DreamWorks Now Adapting Real Girl’s Middle School Journal (Sort Of)

By October 30, 2013


It’s fair to assume that most people have absolutely no interest in letting anyone look inside their middle school journals, but it seems like now-fifteen-year-old Maya Van Wagenen is a very special case – after all, her eighth grade journal is now set to be adapted into an entire film by DreamWorks. Well, sort of.

Van Wagenen’s journal isn’t just some bubble-lettered scribblings about what she wore to class that day and what boys she thinks are cute, it’s actually a very cleverly designed experiment that worked out for the clearly smart and innovative Van Wagenen. Oh, and it’s also the basis of a soon-to-be-published YA help guide.


After a switch to a new school, young Maya found herself unable to fit in with her new peers, so she went old school for advice – she turned to a 1950’s advice book called “Betty Cornell’s Glamour Guide for Teens” (a book that apparently emphasized both wearing white gloves at all times and just being nice to people, which seems like it comes with guaranteed humor and heart). Van Wagenen used the tips in the tome to up her status at school, and she used her journal to record her results. While Van Wagenen’s social stock rose, but she probably didn’t expect that her little experiment would result in a six-figure two-book deal and her becoming the youngest non-actor to close a feature deal at DreamWorks.

DreamWorks has picked up both the rights to Van Wagenen’s book, “Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek” (which will be published next year), and Cornell’s book (renaissance!) for screenwriter Amy B. Harris (Sex and the City, The Carrie Diaries) to adapt for the big screen. Looks like middle school does have some good in it after all.

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss, Film.com, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.