Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Whale Unveil: White by Jennifer Banash (Interview, Excerpt and International Giveaway)

White Lines by Jennifer Banash

Interview with Jennifer Banash
Author behind "White Lines"

     Give us 3 short "Interesting facts about you" (Be Creative)
      I have perfect pitch, though I rarely sing in public. I studied photography and poetry before becoming a novelist, and I’m terrified of public speaking, which is why it’s hilarious that I ended up becoming a teacher and writer. I also really, really hate it when people call me Jen—wait, that’s four 
Books you currently have on your shelf?
   I’m reading GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn at the moment—so suspenseful, and the perfect book to   wind down with after a day of writing. I’m also rereading DANGEROUS ANGELS by Francesca Lia Block, and BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter. Weirdly enough, I don’t tend to read a lot of YA. I find it really bothers me when I’m actively working on a book—like now
     Tell us a little something about your book?
    WHITE LINES is set in the late 1980’s, and it’s about a 17 year-old girl name Cat, who works as a club kid in NYC. She comes from an abusive home, and is struggling to make it while living on her own for the first time. It’s an intense, gritty, and emotional read!
Why the 1980s?
         It’s the decade I came on age in, and it’s also a time that not a lot of YA authors have written about extensively—especially in New York. 
If “White lines” has a theme song, what will it be?
“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash or New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.”
Favorite Starbucks drink?
Umm . . . this is going to make me REALLY unpopular, but I don’t go to Starbucks unless I absolutely cannot help it—I consider it corporate evil, and I refuse to say those stupid names and sizes for all of the drinks. Just. Can’t. Do. It. But when I get coffee out, it’s always a soy latte.

We are giving away an ARC (paperback) copy of White Lines
 Special thanks to Penguin Group and Putnam Juvenile
Open Internationally

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 cafĂ© 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.


  1. Am I the only one who doesn't see the Rafflecopter form? It just says "a Rafflecopter giveaway." :/

  2. Favorite summer food: Ice cream! How can you beat Ice cream! :D Happy 4th!

  3. Chocolate ice cream!

  4. Natasha4:55 PM

    Iced coffee! Thanks for the chance to win!

  5. Lemonade all the way! Thank you for the giveaway!

  6. Favorite drink: orange juice with a lot of ice in it.
    Favorite desert: ice pops.

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  7. I big glass of Coca-Cola full of iceee!
    Thanks for the giveaway! (ileana-rafflecopter)

  8. I need to have ice-cream and ice tea in the summer!!!

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  9. Anonymous3:17 PM


  10. My favourite summer drink is ice tea.

  11. my favorite summer drink is lemonade! also: ice cream, lots of ice cream.

    thanks for the giveaway!

  12. A strawberry milkshake or iced coffee. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  13. I love Starbuck Fraps during the summer, then again I love them all year round =P

  14. I love my mom's pasta salad she makes every summer.

  15. Chocolate cake!! And for drink, I'd LOVE a coca cola!

  16. Suz Reads2:02 PM

    I love fresh fruit desserts in the summer - berry cobblers, strawberry shortcake, and watermelon! Thanks for this amazing giveaway - I would love to win!

  17. i love iced coffee

    catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

  18. Anonymous1:41 AM

    ICE CREAM paired with a piece of cake :))

  19. I sort of reaaally want this book.

    Favorite summer drink: Coca Cola; now, tomorrow, always

    Favorite Dessert: There's such a thing as just ONE? Aaam Chocolate Molten at Chilis, or a Strawberry Cheescake Shooter at Applebees.

  20. ice cream of course!! :) and anything with ice!
    thank you for the int giveaway

  21. My favourite summer drink and dessert are actually the same thing - smoothies! Thanks for the great interview and giveaway! :-)

  22. My favorite drink is lemonade.

  23. Fruit punch, chocolate milkshake, ice cream, etc.

  24. I really love strawberry lemonade =D

  25. I love HALO-HALO, only in the Philippines!


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