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How Opal Mehta Got Kis...
Kaavya Viswanathan
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How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life

2.82  ·  Rating Details ·  2,154 Ratings  ·  217 Reviews
Opal Mehta is a young woman with a laser focus: getting into Harvard. Since her birth, Amal and Meena Mehta have raised their only daughter with Harvard emblazoned on her pajamas, her walls, and her brain. Everything she does is meant to add up to the perfect Harvard application. There have been flowcharts, diagrams, and endless checklists. At seventeen, Opal is valedictor ...more
314 pages
Published 2006
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Sarah (Presto agitato)
This is the book from the 2006 Harvard student plagiarism controversy. I was reminded of it with all the Fifty Shades drama.

This link gives some of the examples of the passages in question:

To be fair, I haven't read the book from which Viswanathan allegedly plagiarized, but at the time I remember thinking it seemed to be a case of one mediocre book with trite sentences copied from another. The book was eventually pulled from stores and destroyed.

I find it
May 31, 2013 MJ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People Who Think Plagiarism is Okay
Recommended to MJ by: I thought I could make big money since it was pulled by the publisher
To see full review click here

If you were into the YA scene circa 2006 you probably heard of the Kaavya Viswanathan saga. Heck, even if you didn't read YA back then and half way paid attention to the media you probably heard about how the teen got a publishing deal than blew it by plagiarizing various works.

This review isn't about the plagiarism. Sure, I'm going to discuss it some at the end, but more in the context of today's P2P phenomenon . Honestly, think Viswanathan's own plagiarism been tal
Apr 26, 2007 liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, that's right! This is the book that's not officially supposed to exist! So how surprised was I, how lucky did I feel, when I found it at my super-secret source?! What's the verdict??

It's cute. Opal Mehta is an academic overachiever in New Jersey, whose Indian parents have spent their entire life planning (with acronyms and flow charts) how, exactly, she's going to be admitted to Harvard. She's done it all perfectly. So imagine her surprise when she shows up in Cambridge for her early-decisi
May 24, 2012 Bhavika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, there are two ways of looking at this book. That, it's an annoying product of plagiarism. Or. Yea, you do spot glaring similarities, but the storyline is good. It's hilarious. Picture a super-nerd trying to fit in just to glaze her Harvard CV? Make her Indian, team her up with overenthusiastic parents who keep popping out detailed flow charts to get her into the social groove.Majorly amusing.There's not one dull moment in the book.
I must admit, though, the reasons I read this book were a.
Mar 22, 2008 Nollie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because of the controversey surrounding it. It is about an Indian girl whose life dream is to get into Harvard, written by a Harvard student who is female and Indian. It got good reviews, but then they discovered that the author plagiarized a portion from another teen novel and she was disgraced. This all happened last year while we were in Boston, so I wanted to see how the book was. Basically shallow and not very well written. It gives the false sense that status and prestige ...more
Shamilah Gillani
After reading “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life”, I was shocked to see that this book had some plagiarism issues going on. However, my review is not taking those accusations into regards.
I really enjoyed reading this book because I could so deeply connect with the main character, Opal. She is Indian, as am I, so I understood more of the cultural issues that were discussed in the book such as drinking and dating from an Indian person’s standpoint. But what I really admired was
Mar 20, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Something about the plagiarism scandal surrounding this book really gripped me--I remember reading each new report with a vicious, intense rush of schadenfreude. Everything I learned about the author and her life made me loathe her more, and it was deeply enjoyable watching her get her comeuppance. Given how invested I’d become in the whole thing, I decided that when I came across a free copy of the book, I would read it.

Well, I finally got my free copy, and I read it. I didn’t enjoy it much, b
Aug 07, 2007 Kricket rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007, abandoned
I picked this one up at the library with no knowledge of all the plagiarism hype, but as soon as I started reading it, passages jumped out as eerily familiar- the ones from Sloppy Firsts and Born Confused in particular, as these are two of my beloved favorites.

And thus I was too angry to finish the book. It was heading in the direction of fluffer crap either way.
Sophie Marsden
Feb 17, 2016 Sophie Marsden marked it as will-never-read  ·  review of another edition
The only reason I would read this book is to compare it to the original (it was plagiarized) like merireads is doing.
If Megan McCafferty really read this and thought it was a rip-off of her writing style then she must not think much of herself as a writer. This is terrible! And it has nothing to do with whether or not this is plagiarized.

