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Popular it is: Teens book on bestseller list
W 042314 MAYA POPULAR 02
Maya Van Wagenen's book "Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek" is on the New York Times Bestseller List.

“Popular: Vintage Wisdom for the Modern Geek,” the book by 15-year-old Statesboro author Maya Van Wagenen, appeared this week, as predicted, on the New York Times Bestseller List.

An April 25 Statesboro Herald story about Van Wagenen and her book suggested that readers watch the list, based on a tip by the author’s mother, Monica Van Wagenen. “Popular” showed up this week at, where it ranked 13th on in the Young Adult category. The list also appears in the May 4 edition of the New York Times Book Review.

But that particular ranking was based on sales during the week ending April 19. So the book, released April 15 by the Penguin Group, made the list its first week.

Meanwhile, Van Wagenen’s April 26 book signing at Books-A-Million in Statesboro drew about 200 people. Some purchased multiple copies, and with the prior week’s sales, the store had sold about 240 copies of “Popular” by the end of the day, General Manager Sarah Morgan said. She is inviting the teen author back to sign more books.

 “Popular” is the story of Van Wagenen’s anachronistically living out advice from the 1951 book “Betty Cornell’s Teenage Popularity Guide” while an eighth-grader in a Texas middle school two years ago. Cornell, who was a teenage model in the 1940s, is now in her 80s. She wrote the foreword for “Popular,” and Van Wagenen wrote a foreword to a new edition of Cornell’s book.

DreamWorks has purchased an option to make a movie based on “Popular,” and Van Wagenen, now a sophomore at Statesboro High School, has a contract to write another book for publication by Penguin.

A May 11 version of the New York Times list, updated Friday, did not show “Popular” in the top 15, but the earlier list is still accessible online.

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