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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:

PLOT:

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.]

CAST & CREW:

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)

SOUNDTRACK:

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.

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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)

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

Summary: (via Goodreads) With a summer job at Bob & Bob Records in Berkeley, California, teen music junkie Allie is ready for anything. She’s poised to fall in love, catch a thief, and make a mix that’ll break your heart. And when she blogs as The Vinyl Princess, Allie is the sort of mystery girl you can’t resist tuning into. Get ready for the vinyl revolution!

Review: In the novel The Vinyl Princess Yvonne Prinz recreates the life of a 16 year old vinyl record collector, Allie, who spends a lazy summer working in a small California record store (Bob & Bob’s). Allie’s life is consumed by a singular passion: vinyl records. She lives for the crackle produced by the turntable’s needle as it dances its way to the right place, and nothing—not her mother’s miserable online dating fiasco, her best friend’s cheating boyfriend, or the thieving ways of her crush—can distract her from this obsession, which she actively rants about in a blog entitled thevinylprincess.

The unfortunate part of Al’s situation is that she was born about half a century late. Vinyl is almost extinct and the mp3-addicted, iPod listening generation that she belongs to could care less about album track arrangements or cover art. Her outdated music interest relegates her to a small group of oddballs that either work or shop at Bob & Bob’s. As mundane as it sounds working retail in a musty, hole-in-the-wall record store, Allie’s narrative manage to bring out its charms. She an eloquent observer that can give a romantic feel to everything and everyone around her, from the misanthropic co-worker lurking in the store’s stack collection, to the petty and homeless cross-dressers that practically live on the store’s premises, to the mom-and-pop eateries of Telegraph Avenue where she eats lunch.

Even those of us who could never understand the charms of clunky vinyl records can appreciate Allie’s music addiction as she includes all sort of interesting music-related tidbits throughout her narrative. After throwing us a plethora of music information and tracks to listen to, Prinz delivers a music-pinnacle of sorts in the form of a mixtape (ahem, “the mating call of the romantically challenged”) that Allie receives from Zach, a fellow vinyl purist. This is perhaps the most interactive part of the book and should the reader be invested in the story enough—like I was—they’ll assuredly listen to all the tracks listed (in their correct order) to discover Zach’s message.

The story’s actual pinnacle isn’t very dramatic. Allie was never created with some moral, personal or familial issue to resolve but is a rather content character trying to amicably deal with the issues stirred up by those around her. In a rather false-autobiography type of way, Allie was probably conceived to simulate the author, who herself works at a record store and is the active brain behind the thevinylprincess blog (which does exists in real-life and is filled with all kinds of purchasing suggestions for vinyl enthusiasts).

I liked this book; it made me happy to know that passions can bring such contentment to life, even to a teenager’s life.

Lit Snit Verdict: A

PS-Click here to listen to one of the songs Prinz raves about in her book.

It’s Friday again and all of us here at the Lit Snit headquarters are ready for another Casting Call session. This week’s selection is Lauren Willig’s The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. After surfing through a ginormous pile of headshots and resumes, we are finally ready for the silver screen.

First, let’s check out the plot:

Plot: In this story-within-a-story plot, we have two main heroines: Amy Blacort and Eloise Kelly. Eloise Kelly is a Harvard PhD student working on a dissertation exploring one of England’s most distinguished spies: the Purple Gentian (aka Richard Selwick), who helped topple Napoleon from power. Eloise flies to England to study some of the Purple Gentian never-before-read letters which are kept at the Selwick estate. As she begins her adventure though time using the letters, she uncovers an unexpected romance between the Purple Gentian and another mysterious figure by the name of Amy Balcourt. While at the Selwick estate, Eloise also develops an interesting attachment to its current keeper, Colin Selwick.

MEET THE CAST & CREW:

Character: Amy Balcourt

Amy is a young, upper-class Franco-British woman. She is well-educated and a bit of a feminist. She has a very extroverted and opinionated nature, but is also naïve, and delicate. Amy’s comic side emerges when she engages in her sleuth-wannabe hobby, which tends to lead her into funny damsel in distress situations.

Casting Call Callback: Rose Byrne – We saw this Aussie’s brilliant acting talent in the movies Wicker Park and I Capture the Castle. She is versatile, compelling and oh-so-cute!

