Nick Hornby's screenplay for new film An Education is the "girls' version of Fever Pitch", he said last night.
The author, who adapted Lynn Barber's memoir about growing up in 1960s Twickenham, joined stars on the red carpet at its London Film Festival premiere.
Hornby said he could relate to the story, which sees 16-year-old Jenny (Carey Mulligan) get seduced away from studying for Oxford when she meets suave older man David (Peter Sarsgaard), and compared it to his coming of age book about his love of football.
He said: "I grew up 25 miles outside London. I love my football, my music, my books and none of it was available where I lived.
"In some ways I thought this script was a girls' version of Fever Pitch. How do you get from here to there? What are the shortcuts you take? For me, it was football and for Jenny it was getting into this guy's car."
Journalist Barber said An Education went through several script changes but remained faithful to her original book "in spirit".
She said: "He (Hornby) has captured the feeling of a suburban girl with quite heavy parents escaping into a world of more excitement, of going to the opera and restaurants. He's done that brilliantly."
The film's lead, rising star Mulligan, spoke of her joy at working with Emma Thompson, who plays the formidable headmistress.
"It's huge. I'm still overwhelmed we're in the same film and have scenes together."
She added: "You go into a scene being nervous because it's Emma Thompson but she makes you a better actor because she's so generous."
Thompson said her young co-star needed no advice or tips, adding: "She's the real thing."
She said she hoped Mulligan would not be damaged by success at a young age.
"When you are young, one of the most corrosive influences can be early fame and early success. If she can survive that, she'll be fine."
Also attending were Dominic Cooper, who plays David's glamorous friend Danny, director Lone Scherfig, and Matthew Beard, who plays Jenny's timid school friend Graham.