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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.

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A conversation in the comments of Janelle’s review of Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married got me thinking: is chick lit dead?

Six or seven years ago we seemed to be drowning in chick lit.  From Kinsella to Bunshell, Cabot to Weiner, chick lit was a force to be reckoned with.  I remember reading anything Red Dress Ink, published (a company, which, by the looks of it hasn’t published anything since 2008) and dreamed about writing for them myself one day.  Chick lit was everywhere.

What happened?  Sure, there’s still some out there, but the good stuff (in my opinion) is harder to find, and the pickings are slim.

An article last year in Slate cites the recession as the cause of decline in chick lit, and while the recession hit all book sales, I find it hard to believe that the recession killed an entire genre.  Are we supposed to believe that women can’t write fun, smart novels without talking about shoes and shopping?  Look at the novels of Jane Green and Megan Crane; none of their characters were especially wealthy or clothes obsessed.  Yet, it’s been over two years since Crane published a novel. (I’m aware she’s publishing under a pseudonym for Harlequin, but romance and chick lit are two very different genres)

NPR posted a sort of response to the Slate article saying that chick lit isn’t dead that the “shoe lit” of Kinsella and Bunshell was never an accurate portrayal of the genre despite receiving most of the attention and sales, which is true. 

What I’m starting to realize, the more I think about the present state of chick lit is that the genre has grown up.  The writers whose tales of fun and conflicted twenty-somethings once drew me in, now write about fun and conflicted marrieds with children and dealing divorce or marital issues, something I, as a still twenty-something myself, can’t relate to (maybe it says more about my life choices that at this point in my life I’m still eating ramen and worrying about both paying rent and buying groceries this month, but I have a feeling I’m not the only one).

There doesn’t seem to be a new generation of chick lit writers coming in to fulfill what I want in my chick lit:  stories that don’t pander to me, but represent a reflection of where I am in my life (while also satisfying the romantic in me).  At least, without the main character being a witch, vampire, werewolf or other fantastical creature (I love those books, too, but they’re not what I remember as the “golden age” of chick lit).  Perhaps its because chick lit is no longer seen as viable market, so publishers are buying up more YA, the current publishing craze.

Now, I read a lot of different genres and I know that an entire genre isn’t just going to “die,” despite my initial hypothesizing, but there is a definite absence of fun, smart women’s fiction these days.

Since I feel like I’m on the verge of rambling, I turn to you, my fellow chick lit lovers, am I wrong?  Am I simplifying (or complicating) things?  What do you think about the current state of chick lit?

And, most importantly, have you read some new, good chick lit lately?

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