White Fur by Jardine Libaire

White Fur

Jardine Libaire

White Fur is a vivid, hypnotic story of a star-crossed couple, set among the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City.

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Amazon Best Book / Literature + Fiction
Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
Huffington Post “Great New Books” for Summer 2017
Vulture’s 10 Summer Reads
Kirkus’s 11 Thrillers for Summer 2017
New York Magazine’s Things to Do June 2017

A stunning star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City

When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.
The couple moves to Manhattan in search of a new life, and White Fur follows them as they wander through Newport mansions and East Village dives, WASP-establishment yacht clubs and the grimy streets below Canal Street, fighting the forces determined to keep them apart. White Fur combines the electricity of Less Than Zero with the timeless intensity of Romeo and Juliet in this searing, gorgeously written novel that perfectly captures the ferocity of young love.

Advance Galley Reviews

This book was a rare DNF for me. I rarely abandon books, but I just couldn’t plow through this one. This is a “rich upper-class boy falls in love with poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks” novel. Except that, in my opinion, neither of these characters was loveable in the least. And there was something about the writing style that made it difficult for me to get lost in the story. But what story? I read and read and absolutely nothing seemed to have happened. So unlikeable character + agonizingly slow start = I’m done. On the other hand, I see that it has received many very positive reviews, so maybe it’s just me. Thank you to Penguin books and the First to Read program for the opportunity to read and review this book in return for an honest review.

Right from the beginning, this thriller kept me on the edge of my seat as the author takes the reader back to January 1986, in Connecticut, where everything started. I really enjoyed it through the end. Thank you First to read for providing me with this ARC.

I was so disappointed in this book, could hardly get through it, I did; however finish it because I was given an ARC from First To Read, so felt that I should read it, and in hopes that it might get better - it did not sorry to say.

I started this one over the weekend and am saddened to say that I just can't get into it. There is something about the writing style that wasn't clicking for me. I may not have given it much of a chance and I've seen some rave reviews so I hope others are having better luck than me. It also may be that I'm in the mood for some other genres right now and felt like I was forcing myself to read this one which is never a good thing.

I was happy to receive an ARC of White Fur through Penguin's First to Read program. The plot synopsis intrigued me and I am always drawn to books set in 1980's NYC. I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this one. The story is so raw and gritty and real. It is shocking at times, but there are also some very sweet and tender passages. It was definitely out of my comfort zone and I felt uncomfortable reading some chapters. It's an unlikely love story between a wealthy Ivy League educated boy who grew up in Manhattan and a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. From that description, it seems like it would be such a typical read, but it is far from an ordinary tale. I think the story lost some steam after "the incident," when the focus shifted away from NYC, so I started to lose interest. This is a hard one to recommend because you have to be ok with reading some uncomfortable scenes, but I think it is a very worthwhile read. I looked up the author after I finished the book to learn more about her and I realized we went to the same college!

A 1980's spin on boy from the upper classes falls in love with girl from the wrong side of the tracks. I enjoyed this love story. Elise is not your typical New Haven citizen. She has seen it all in her young life. Born and raised in the projects she escapes to find herself and make something of her life. Jamey has life handed to him on a silver spoon. He has more money then he knows what to do with, but he is grossly unhappy. They are attracted to each other because they are so opposite. I didn't mind the obsessive relationship or the colorful sex scenes. What I did mind was that the story dragged. I get that they are in a rough spot, I get that his family doesn't approve and she has had a rough life-but make something happen already. The middle really dragged. Only in the last 30 pages did the story start to shift again to something worth reading.

While this novel may not be for everyone, I enjoyed it. It's an unlikely love story of rich-boy Jamey and off-the-streets Elise. There were parts where it felt like there was a lull in the action and nothing really "happened," but like a dull ache, it accentuated just how different these two are. The baseline of this story is sweet and real, because it's not a love-at-first-sight type of story. There is a build-up and a growth in their relationship that makes this novel sweet and real.