Character: Richard Selwick

Richard is a young, British Lord. He is charming, easy going and a bit of a Casanova. He can be hot-tempered at times, especially when dealing with Amy. Richard also leads a secretive, dual life of a spy.

Casting Call Callback: Christopher Egan-This Australian hunk first won us over during his brief but memorable appearance as Nick Bennet in the WB series Everwood, but it was his role in Letters to Juliet that made us see his potential as a romantic leading man.

Character: Eloise Kelly

Eloise is a single, middle-class, American woman in her later 20’s. She is witty but shy and introverted. Her priorities are scholastically driven, leaving her little time for appearances or romance.

Casting Call Callback: Emmy Rossum-Knowing how to sing, act and still look amazing must be hard work, but Emmy was able to do all that and more while playing the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. Then, in movie Dare she showed us that being sexy and studious was indeed possible. How can she not be our Eloise?

Character: Colin Selwick

Colin is a well-educated, upper-class Briton. He is very even-tempered and confident. His protectiveness of his family’s past makes him come off as snobbish and cold at times, but we soon see the softer side of this English gentleman.

Casting Call Callback: Eric Johnson-This Canadian star has been popping in and out of our radar for years with small appearances on all sorts of TV shows (e.g., Smallville, Ghost Whisperer, Supernatural, Rookie Blue). Now is the perfect time for him to show us his acting talent by playing a leading role in our movie.

Director: Oliver Parker

Soundtrack Selections:

Amy and Richard’s romance: Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune

Eloise and Colin’s romance: The Eels’s Fresh Feeling

Summary: (via Goodreads) Punk rock is in Emily Black’s blood. Her mother, Louisa, hit the road to follow the incendiary music scene when Emily was four months old and never came back. Now Emily’s all grown up with a punk band of her own, determined to find the tune that will bring her mother home. Because if Louisa really is following the music, shouldn’t it lead her right back to Emily?

Review: I wanna be your Joey Ramone is the debut novel of Stephanie Kuehnert. At its foundation, it is a coming of age story that highlights the aspects of life that help propel us toward adulthood and the things we must figure out before we can cross that bridge. For Emily, these things are music and her runaway mother, Luisa. She has a strong affinity for both and has decided that the best way to fill the void left by the departure of her mother is by immersing herself in all things punk rock.

With this in mind, Emily manages to create the quintessential pre-rock’n’roll-stardom adolescence for herself. She is brilliant but flawed by her youth, which compels her to try all sorts of destructive habits in abundance: sex, drugs, alcohol. Emily’s reckless lifestyle is shockingly addictive, believable and justifiable. Nobody we know grew up like this—or would have wanted to—yet Emily’s narrative makes it seem possible—attractive even! Kuehnert makes us want to be in Emily’s skin, feeling all the teenage angst, reliving those music-induced highs, and rocking it out with her band (She Laughs). Without having to hear a single note, we become the She Laugh’s first audience, and their first fans.

No matter what happens Emily constantly keeps one thing in mind—Luisa, her idol. In Emily’s head, Luisa is likened to a rock god: she is surrounded by mystery and myth, she is unreachable, and her life is guided solely by music. To help the reader understand more about Luisa, Kuehnert intercuts Emily’s first person narrative with brief third-person narrations describing Luisa’s life. This technique has the interesting effect of supplying information about Luisa while still keeping her estranged. In essence, Luisa’s true feelings are concealed and remain a mystery to us; much like her whole life is a mystery to Emily. But unlike Emily, the reader finds it impossible to idolize Luisa. Instead of living the music-driven life of Emily’s imagination, Luisa is nothing more than a hallow vagabond chased by the ghosts of her violent past. This leads her through her own run of reckless promiscuity and drug abuse, but youth can no longer be an excuse—not after 21 years on the run.

As the story concludes, a reflective look over the lives of Emily and Luisa shows two generations of women whose lives have been ravaged by events beyond their control. By creating such similarities in the lives for both her heroines, Kuehnert seems want to analyze the different healing powers of running away vs. running after one’s problems. Her conclusion is unclear as neither method seems perfectly ideal. What is clear is Kuehnert’s emphasis on the power of family and friends. Ultimately, it’s the longevity of her relationships that allow Emily to find the strength to let go of the past.

Lit Snit Verdict: A

Click here to read the review that inspired me to read this book.

