I wish this story were as straightforward as it sounds in the headline—like, DreamWorks heard that Jessica L. was packing some amazing goss in her journal, but then they accidentally bought Jessica T.'s journal instead (amateurs), and the only thing in there was a bunch of acrostics about how much Jessica T. wanted to get her braces off, and by the time they got back to Jessica L. her diary was still available, but she'd sold the tiny key to the Weinsteins, and they refused to give it up until DreamWorks ran Steven Spielberg's underpants up the flagpole. So they did. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN AMAZING, OBVIOUSLY.
What actually happened was way more normal, but still charming. Maya Van Wagenen (the former 8th-grade girl in question) is still only 15, so that's pretty bonkers, but she already had a book deal by the time DreamWorks came knocking. And it sounds pretty cute.
When an eighth grader named Maya Van Wagenen found herself struggling to fit in with her new classmates, she followed the seemingly outdated wisdom from a 1950s advice book for help. Not only did Maya crack the code to becoming popular by using ancient tips from Betty Cornell’s Glamour Guide For Teens, she kept a diary. That journal is the basis for a six-figure two book deal with Penguin Group. And now, at the ripe age of 15, Van Wagenen has become the youngest non-actor to ever make a feature deal at DreamWorks.
...This is heady stuff for Van Wagenen, who is now 15, but book publishers went wild for her story of struggle, and how she found social footing by following such advice as: always wearing white gloves, using pearls as a fashion accessory; and never forgetting that a girdle can be a girl’s best friend. The most important lessons conveyed were timeless ones like being open and honest, and kind. She found that each social clique was distrustful of the others, and that all of the kids bore similar insecurities. She was able to find common ground and feel for the first time like she belonged.
Amy B. Harris, of Sex and the City and The Carrie Diaries, will be scripting the film.
FYI, DreamWorks, if you're looking for a follow-up project, my middle school diary contains some pretty sweet observations about Red Vines vs. Twizzlers. Or, Lindy's Bass Clarinet Practice Log: The Movie. Think about it. Think about it.