unique.

  44. SweetMarie83

    I can’t wait to read this book! The more I hear about it, the more I want to read it. It sounds like the exact type of thing I would love. Thanks for a chance to win!

  45. Tiff Pull

    The cover is what initally drew me to the book. I love that Jennifer always uses the subway. When ever I’m in New York I always use the subway.

  46. May

    The cover looks great. I like how it’s black and white and then the purple text. Just looking at it you can tell that book is going to be a real, raw novel. If that makes sense. Great interview 🙂