After much deliberation and thought we have decided to move Lit Snit. We hope you’ll follow us over to our new digs (you can click on the image below) where you’ll find more reviews, book club discussions, and our Casting Call Fridays!  If you’ve been gracious enough to add us to your blog roll or to your RSS feed please update your link.

Thanks and we’re looking forward to seeing you at our new site!

In this edition of Casting Call Friday, we’ve decided to cast The Perks of Being a Wallflower by author Stephen Chbosky.

Let’s check out the plot and cast & crew:


The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the story of a boy (Charlie), who takes us through the life of a high school freshman in a series of anonymously addressed letters. The world he opens to us is funny and scary and shocking, and the set of characters he introduces to us never fail to amaze and amuse, as they all experience love, sex, drugs, violence, angst and all other adolescent adventures. [Click here to read the LitSnit review.]


List of Characters:

Character: Charlie

Charlie is a bit of an enigma. He can be both extroverted and introverted, both completely charismatic and a complete weirdo. He is very emotional and observant of everyone around him. A lot of what he does it defined by the people he’s surrounded by.

Casting Call Callback: Anton Yelchin –Movies he starred in that we loved: Terminator Salvation, Star Trek, Alpha Dog.

Character: Sam

Sam is the self-assured teenage love interest of Charlie. He is repeatedly amazed by her physical and inner beauty. She never plays games and is never dismissive of Charlie’s issues or emotions.

Casting Call Callback: Kate Mara – Movies she starred in that we loved: Brokeback Mountain, Transsiberian.

Character: Patrick

Patrick is Charlie’s first homosexual friend. Although not closeted about it, Patrick does encounter a number of problems because of his sexual orientation. Another tortured character, Patrick is an integral part Charlie’s own sexual experimentation.

Casting Call Callback: John Patrick Amedori – Movies he starred in that we loved Stick It, TiMER.

Character: Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is the first girl Charlie dates. She is an outspoken feminist and is quite assertive in the relationship she pursues with Charlie.

Casting Call Callback: April Pearson – Movies she starred in that we loved: none. But she was simply amazing in the TV show Skins.

Character: Bill

Bill is a young high school English teacher. He is well educated and believes in his students, especially Charlie. He tries to nurture Charlie’s wring talent by making him read all sorts of literary classics..

Casting Call Callback: Austin Nichols – Movies he starred in that we loved: Glory Road (and we’ll never forget him as Julian Baker in One Tree Hill)


The National “Green Gloves

Massive Attack “Teardrop

Note: The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie is in the works. As of now, not much is know about the cast and crew. Click here to view the latest information on this project.

Summary: (from Amazon) Isabelle Goodrow thought her move to the small mill town of Shirley Falls would be temporary-just until she decided in which direction she wanted her life to head. Now her daughter, Amy, has fallen in love with her high school math teacher, and he takes advantage of the teen’s infatuation. When the relationship is discovered, Isabelle is furious with her daughter but also a little jealous that Amy has found sexual fulfillment while she has not. As mother and daughter try to rebuild the trust and closeness they once shared, the private secrets of many citizens of Shirley Falls are revealed.

Review: Beautifully bleak. That’s how I would describe Elizabeth Strout’s Amy and Isabelle.

“Now an OPRAH WINFREY PRESENTS Movie on ABC”  the cover screams and I quickly think “No good can come from this”. The only Oprah TV movie I’ve actually liked was The Women of Brewster Place and that was over (CRINGE) fifteen years ago.

This book moved me for reasons that I may not be able to articulate. Both mother and daughter, Amy and Isabelle Goodrow, live pretty boring & isolated lives. Isabelle (the mother) goes from work to home. She has no friends, she doesn’t keep in contact with family. She hasn’t managed to quite fit in at her job, a job she’s had for over 15 years. All she has is Amy. Her sole existence is work and Amy.

In the beginning Amy’s existence was the same. She goes from school to home. She has one friend, Stacy, with whom she smokes cigarettes with at lunch. She doesn’t fit in with anyone else. She has no contact with anyone other than her mother. At 16, this is especially hard because this an age where you are curious about everything. You’re on the brink of adulthood, you want to know what life really is…and that’s in any location. So imagine your awakening taking place in a small judgmental town similar to Cheers where everybody knows your name.

It’s rough.

So when Amy’s teacher, Mr. Robertson shows her a bit of attention, when he seems to understand her love for poetry, her need to just talk to someone, Amy feels alive. She’s no longer going through the motions. There’s this older man who listens to what she has to say. Who wants to meet with her everyday after school. Who enjoys her company. Who desires her. That’s a powerful thing. It is this new relationship, discovered with Amy in a compromising position,  that tears mother and daughter apart.