Summary: [if i had written the back cover blurb]

This book is about Clare, a girl on the brink of womanhood, whose life is unexpectedly transformed over a single summer as she discovers both who she is and who she is meant to become. Moving with her mother from London to a hidden village (Ravensmere) in rural Britain, she is faced with a familial past she had never been told about, but whose existence is pivotal to everything in her future. It is here that she also meets Mark, a boy rebel, whose fate is just as firmly bound to the Ravensmere estate as it is to Clare’s. Together, they try to uncover the secrets of the estate past before its curse dooms their future.

Review: Overall, The China Garden is a satisfying if slightly mundane. Meeting contemporary YA standards, the story has a little bit of everything it in: mystery, romance, and fantasy. Compared to recent over-hyped-on-the-supernatural publications, this work can be classified as nothing more than a conservative fantasy. Our heroine (Clare) is simply endowed with brief visions and random moments of telepathy, freeing her character from excessively thinking about her ‘gift’ so that she can spend more time exploring the mysteries of the Revensmere estate, a land both lovely and cursed. The descriptions of Clare’s lonely ventures in this magical landscape are where the author truly shines; Berry clearly has much love for old and decrepit estates on the English mores.

Clare is maintained as the story’s sole focus for the first 100 pages of the book, which allow her to emerge as someone very relatable: Clare is a smart, college-bound, middle-class, restless with her youth, and confused about her future. Her plump character development gives the reader hope for more of the same from Mark, her romantic counterpart. Alas, when he finally makes his introduction, Berry overwhelms us with his physical description (a muscular biker boy with long hair and light eyes) and not much else. The relationship that develops between the teens is rather speedy. Trying to tie the magic of the estate to their romance, Berry makes Clare and Mark innately connected to each other in a way that turns them from strangers to lovers in the instant it takes their eyes to meet. A very non-epic romance follows and the reader quickly understands that the only intrigue remaining in the plot is uncovering Revensmere’s secret.

It seems that Berry’s goal in The China Garden was to make her teen heroine embrace adulthood and womanhood by being confronted with a past once hidden. It’s hard to assess Clare’s success; the more she discovers, the more she oscillates between mature and childish feelings. In the end, there is sense that both Clare and Mark are too young to properly handle the circumstances Berry dreams up for them. For me, this would have been a better story had it been set in the past with older characters.

Lit Snit Verdict: F

Summary: My name is Kvothe.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

Review:

An Open Letter to Patrick Rothfuss

Dear Patrick Rothfuss,

I’ve just finished reading your first and only published book, The Name of the Wind, and I had some thought about it. Since I count myself a Harry Potter series snob, I tend to classify most fantasy works as sub-J. K. Rowling. This tendency was not working in your favor as I started The Name of the Wind. I mean, it’s hard to miss the similarities between the first installment of the Kingkiller Chronicle and the Harry Potter series. There are a few reasons for this: your story’s hero, Kvothe, is an incredibly talented young man with a chip on his shoulder involving the sad and mysterious past, and he dreams of gaining a university education in the magical arts so that he can seek revenge against a mystery-entangled enemy that goes by a name better left unmentioned. I was immediately dismayed by this rip-off-ish start and almost dismissed your book entirely. But I didn’t, and I soon discovered that despite the lack of originality in the story’s foundation, everything else you dreamed up was fresh and novel. By the time I finished it, Kvothe had surpassed being simply an adult version of Harry Potter. You delved deep into human emotion, something uncommon and unexpected in fantasy books. Your story exposed the dark and somber side of a hero’s existence and the danger of such brilliance to the human psyche. Kvothe is exceptional and admirable, but also cracked, and not only because of his sorrowful past. His brilliance chips away at his human essence. This doesn’t turn him evil, it does something much worse: it transforms him into a hero unsure of himself, a great legend that desires to be small and hidden from the world.

Thus, Mr. Rothfuss, upon the completion of part one of this series, I have found myself unexpectedly hooked to your work. You have deservedly earned the Quill Award for this initial effort and I suspect something better awaits all of us with the release of book number two of the Kingkiller Chronicle.*

Daniela

PS- Despite Kvothe’s unique physical features, i must admit i had difficulty creating his face in my mind. Luckily one of your other fans had drawn up a version that really helped me out. I hope this Kvothe is close to the one you see when you write.

*Day two of Chronicler’s account, The Wiseman’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicle, #2), is set for release on March 1, 2011.

LitSnit Verdict: A

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