Fan-Casting WENCH by Maxine Kaplan

This post is part of the Wench blog tour with TBR and Beyond Tours. Be sure to check out the other stops here! And thanks to TBR, NetGalley, and Abrams Books for providing me with an ARC!

When I first read the description of Wench, Maxine Kaplan’s new YA fantasy novel, my immediate thought was, “This needs to be a Netflix series!” And I hadn’t even read the book then, but now that I have, I can definitely say I was right.

Synopsis from the publisher:

Content warning: Some magic in the book involves self-harm.

A funny, fiercely feminist YA epic fantasy—following the adventures of a tavern wench

Tanya has worked at her tavern since she was able to see over the bar. She broke up her first fight at 11. By the time she was a teenager she knew everything about the place, and she could run it with her eyes closed. She’d never let anyone—whether it be a drunkard or a captain of the queen’s guard—take advantage of her. But when her guardian dies, she might lose it all: the bar, her home, her purpose in life. So she heads out on a quest to petition the queen to keep the tavern in her name—dodging unscrupulous guards, a band of thieves, and a powerful, enchanted feather that seems drawn to her. Fast-paced, magical, and unapologetically feminist, Wench is epic fantasy like you’ve never seen it before.

Doesn’t that sound like so much fun? It is! While there definitely was a bit of darkness that prevented it from being overly fluffy, I found Wench absolutely delightful. If you love comedic, tongue-in-cheek fantasy like The Princess Bride, Disenchanted, or Galavant, Wench should be right up your alley.

And if you’re familiar with those works, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the “vibe” that I think a TV adaptation of Wench could have. But who to cast in this hypothetical (for now…) TV adaptation? I have to confess one of my favorite pastimes is casting book adaptations and movie/TV reboots in my head, so I am well-prepared to take on this challenge. Let’s get into my picks!

Tanya: Beanie Feldstein

For the funny and fiercely independent heroine of the book, and the TITULAR wench (get it???) Tanya, I think Beanie Feldstein has the charm and the comedic chops for the role. Her work in Lady Bird and Booksmart is so warm and funny and incisive, perfect for the practical and kind Tanya.

Jana: Ella Balinska

Jana is a badass, street smart conwoman and thief, and also one of Tanya’s potential love interests. Ella Balinska, who you may recognize from the 2019 Charlie’s Angels, definitely has the action experience for the role, and also an underlying warmth and authenticity which is essential for Jana.

Greer: Jordan Fisher

For Tanya’s other possible love interest and Queen’s Corpsman Greer, I have to cast Jordan Fisher. I think we all fell a little bit in love with his character in To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and thought Lara Jean should have picked him instead of Peter (just me?), and he is also my pick for Henry Tilney in the adaptation of Northanger Abbey that I’m casting in my head, so let’s put him here too!

Riley: Charles Melton

Riley is the dashing, snarky thief who’s part of the same band as Jana and strikes up a flirtation with Tanya (and with pretty much every other character, so it’s not like EVERYONE in this book is in love with Tanya, although I wouldn’t blame them if they were!) Charles Melton’s role as the romantic lead in The Sun is Also a Star shows that he can do lovable earnestness, and his work on Riverdale proves he can do campy snark.

Madame Moreagan: Michelle Yeoh

I’ve saved the best for last. Madame Moreagan is a character I wanted to see more of in the book (and maybe we will if there’s a sequel…?). Madame Moreagan is the real ruler of Bloodstone, the city with a dangerous and scandalous reputation. She is tough and competent and takes Tanya under her wing. Michelle Yeoh might be too young and beautiful for this role, but I love her strength and the combination of grit and elegance she brings to all of her characters. I most recently loved her work in Crazy Rich Asians and Star Trek: Discovery.

If you’ve read Wench, what do you think of my choices? who would you cast in these, or other roles? If you haven’t read it yet, does this make you want to? (I already know it does, don’t lie!)

Read on below for more information about the book and the blog tour!

Find out more about the Wench Blog Tour here! Wench is available now wherever you get your books!

Book Links:

About the Author

Maxine Kaplan was born in Washington, DC. She and her twin sister spent their early childhoods trotting behind their journalist parents as they traveled around the world, eventually settling in Brooklyn, NY. Maxine graduated from Oberlin College in 2007. Following a long stint in the world of publishing, she has worked as a private investigator since 2009. She lives in her adopted hometown of Brooklyn, NY, with her dimwitted, but soulful cat. Her first novel The Accidental Bad Girl received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and will be available in paperback January 5, 2021. Her sophomore novel, Wench, is coming in January 19, 2021.

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