I admit that I only picked this up because of the controversy surrounding it. Although I heard about the book when it was first published it was a recent link to the author's wiki that made me want to read this. Mostly I wanted to see if I'd enjoy the story -- plagiarized or n
I had no idea of the controversy with this novel; I just picked it up from the fiction shelves at the library. I also had no idea it was essentially a teen movie screenplay, and I honestly checked the library's stamp to see if I'd missed the "YA" mark to see it had been improperly shelved. The book was silliness, and it would be fun for a teenager who likes Mean Girls. I seriously thought it was the inspiration for that film. The plot is the same with a few scene changes.

It was fun in its way. T
I was willing to give the Kaavya Viswanathan the benefit of the doubt. Really, I was. But between reading the book and the clearly publisher-engineered act of contrition that was sent to the media yesterday, I have to say: no. No, this was not a mistake. No, this book should not have been published. Her A-plot is okay. Good, even. And her writing style, while often derivative of McCafferty's is ALSO derivative of about 25% of the current YA chick-lit junior writers in the genre. But. The entire ...more
Aditi Agarwal
Its a good book. I do remember it being in the news for some wrong reasons (apparently the author was accused of being "inspired" from other works). To be honest, that is actually what made me pick up the book in the first place.

Ok, so now about the book. The story is simple, nothing really fancy. So dont expect anything out of the blue. The language is great, simple and lucid. The narration doesnt drag at all and keeps up at a very lively pace. Infact, its a book you'd like to curl up with on o
Aug 17, 2007 Kara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good for a beach/poolside read. It's not great writing, half of it is plagiarized (I guess that's what it takes to get into Harvard these days), and its contents are so superficial it makes me want to barf. It's supposed to be "autobiographical" in some respects, and part of me wanted to tell the author "yeah right - you could never be the cool person this girl eventually becomes. Keep dreaming."

Good fluff reading though - took me about 3 days of reading during my commute to finish.
Purvi Petal
One of those very engaging enjoyable chick-lit stuff that you can pick just any season to read and feel light enough to smile; a night's read at the max; but despite it being scrapped from world-wide reading lists due to charges of plagiarism, the book was a thorough entertainer. Basically, I was not embarrassed to be in the chick-lit pick mood. :P
Jerry Jose
i remember reading this in college solely coz of the plagiarism controversy
Jun 30, 2010 Misha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Hated it! It reminded me of half a dozen different teen books.It was almost like I had read it before. Ridiculous book!
Anand Ratnayak
Nice read.....easy going, humorous....
Selva Subramanian
Read this bcoz it was making news for the wrong reasons. Plagiarised or otherwise, it wasn't that great as it was hyped up to be. Not totally a bad read. Maybe 2.5 stars :)
Chee Vang
May 09, 2013 Chee Vang rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh God...where do I even start with this mess? And by "this mess" I mean the book in itself, the author, and the controversy. God...where do I start?
OK, I'll start with my initial knowledge of this book. When I first heard about Kaavya Viswanathan's "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" it had received a review in an Entertainment Weekly magazine I had been reading. It got an OK review if I can remember correctly, but I was skeptical. I had read Tanuja Desai Hidier's "Born Confus
Jun 05, 2017 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teen fiction. A fun read.
Aug 04, 2014 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-literature
Okay. I've been meaning to read this book for EIGHT YEARS now, and yeah, that was before the whole Plagiarism Scandal broke through. I used to get the Center for Talented Youth magazine when I was in high school, and I remembered a book review someone had written, as Viswanathan had been a former CTY alum. (God, they had such interesting summer classes, and they were so expensive. Sad day.) And then the plagiarism thing happened and... I still wanted to read it. And now I have found an old copy ...more
Leslie L
Can't finish the book. Didn't realize going in that it's basically a slightly different version of the movie "Mean Girls". Have no
problem with the movie, but I just can't stand the stupidity of Opal's parents.
Jun 03, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicklit
I don't know if you read the gossip blogs like I do everyday, but this book gained attention for it's younger writer. Then she was accused of plagiarizing. Then the book was going to be reprinted. Then the book was pulled from shelves. All in the span of like one week. They didn't pull it from the library though:-).

The protag, Opal is of Indian heritage who has only dreamed about going to Harvard her whole life, but during the interview freaks out because the interviewer asks what she does for f
Lady Entropy
Jan 10, 2012 Lady Entropy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Entretanto, também acabei de ler o livro YA "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life". Admitidamente, decidi fazê-lo por simples razão de degredo. