Maya Van Wagenen, Statesboro’s own bestselling teen author, will read from her recently released book, “Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek,” at the Emma Kelly Theater in the Averitt Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. Monday.
The reading is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Statesboro Friends of the Library. A book signing follows the reading. The Meet the Author event also serves to kick off the Statesboro public library’s summer youth reading program, and both adults and youth are invited to attend the event.
“Maya’s book is winning fans of all ages all over the country,” said Lawton Sack, the president of Friends of the Library. “She’s been featured on the ‘Today’ show and in USA Today, Teen Vogue, and Parade magazine. It’s an exciting privilege to bring her to her home community to share her book.”
“Popular” is Van Wagenen’s preteen memoir about the social experiment she started when entering eighth grade in a small Texas town. A self-proclaimed shy nerd, she explains she was “pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here.”
That’s when she decided to follow the advice of a 1950s popularity guide she found in her parents’ attic. She complies with it all, from quirky vintage tips, like wearing pearls to school and changing her hairstyles daily, to the more personal, like sitting with different people at school every day. The results are as humorous as they are heartfelt as Van Wagenen grows to become a confident, self-assured young woman.
The New York Times book reviewer said: “I was inspired by [Maya's] journey and made a point of saving a copy of ‘Popular’ for my sister, who starts middle school this fall. Maybe if I had read it when I was her age, it could have saved me from a world of hurt, or at least put that world in perspective.”
Gretchen Rubin, the author of “The Happiness Project,” noted: “I was utterly charmed by Maya Van Wagenen’s honest, funny, and thought-provoking account of her efforts to become ‘popular.”
Prior to the reading, at 6 p.m., the Friends of the Library will hold a members-only reception in the Main Gallery of the Averitt Center with Van Wagenen in attendance. Memberships can be purchased at the door.
The Friends of the Library’s mission is to help maintain a quality library for the people of Bulloch County, provide funds to purchase materials and provide programs beyond the library’s budget, and offer cultural opportunities to the community.