This story had great potential but couldn't hold my attention. I had to start over a few times, as I couldn't really remember what the book was about. I don't know if it were me or the book itself but something didn't gel together.

While Fur is about neighbors from different worlds who begin an obsessive relationship. This book had fantastic potential and I loved the themes but the execution did not work for me.

Alright guys, it looks like I'm gonna be in the minority with this one. White Fur was a long, painful slog for me. I thought this book was overwritten and vapid; the characters were loathsome and one-dimensional; and perhaps most frustratingly, there was a distinct lack of subtlety to a narrative which was anemic to begin with. Filthy rich Jamey falls in love with Elise from the wrong side of the tracks, and... they have a lot of sex. That's it. That's the book. If you're expecting a nuanced examination of class differences, keep looking, because there's none of that here. Take this passage, where Elise is meeting Jamey's family: "Elise should be a Dartmouth lacrosse star whose granddad went to Groton with Bats, and she should be bronzed from the Vineyard, lips opaquely shiny from Chapstick. So happy to meet you, Mr. Hyde! But no! Jamey is pushing forward the real Elise, in couture dress, shins bruised from basketball, cornrows latticing her lean head, feet wedged into slingbacks." Getting hit by a freight train whose sides are painted with the words THEY COME FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS may have been more subtle, but okay. And this wouldn't be quite so bad if it weren't literally the entire book. There is absolutely no depth here. Jamey is rich and handsome and discontent and restrained, and Elise is poor and crass and loud and impulsive. Jardine Libaire leaves all her cards on the table by the end of the second chapter. There is nothing left to discover about these characters when every facet of their practically non-existent personalities has been spelled out from the very first page. There's something undeniably voyeuristic about the way this story is spun. This book isn't romantic. It's gritty, dirty, raw. It's about the ugly sides of relationships, about jealousy and obsession. But that wasn't the problem, because in theory that all sounds great to me. I love books that take a conventional premise and then spin the narrative in a different direction. It's Romeo and Juliet but instead of love it's passion, lust, obsession? Cool. Sounds fun. But it wasn't. I just didn't care. Why was I suffering through the uncomfortable experience of acting as a voyeur into the lives of these two characters who bored me to tears? The answer is because I don't DNF books. That's it. That's the only thing that kept me going. There was absolutely no intrigue, and absolutely no payoff for sticking with it as long as I did. I thought the prose was terrible. It was trying so hard to come across as devil-may-care that I felt an acute sense of secondhand embarrassment for how much it did care. Each sentence felt artificially manufactured with MFA-degree precision (not that there's anything wrong with getting an MFA in creative writing, but sometimes it just shows; what should come across as effortless becomes painfully obtrusive on every page.) What we're left with isn't artistic or poignant or emotional or insightful, it's mostly just insipid. (Vaguely NSFW text ahead, this quote is taken from a sex scene.) "Jamey is starting to operate in a trance, biting his lip. He's a mystical vision of an orangutan in a nature show. He actually has the thought: I'm a monkey, and that's okay. He's got a dumb look on his face and that's okay. For a minute, an hour later, right before he comes again, with two tongues licking him like kittens, he understands everything." I'm sorry, but what is the point? Is this supposed to be profound? Sexy? Shocking? It's not any of those things. It's awkward. It's dumb. It's embarrassing. I could not stop cringing the entire time I was reading this. But in an effort of not ending on a terribly negative note: none of my Goodreads friends who have read this have given it less than 4 stars. This is clearly a matter of personal taste, so if you think this sounds like the sort of thing you'll like, give it a try! And I'm sorry for being so negative, but this is one of those books which managed to tick every item on a checklist I didn't even know I had of things I hate in fiction. Sorry White Fur, we were like oil and water from the beginning. Thank you Penguin First to Read for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Quotes are taken from an ARC galley and may be edited before publication.