This is not a book dedicated to a LeTourneau-like story. Mr. Robinson is not the focus of this story. He instead is used to reveal the longings of both these women. It is his presence that finally allows us to see their suffering, to learn their secrets, to reveal the cracks in this relationship.

I liked this book a lot. I like that Strout took her time telling this story, that it just naturally evolved. She hasn’t used tricks. There were no twists and turns…it’s a simple yet well told story about the suffering of two women so close, but so far apart.  She peels layer after layer until we see that while these two women love each other, they haven’t developed a close enough relationship to like each other. They’re family but not friends.

The best part of how she does this is her use of the Goodrow women’s community. Their interaction helps define who they are and why for the reader, and helps each character to develop their own sense of self-awareness. Her use of the community , which is so vividly real, and her story of this relationship is a wonderful read.

LitSnit Verdict: B+

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie
St Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 31, 2010

Goodreads: Andie Miller is ready to move on in life. She wants to marry her fiance and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband, North Archer. But when Andie tries to gain closure with him, he asks one final favor of her before they go their separate ways forever. A very distant cousin of his has died and left North as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already, and things are getting worse. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything…
When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children, Carter and Alice, aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house where they live is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What’s worse, Andie’s fiance thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back, and he may be right. Andie’s dreams have been haunted by North since she arrived at the old house. And that’s not the only haunting…
What follows is a hilarious adventure in exorcism, including a self-doubting parapsychologist, an annoyed medium, her Tarot-card reading mother, an avenging ex-mother-in-law, and, of course, her jealous fiance. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get more complicated, North shows up on the doorstep making her wonder if maybe this time things could be different between them.
If Andie can just get rid of all the guests and ghosts, she’s pretty sure she can save the kids, and herself, from the past. But fate might just have another thing in mind…

Jennifer Crusie is, hands down, my favorite comedic romance writer.  The first Crusie book I read was Bet Me and it was pure magic. I remember reading it back to back & then taking it back to the library only to check it out again a few days later because I needed to read it one more time. Not only did I take that one out, I took out every Crusie book the library had and spent the weekend engrossed.

It has been SIX YEARS since Jennifer Crusie published her last book (those anthologies & books with Bob Mayer don’t count!) and I’m glad I don’t have to wait any longer. At the end of this month I will have in my hand what I hope will be another sweet, hot and funny read. Welcome back, Jennifer Crusie! I’ve missed you!

 *Waiting on Wednesday is an ingenious idea hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Summary: (from the back cover) New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat …and more. New to town, Beatrice is expecting her new best friend to be one of the girls she meets on the first day. You know the type: very cheery, very friendly, very average. But instead, the alphabet conspires to seat her next to Jonah, aka Ghost Boy, a quiet observer who hasn’t made a new friend since third grade. He’s not a big fan of people in general…but he’s willing to make an exception for her. Maybe.

Bea and Jonah are not going to have a friendship like other people have a friendship, where it’s all based on gossip and parties and what everybody else thinks. Instead, their friendship comes form truth-bound conversations, shared secrets, daring stunts, and late-night calls to the same old-timer radio show. They help each other and hurt each other, push away and hold close. It’s not romance, exactly – but it’s definitely love. And that means more to them than either one can ever really know…

For anyone who’s ever entered the wonderful, treacherous, consuming, meaningful world of true friendship, How to Say Goodbye in Robot will strike a deep and lasting chord.

Review: Beatrice Szebo (affectionately known as Bea or Robot Girl) is a 17 year-old girl imposed to the gypsy lifestyle by her father, a biology professor who is always on the lookout for better staff positions. This translates into a string of family relocations, the latest of which takes Bea from Ithaca, NY to Baltimore, MD. Once there, Bea is promptly enrolled an uber-preppy high school attended by the city’s riches and brightest. Initially, her school life resumes as usual; Bea’s classmates seem friendly but shallow, allowing her to adopt her typical semi-outcast demeanor. But then, purely by happenstance, Bea meets Jonah Tate (not-so-affectionately known as Ghost Boy). Desiring to be the exemplary high school outcast, Jonah always eats lunch alone and has a policy of ignoring everyone…everyone except for Bea.

Jonah and Bea click instantly, brought together by a common fascination with a quirky late night radio talk show called the Night Lights where participation is always welcome and anyone can assume any identity. As the teens begin to make new friends over the FM wavelengths, they find much needed acceptance and a new, more welcoming niche in the world. Slowly, they start to transform into the happiest people they have ever been-a pair of misfits that perfectly fit one another.

