Julie Strauss-Gabel, publisher at Dutton Children’s Books, has acquired a YA memoir by a 15-year-old writer, billed as a “Julie & Julia for teens.”
The book, which is titled Popular: Vintage Wisdom for the Modern Geek, chronicles the year that eighth-grader Maya Van Wagenen spent working her way through a Guide for Teenage Popularity from the 1950s, written by former teen model Betty Cornell, and applying its “quaint-yet-timeless instructions” to her life in an exploration of what it means to be popular. In a statement, Strauss-Gabel said, “Funny, beautifully observed, and sweetly sincere, Maya’s experiment takes the reader on a journey that tells an important story about friendship and self-confidence that every teen—and adult—needs to read. Her voice instantly grabbed my attention. Maya is not only a strong teen voice, she is a standout writer of any age.” Daniel Lazar at Writers House brokered the two-book deal for North American rights.