Breia Brissey
January 23, 2012 AT 12:00 PM EST

If you’re looking for a quick but uplifting read, look no further than Gaby Rodriguez’s The Pregnancy Project. I finished it in just a few hours and came away feeling motivated to squash all negative stereotypes around me. And then, I marveled how a senior in high school could pack such a powerful message into one social experiment. “I would encourage not only teenagers to read it, but also parents,” Rodriguez told EW last week. “Because it also has a strong message for parents and adults.”

The now-18-year old Rodriguez made national headlines last year when she revealed that she had faked a pregnancy for a class project. Rodriguez was frequently told she’d end up a teen mom just like her mother and older sisters, all of whom got pregnant as teenagers. So in an effort to dispel stereotypes about teen pregnancy, she decided to “live down” to other people’s expectations by getting “pregnant.”

She successfully carried out the project, hiding the truth from her siblings and even her boyfriend’s parents. Once she finally revealed the truth, her story became instant water-cooler fodder. Last week The Pregnancy Project hit shelves. The memoir, written with Jenna Glatzer, details everything from the conception (pun intended) of her school project to the reactions she got from her family and classmates. Additionally, Rodriguez’s story has inspired the Lifetime movie—also titled The Pregnancy Project—which stars Spy Kids alum Alexa Vega and premieres on Jan. 28. Rodriguez hadn’t seen the movie when we talked, but she said it’s completely surreal that her story got turned into a movie. “I just see it as an opportunity for so many more people to see my message,” she said.

Rodriguez doesn’t have any more projects in the works other than going back to Columbia Basin College in Washington where she plans to major in psychology. For now, she’s still just enjoying her success. “Everybody is still so very impressed with the story,” she said. “They tell me that they remember when it first came out. I can’t believe how fast everything has gone. From the morning news to being a book and a now movie.”

Do you remember when Rodriguez’s fake pregnancy made headlines? Will you be adding The Pregnancy Project to your to-read list? And will the Lifetime movie make your DVR? Sound off in the comments.

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