The moment Elise sets her eyes on Jamey, she knows he is the one. But it is not going to be easy. Those two come from totally different worlds, even though they are neighbours in New Haven. Elise has run away from home, if that is what somebody can call a housing project, a destroyed family, a father never met, a mother that totally loves her, but is abused by her boyfriend and there is no much she can do about that. One day, Elise decided she should stop playing mother for the little children in the family, should stop depositing part of her hard work earnings to someone else’s pocket. She decided to live for herself. Jamey Baltazar Hyde is old money, junior in Yale. He and his buddy Matt have known each other since toddlers. He has been through sailing yachts to private jets, preparing himself for his heritage on the family’s investment bank, while staying away of his Hollywood actress of mother. He calls his father by his first name, Alex, as he rarely sees him, especially now that he has a brand new family according to the Hydes’ standards. The love story of Elise and Jamey is like no other. Mostly because it goes around in the eighties, when things were so decadence and crazy, but in a way so close to now. The whole story brims with 80s atmosphere all the way. The drugs that are everywhere, the cigarettes that are being smoked in and out of houses, the crazy and dangerous East Village neighborhood that brings up the beauty of New York City of the time. A classic story of old money that never experienced poverty or roughness in everyday living. The difference between the Yale student and the one that never even graduated high school as it was of highest importance to make living. The easiness to find a job, the ongoing construction, the skyscrapers that were not threatened by anything. All can be it and it can be all…

To say that White Fur was not a favorite of mine is to put it mildly. I kept thinking it would get better but it never did. I didn't like any of the characters and the story was boring. Some folks really liked it but not me. It is not often that I can't find something redeeming in a book but this unfortunately is one of them.

I had read some good reviews of this book, so based on that and the publisher's description, I was excited to read White Fur. Boy, was I disappointed. I've read a lot of books lately where not. one. single. character. is likeable. This is another one in that category. Both Elise and Jamey, along with pretty much every minor character except maybe the dog, are selfish and self-absorbed. Nobody really seems to care about anybody else, which makes the premise that Elise and Jamey are *so in love* completely unbelievable. They have zero chemistry, nothing really in common, and they don't seem to consider the other's feelings at all. Another problem that this book shares with a lot that have recently come out: NOTHING. HAPPENS. For 250 pages out of 300, we're just reading about Elise and Jamey going about their daily lives, with minor drama from Jamey's family that he doesn't even care about. It's not until the last 50 pages of the book that an actual plot occurs, and when it does, it's totally bizarre and ridiculous. I liked some of Jardine Libaire's writing - she uses some interesting metaphors and has some lovely descriptions of things - but it's inconsistent, sprinkled here and there throughout prose that's otherwise lacking any real emotion or movement.

First off it's set in the 80's. Yes, please. I was sold. But then when I got further into the book I was like um no. I get opposites attract but I didn't think they would be together. It seems like all that is coming out are re-tellings and instant love. Not a fan of either.

This book - it was good, it was a quick read for me. In one sense, I loved the characters and how they managed to stick together even when outside forces wanted to tear them apart. I liked the setting of the northeast US during the 80's - for some reason that was a plus for me. Also, the writing style was good. However, Elise and Jamey...im not too sure I see how they were attracted to each other in the first place. I found there were parts in the middle where it dragged on a bit. The ending, for me, was a bit odd as well.

White Fur is such an emotional and thrilling journey. We get to know these characters and without realizing you grow extremely attached to them. You root for them. Desperately, at times. Elise is such a captivating free spirit, and she, the one that doesn't have her life together and all, ends up teaching this young men Jamey is to be a little more free, too. Their passion and love make you go deep into their story, and you don't want to get out of it without them, you know? You don't want it to end for them, even if it has to end to you. P.S: I made an illustration of Elise, if anyone wants to see it, go to my Instagram: @aanadesenhou! Thank you for providing this digital arc, First to Read! You guys rock! :}

This was an unusual yet intriguing story. The star crossed lovers theme has been done before but this is done in a very different way. Jamey & Elise come from different worlds but are very much attracted to one another. Jamey was hesitant & ashamed of his relationship with Elise at first, only wanting to keep it sexual, but gradually comes to realize their love for what it is: real love. Elise entices him & allows him to live his life the way he chooses. This was well-written, very detailed & took an unexpected turn toward the end of the book. Jamey & Elise fought for each other & their life together proving love can conquer all. The ending seemed random & abrupt but feels like these characters will continue to live blissfully together.

