EXCLUSIVE: Disney won a bidding war for 29 Dates, the new YA book written by The New York Times‘ bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz. The project is being fast-tracked for the studio’s streaming service, Disney+. The Gotham Group, which just wrapped Stargirl for the streaming platform, will produce this project. The book will be published December 18 by Inkyard Press/Harlequin, a division of HarperCollins.
The story centers on a Korean exchange student who moves to the United States. Sixteen-year old Jisu Kim struggles against the academic pressure exerted by her ambitious parents, who also set her up on a number of seon (matchmaker) dates to meet appropriate young men from Seoul to San Francisco. The book has been compared to Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and lauded for its depiction of characters from a range of ethnicities as well as its accurate cultural details of Korean life, along with its surprise romantic ending.
De la Cruz has written over forty novels, which include those which have previously been picked up by the studio (among those titles are The Descendants, Blue Bloods, Witches of East End and the Alex and Eliza trilogy). The author is already connected to Disney via Hyperion and her work The Descendants.
The author’s upcoming projects include the adult domestic suspense thriller The Birthday Girl for Dutton and the graphic novel Gotham High which will feature DC Entertainment characters in high school.
29 Dates marks yet another collaboration between The Gotham Group and Disney+ following that of the feature film version of Stargirl. Also based on a the young adult novel from author Jerry Spinelli, it’s the book that flew off shelves when President Obama bought it for his girls in 2015. Stargirl, directed by Julia Hart, was adapted by Kristin Hahn and was produced by The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lee Stollman with Hahn and her production company Hahnscape.
29 Dates author De la Cruz is represented by 3Arts and The Gotham Group.