TV & Film

From Net Fiction to Netflix

Ali DeWalt ’13’s novel My Life with the Walter Boys gets new life as a streaming series.

Promotional poster for My Life with the Waterboys

In DeWalt’s story, an orphan leaves New York and finds romance in rural Colorado.

Long before Netflix was producing its original coming-of-age dramas, 16-year-old Alexandra (Ali) DeWalt ’13 published her debut e-book, My Life with the Walter Boys, on the story-sharing website WattPad under the pen name Ali Novak. In March 2014, the wildly successful novel hit bookstore shelves IRL (in real life). And in December 2023, My Life with the Walter Boys debuted as a Netflix original series.

DeWalt’s story follows Jackie Howard (played by Nikki Rodriguez, most recently of the Netflix series On My Block), a privileged teenager living a charmed life in Manhattan when she loses her family in a tragic accident. Newly orphaned, she leaves New York to live with the Walter family and their seven boys on a farm in rural Colorado. Jackie finds herself caught in a love triangle with two of the Walter brothers while navigating the complexities of adolescence faced by every teenager, whether in a big city or a scenic small town.

“It’s coming of age. It’s discovering yourself. It’s coming to terms with the difficulties life can bring you. It’s found family,” showrunner Melanie Halsall told Entertainment Weekly.

My Life with the Walter Boys garnered more than 12 million views in its first full week on Netflix. At press time, the show had spent six weeks on Netflix’s Global Top 10 list for TV in English and reached its Global Top 10 list for TV in 88 countries. Just 10 days after the show’s debut, it was renewed for a second season, and the book on which the show is based has since become a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

“This has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl,” DeWalt wrote on Instagram.

DeWalt is also the author of the novel The Heartbreakers and its sequel, Paper Hearts. iGeneration Studios, one of the producers of My Life with the Walter Boys, recently announced plans to develop the books into a new series called The Heartbreakers Chronicles.

Published in the Spring 2024 issue


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