Netflix’s My Life with the Walter Boys Is Based on a Popular Wattpad Novel With An Important Meaning

By Louie Fecou
Published: December 7, 2023 (Last updated: December 12, 2023)
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What is My Life with the Walter Boys based on?
My Life with the Walter Boys | Image via Netflix

My Life with the Walter Boys follows fifteen-year-old Jackie Howard (Nikki Rodriguez) from Manhattan, forced to leave New York after a terrible tragedy. The show is made up of ten episodes and is an adaptation of a popular novel that started life on the free publishing platform Wattpad. Based on the real experiences of the author, Ali Novak, the story was a runaway hit on the platform, and Netflix are looking to transfer that popularity to the small screen.

What is My Life with the Walter Boys based on?

My Life with the Walter Boys is based on a 2014 novel by Ali Novak. However, the story had its first outing on Wattpad, where Ali was publishing the story while in the creative writing program at The University of Madison Wisconsin.

The story came from the personal trauma of the writer, who lost her father at an early age, and the narrative resonated with readers. The story had been read over twenty-four million times on the site, so it was not long before publishers came looking for the rights. Eventually, Sourcebooks Fire would procure the rights, and the book would be physically published in 2014, becoming a bestseller.

The meaning and theme behind My Life with the Walter Boys

The story is essentially a coming-of-age tale, but it also touches on some deeper traumas including death, loss, grief, relationships, and eventually self-discovery.

RELATED: Will there be a Season 2 of My Life with the Walter Boys?

We view the events as they happen to Jackie, and it is through her connections and experiences with her new makeshift family that we get the context of the world she is forced to live in. How she copes with the events is the hook for the series, and how successfully this is portrayed will depend on the viewer.

Who is author Ali Novak and what are they known for?

Born in the U.S., Ali Novak is a native of Wisconsin and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison’s creative writing program. Work began on her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was only fifteen. Ali is married to her husband Jared, and enjoys reading fantasy novels.

In 2015 she would write The Heartbreakers, a property that would spawn a sequel,  and would follow up in 2017 with Paper Hearts.

You can follow her on Wattpad, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat @fallzswimmer.


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Netflix’s My Life with the Walter Boys Plot Summary

My Life with the Walter Boys follows fifteen-year-old Jackie Howard from Manhattan, who suffers a terrible tragedy when her family is killed in an accident and her whole life is thrown into turmoil. Jackie has to leave New York, and all the comforts she was used to, to go and live with her mother’s best friend, Katherine Walter.

RELATED: 10 TV Shows Like My Life with the Walter Boys

Katherine already has ten children and stays in Colorado, and Jackie has to try and adapt to her new life while still pursuing her dream of attending Princeton University.

To further complicate this, Jackie starts to develop feelings for two of the Walter brothers. This leads to a love triangle of sorts, as we follow Jackie as she tries to come to terms with her new life, and new feelings.

RELATED: My Life with the Walter Boys on Netflix: Filming Locations and Production

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