This print-only review from BCCB just made it’s digital way to me this morning. Couldn’t be more proud of the Francesca Lia Block comparison!
Her mother hits her, her father has left her, but the little white lines of cocaine and the thrumming beat of house music never fail to make seventeen-year-old Cat feel alive and loved. Starting with her first visit to an underground club in New York, she has been part of the ’80s club scene, hosting themed parties, working the red ropes, deciding who’s in and who’s out. The only problem is that after night comes morning, when she has to go to school and face her daylight self. Ever since social services stepped in and determined that she couldn’t stay with her mother, she’s been living alone in a downtown apartment (paid for by her distant father), the envy of her few friends, but she’s desperately lost and lonely. Her one true friend, Sara, is worried about Cat’s drug use and her inability to stop longing for the mother she wants rather than the mother she has, while Cat is too wrapped up in her own sorrow to see the needs of her other friend, Giovanni, who has become homeless and suicidal. Banash captures the pulsing atmospherics of the ’80s club scene in minute and perfect detail, juxtaposing her descriptions of the outlandish fashions and stylized personalities against evocative, lyrical metaphors of Cat’s brittle inner life. The effect is emotionally lashing; readers can’t miss the note of desperation, sadness, and insecurity that threads through and in fact drives the relentless party scene for all the players, or that Cat’s only moments of happiness come when she’s high. The steadying presences of Sara and a new boy bring Cat back from the edge to end her story with a note of hope; give this to fans of Francesca Lia Block to see what Weetzie might have looked like on the East Coast. KC