If Greta Gerwig Directed These Teen Issue Books

Posted by Danielle Mohlman

Photo by Julian Myles on Unsplash

We loved Lady Bird – like, really loved it. Laying on car hoods with your best friend listening to Dave Matthews Band, having the football coach take over the drama club, learning that Timothee Chalamet’s character is a grade A jerk. (Why, Timothee? Why?) Greta Gerwig has a knack for tapping into the volatility of the teenage experience, so we couldn’t help but wonder what our favorite teen issue books would look like under her lens.


[source: Hachette]

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

In this young adult novel, 17-year old Leonard Peacock starts his birthday with a plan to kill his ex-best friend and then himself. It’s a story told through the angry and violent voice of Leonard himself, one that cannot (and should not) be treated lightly. Despite her brand of light drama, we’re confident that Greta Gerwig would make a superb director on a film adaptation of this masterful novel. The challenge is to present a violent young man without completely alienating the audience – a delicate balance, especially for a 2018 audience. Gerwig’s treatment would certainly be honest and heartbreaking, we’re sure, but it would also tackle some of the more complicated issues that arise when a violent mind changes.


[source: Penguin Random House]

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

E. Lockhart’s riveting novel We Were Liars is so ripe for film adaptation, we’re surprised it isn’t already in production. Readers in the know will pinpoint exactly what makes this an issue novel; and for those who haven’t picked up this runaway hit, what are you waiting for? Greta Gerwig is sure to focus on 17-year-old Cadence and that fateful summer on Beechwood Island – a summer spent with her fellow “liars” Johnny, Gat, and Mirren. It’s a rose colored life, one lived on a private island, despite the painful realities of her grandfather’s dementia and the way the rest of her family walks on eggshells around her. Gerwig is certain to capitalize on this too perfect aesthetic that looks, sounds, feels just a little left of reality. We’re getting chills just thinking about it.


[source: Penguin Random House]

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

In Two Boys Kissing, 17-year-olds Harry and Craig attempt to set a world record, embarking on a 32-hour kissing marathon in front of their school. Aside from the titular two boys, David Levithan’s novel follows an ensemble of teen boys dealing with relationships, coming out, hookup sites, and gender identity – all while these two kissing exes figure out their feelings for each other. It’s an ensemble drama with Greta Gerwig’s name written all over it. Oh, and did we mention the entire novel is narrated by a chorus of men whose lives were lost to AIDS? Two Boys Kissing is realism meets cinematic specter, with this marathon kiss as a metaphor for life. Gerwig would have a visual and audio field day with this one, perhaps even casting Timothee Chalamet as one of the leads.


[source: Simon & Schuster]

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

While not technically a young adult novel, we’re including Luckiest Girl Alive in this list because its treatment of rape and sexual assault is so deftly written that it could be, dare we say it, Speak for a new generation. Because protagonist Ani FaNelli is seen as both a high school student and a 28-year-old woman, we can easily see Saoirse Ronan stepping into the role in a few years – sealing her fate as a Greta Gerwig staple. Gerwig’s ability to walk between glamor and pain, especially in a privileged landscape like the Bradley School, would make her perfect for the film adaptation of this debut novel. Reese Witherspoon is already attached to produce. Why not add Gerwig into the mix?


[source: Macmillan]

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Okay, actually we don’t want Greta Gerwig to direct If I Was Your Girl. But we do want her name attached because we see how few trans stories make it to the big screen and we want this heartfelt coming of age story told by trans creatives – and in a big way. So come on, Greta Gerwig. Flex those executive producer muscles and get this thing made. We’re envisioning a screenwriter credit for Meredith Russo and literally anyone she wants to collaborate with in the director role. This book is too gorgeous to just sit on a shelf.