Our first Selective Collective book for March is “Dualed” by Elsie Chapman. It’s the newest compelling dystopian novel in a genre that’s quickly becoming the hottest in the YA world. Our task this round was to cast the principal characters. Here at Teen Lit Rocks, we love dream casting, since we have to keep up with young entertainers thanks to our kids (and my job). But before we get to the casting, read a bit more about the book below. Many thanks to Random House Teen for sending us all copies of the book.
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman’s suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.
With the popularity of dystopian novels and film or TV adaptations of young adult books, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Dualed” got optioned, especially if it builds a significant readership. I thought about who could play the two lead characters; I didn’t feel compelled to pick actors who fit in with every sing adjective used to describe West and Chord, but I did want to pick actors who could believably play teens trained to kill (themselves).
Isabelle Fuhrman as West
I think we’ve all picked her to play somebody in the past year, but it’s hard not to envision her, because she’s the kind of person who could be easily underestimated but is actually a warrior in disguise. She’s a powerful girl, and she just could be hiding some serious ninja assassin skills in that otherwise petite and unassuming frame. I also like that she’s pretty but not in a traditional could-be-a-supermodel way. She’s got that strong chin and those piercing eyes, and can be a little scary looking when she needs to summon fierceness.