Then, out of nowhere, Jonah’s life is completely altered when he receives a unexpected message from his twin brother, Matthew. Without going into any spoiler details, the sudden reappearance of Matthew has a staggering impact on the whole plot. Driven by their desire to uncover Matthew’s mysterious predicament as well as rescue him from it, Jonah and Bea turn into a pair of high school sleuths, performing undercover operations that include gender altering disguises complete with wigs, fake IDs and a few other things.

This seem like fun adventures at first, but it isn’t. Jonah has a lot at stake, much more than Bea could ever know, and as the plot takes one last sharp turn south, the Krazy Glue-like love that Bea and Jonah have for each other is no longer enough to pin him to the happiness they once shared. There is a falling-out and Jonah retreats into himself, deeper than ever, too deep for Robot Girl’s reach.

I really liked this book. Jonah and Bea are a great pair of imperfect teen characters. I didn’t like them most of the time but I loved them all of the time. It was their platonic love for each that did it. Their relationship, which I can only liken to a mixture of what siblings and soul-mates have, was wonderful. Every time Jonah disappeared, I felt the hole, the missing piece in Bea. But how do you make room for a new soul-mate when you already have one in your twin brother? Standiford answers that question by conjuring up a most interesting conclusion. A conclusion that is eqaul parts splendid and savage. At least those are the words that came to me as I read it.

I was also impressed by the supporting characters in the book. Standiford didn’t do anything groundbreaking by including a semi-depressed mother, a workaholic father and sting of shallow high school classmates, but she used all of them advantageously. They weren’t over-dramatized, and so I never got bored or exasperated when they popped up here and there inside the plot.

Finally, I have to give a shout-out to the designers of this book, particularly the ones who worked on the layout of the pages. The cover is nice, but the inside of the book is really beautiful. That gave my reading experience a bit of a kick.

Lit Snit Verdict: B (I do want to give this book an A, but I hold back because I feel it lacks a certain conventionality. Objectively speaking, I just don’t think everyone will see what I saw in it. So it’s a personal A and a Lit Snit B)

We hope you enjoyed our July Lit Snit Book Club selection, The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I found some reading group questions at her website, so we’ll use these as a starting point to our discussion.  Feel free to veer off topic or pose your own questions!

1. Who was your favorite character? Why?

2. What do you think motivated Hilly? On the one hand she is terribly cruel to Aibileen and her own help, as well as to Skeeter once she realizes that she can’t control her. Yet she’s a wonderful mother. Do you think that one can be a good mother but, at the same time, a deeply flawed person?

3. Like Hilly, Skeeter’s mother is a prime example of someone deeply flawed yet somewhat sympathetic. She seems to care for Skeeter–and she also seems to have very real feelings for Constantine. Yet the ultimatum she gives to Constantine is untenable; and most of her interaction with Skeeter is critical. Do you think Skeeter’s mother is a sympathetic or unsympathetic character? Why?

4. How much of a person’s character would you say is shaped by the times in which they live?

5. Did it bother you that Skeeter is willing to overlook so many of Stuart’s faults so that she can get married, and that it’s not until he literally gets up and walks away that the engagement falls apart?

6. Do you believe that Minny was justified in her distrust of white people?

7. Do you think that had Aibileen stayed working for Miss Elizabeth, that Mae Mobley would have grown up to be racist like her mother? Do you think racism is inherent, or taught?

8. From the perspective of a twenty-first century reader, the hairshellac system that Skeeter undergoes seems ludicrous. Yet women still alter their looks in rather peculiar ways as the definition of “beauty” changes with the times. Looking back on your past, what’s the most ridiculous beauty regimen you ever underwent?

9. The author manages to paint Aibileen with a quiet grace and an aura of wisdom about her. How do you think she does this?

10. Do you think there are still vestiges of racism in relationships where people of color work for people who are white? Have you heard stories of parents who put away their valuable jewelry before their nanny comes? Paradoxically, they trust the person to look after their child but not their diamond rings?

11. What did you think about Minny’s pie for Miss Hilly? Would you have gone as far as Minny did for revenge?

I hemmed and hawed over my choice for this week’s Casting Call Friday.  I had zero inspiration for what to cast this week until, perusing my bookshelves, I stumbled upon an old favorite by Megan Crane.