Love it. Love it. Love it. I feel the 80s drip through each page. Jamey and Elise catch themselves in an unholy relationship. Class intends to keep them apart, but they draw themselves closer to each other without rhyme or reason. Highly recommend. The only con I have is that I wish Libaire used courage by making Elise a woman of color. The nuances are all there. She loses a good opportunity to deepen why others divide themselves on their union. I rated this 4 out of 5.

White Fur by Jardine Libaire takes place during the 1980s and is an original take on Romeo and Juliet. Elise Perez has not had a privileged life and has run away from her single mother and siblings to try to survive on her own—life is not easy for her. Jamey Hyde appears to have lived a life of ease or so the reader believes. Elise and Jamey become unlikely neighbours and ‘friends’. Their relationship is complicated, disturbing and raw. This quick read is filled with unexpected and disturbing twists and turns. The revelations expose their emotional fragility. The author deals with many issues including peer pressure, family expectations, racism, drug abuse, and mental illness. Liberia’s New Adult Romance is not a feel-good fairytale. Is a happily ever after possible for Elise and Jamey?

Elise Perez was brought up living in the housing projects, uneducated and left home at an early age. While she was living with a friend, she met neighbor, Jamey Hyde, a student at Yale and son of a prominent, wealthy and famous family. Elise and Jamey hook quickly and start a casual sex relationship. Jamey keeps his friendship with Elise hidden from his social circle but Elise tries to get Jamey to fall in love with her. The relationship is pretty much based on sex. Also there is a lot of sex in the book but it’s not erotically written, so it’s not that type of book. I wouldn’t say that this book could be compared to as a Romeo and Juliet or Pretty Woman kind of book. I tried to like Elise, but she was so low class and embarrassing, I just cringed reading and hoped it got better. I was really pulling for Elise to better herself but when Jamey finally introduced Elise to his family, it made me cringe even more. It’s like driving by a car wreck and you can’t help but watch to see if anyone was hurt. The book was well written but the story, to me, was painful to read. The ending of the book threw me way off and I ended up thinking WTF?

I could not even get through half of this book. While it might be right for someone, that someone is not me. I found little to like in the characters. A bit too raunchy. I just couldn't get up the desire to root for them.

This was a most unusual story which actually made it very intriging. The main characters, who were lovers could not have been more different. He came from a wealthy well to do family and she was raised in the projects. The attraction started out as just physical, at least for him but eventually changed into much more. His family objected strongly to his relationship but he did not let that change anything. This was a very well written book as well as being very sexual in its detail. Even though it is not the kind of thing I normally read I definitely recommend it.

This story was strange. The being said, something made me keep reading and finish the story, so I can't say I completely hated it. For a story about a relationship, it wasn't all that romantic, and the ending felt very abrupt. It is well-written, I just think the story wasn't really for me. It wasn't what I expected, but it's worth a read.

It took me a while to get into this story. It seemed like it was drawn into the sexual only and that it was predominantly about life on the street. As the story unfolded, I was captured by the strength and power of the love between Elise and Jamey. They both come from different backgrounds and lifestyles, but it is inevitable that they will become entwined and drawn together. Jamey lowers down into her lifestyle and is able to find his authentic self. At the turning point in the story, Elise feels that she has lost her love to madness. She takes him away with her and he returns to her. This was a different style of book to what I am used to, but I found a lot of beauty in the unexpected.


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