Here’s a quick summary (via Goodreads)

Meredith McKay has gone to a lot of trouble to create the picture-perfect life for herself far away from her troublesome family, thank you. When her fathers car accident forces her back to her hometown, however, she soon discovers that there’s no running away from family issues —there’s only delaying the inevitable. Can anyone sort out a lifetime of drama in one hot summer? Throw in a hot guy from back in high school with an ax to grind, a best friend turned enemy turned soon-to-be-sister-in-law, and of course, the sometimes irritating, sometimes delightful members of her own family, and Meredith is on her way to figuring out that a trip through the past is the best way to move forward. With one revelation after another coming to light, Meredith must reexamine all the things shes ever believed, including the truth about herself. Could it be that she isnt the picture-perfect good girl she always thought she was?

Meredith McKay – Meredith is your classic “good girl” that always tries to make everyone else happy. Growing up with her brother and Jeannie, she’s always been the nice girl, apologizing for their antics.  After moving away she finds a job she doesn’t really like and falls into a relationship with a guy who’s seemingly perfect for her, but she doesn’t really love.  It’s not until she’s forced to move back home to care for her injured father does she realize that she needs to start living the life she wants.

Rachel McAdams has the perfect “the girl next door” attitude and ability to play an adorable frazzled, put upon Meredith.

Scotty Sheridan – The former butt of the McKay family’s jokes, once gawky and the class “loser, Scott has grown into a confident, clever county prosecutor.  He’s had a long-time crush on Meredith, but has a lot of resentment for the way she, Jeannie, and Christian treated him.

Matthew Goode would be fantastic as the tall, dark, handsome Scott Sheridan, quietly pining over Meredith, but using his snarky sense of humor to push her buttons.

Jeannie Gillespie – Meredith’s former best friend and soon-to-be sister in law, Jeannie likes to be in control and the center of attention.  She’s funny, confident, and fiercely loyal to the McKay family.

Katherine Heigl is the perfect Jeannie.  Controlling, slightly passive-aggressive and sometimes she can be catty, but Jeannie would do anything for her friends and family.

Christian McKay – Meredith’s handsome lawyer older brother is a type-A personality and, like Jeannie, is used to Meredith going along with most of his plans (including taking a sabbatical from her job to take care of their father).  Christian doesn’t take surprises well and is used to getting his way.

Adam Scott has the right kind of sarcastic attitude plus the ability to play both characters that can be jerks (see Stepbrothers/Leap Year) and characters that are sweet and sympathetic (see The Vicious Kind/Parks and Recreation)

Hope McKay – The youngest of the McKay clan, Hope is the antithesis of Meredith.  Hope does what she wants, others be damned.  She’s got a dry, quick wit and tries to break Meredith out of her passive, “good girl” shell.

Mae Whitman has the disaffected youth personality down pat and would be awesome as the irreverent, hilarious Hope.

Father McKay – I couldn’t find a name for the patriarch of the McKays, since he’s mostly referred to as Dad, but he’s quiet and unassuming, and it’s easy to see where Meredith gets her eagerness to please.  He’s got a basement aquarium that he spends most of his time and energy on, much to the dismay of his children.

Richard Jenkins just is this character in my head.  He’s perfect for this sweet, but kind of sad character.

What do you think?  Agree/disagree?  I want to hear your thoughts on who would be perfect for this fun, charming book.

Courtesy of Goodreads: Much-heralded and long awaited, Terry McMillan’s tour-de-force novel introduces the Price family-matriarch Viola, her sometimes-husband Cecil, and their four adult kids, each of whom sees life-and one another-through thick and thin, and entirely on their own terms. With her hallmark exuberance and cast of characters so sassy, resilient, and full of life that they breathe, dream, and shout right off the page, the author of the phenomenal best-sellers Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back has given us a novel that takes us ever-further into the hearts, minds, and souls of America-and gives us six more friends we never want to leave.

First let me start off by saying that when I opened up this book to find an extended family tree on the first two pages, I immediately became a little nervous.  No one wants to interrupt their reading experience by constantly referring to the legend at the front of the book.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to.

In A Day Late and A Dollar Short, Terry McMillan paints the picture of a dysfunctional family just trying to make it day by day. There’s Viola, the matriarch, who starts the book off by suffering a nearly fatal asthma attack. There’s Cecil, her (soon to be ex) husband, who has left Viola and is living with another (younger) woman across town. Then there are their children: Paris, Janelle, Lewis and Charlotte, each with their own set of problems.

This story is told from six perspectives, which initially makes it difficult to enjoy. The chapters are not labeled by name so it takes you a minute to realize who is speaking.  Unfortunately, this is consistent throughout the entire book. While each character’s story is engaging, the fact that each one doesn’t have their own distinctive voice makes it a bit bothersome. Added to this is the fact that the chapters are long-winded, trying to cram every detail making certain parts of this story repetitive.

Even with those problems, I still really enjoyed this book. McMillan has created wonderfully complex characters that are constantly challenged, exploring exactly why they have become the way they are.  Not only focusing on problems that affect the black community, the seemingly casual way with which she deals with different traumatic events, such as Lewis’s molestation by family members and Paris’s substance abuse, leaves one caught off guard.  It’s not that she doesn’t delve into the matter…she does. However, she doesn’t allow the character to use it as an excuse. She hasn’t created a book of victims bemoaning and belaboring. She takes this family that has essentially fallen apart and shown how they each are trying to piece it back together again, gifting us with a group of sassy, strong people struggling to find solutions, which makes this an uplifting, positive story.  

 LitSnit Verdict: B

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

Release Date: December 2010

In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines– anticipating the detective’s next adventure– only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning — crowds sported black armbands in grief — and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin.

Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had “murdered” Holmes in “The Final Problem,” he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found.

Or has it?

When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he’s about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world’s leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold – using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories – who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.

This type of work is clearly not everyone’s cup of tea, especially someone with a Conon Doyle aversion…wait, do such people actually exist? I don’t know, all I know is that I’m not one of them. I’m rather big on mystery, especially in the winter months when the thought of solving a crime while curled up under a warm blanket, sipping chamomile tea becomes especially appealing. This book will come out in December so its timing is perfect!

The only thing I’m a bit apprehensive about is that this is the author’s first book. I try and stick to a policy of never reading debut novels unless I’ve heard great things about them…usually form Janelle or Erin. But, I’ll take a leap of faith with this one on account that it’s being published by Twelve (an independent publishing company that limits its output to merely 12 books a year, one for each month). I’ve never been led astray by Twelve before; their selections criteria is pretty stringent. I’m hoping for more of the same with The Sherlockian.

*Waiting on Wednesday is an ingenious idea hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Summary: (via Goodreads) Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie is navigating through the strange worlds of love, drugs, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, and dealing with the loss of a good friend and his favorite aunt.

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the unique creation of author Stephen Chbosky. This book, which takes the format of an epistolary novel, describes the life of a fourteen year old boy in his first year of high school. Every few days the main character, Charlie, writes a new letter in which he updates an unnamed recipient about the events of his life. Sometimes a lot happens, other times the letter are more personal and reflective. Regardless, we continue to follow his steps into that intimately familiar territory of adolescence.

After completing the book, two distinct feeling emerge: a feeling of compassion toward the great amount of drama and trauma in Charlie’s life, and an unsettling feeling toward the strangeness of Charlie’s behavior. This eeriness is cause by the fact that he only exhibits two distinct emotional states: incredible emotional hyperactivity and complete emotional inactivity. The mystery behind his anonymity (Charlie is the pen-name he creates for himself while addressing the letters) combined with the fact that we never learn where he is from or who he is writing to also contribute to this sensation. And it’s not until we realize the strategic purpose behind his behavior and anonymity that we truly start to understand the book. It seems Chbosky envisioned his hero as the fictional representation of all of us. The author manages to give Charlie this universality by making him a perfect chameleon: Charlie is both reclusive and outgoing, both your best friend and a complete oddity, both emotionally stable and a complete wreck. The reason Charlie needs to be all these things is because he is facing the quintessential life dilemma of choosing whether he should try and satisfy others or try and satisfy himself. What complicates the matter is that he repeatedly fails to do either, which lead him into modes of depression, disorientation, and indifference.

The only times he does get some respite from himself is when he reads books and spends time with Sam, the girl that he loves. Charlie finds comfort in the books that he reads (e.g., The Stranger, The Catcher in the Rye, The Fountainhead), and you can see a 1991 version of Holden Caulfield and Meursault in him. His friendship with Sam is another thing altogether. He is in awe of her bluntness and honesty and beauty. She gives him a strange sort of comfort and he craves her on a purely emotional basis, something quite contradictory to what he is: a hormonally driven teenage boy.

Perhaps because it’s been so many years since we’ve been fourteen or maybe it’s because we never really had the time to analyze life at that age, but reading Charlie’s narrative is a revelation. The honesty in his words is stirring, packed with innocent notions about things like acceptance, self image, and the emotions of parents and sibling. His account is both wondrous and difficult to read. In many ways, what he reveals isn’t new at all but more like an old memory we’ve forgotten.

Lit Snit Verdict: B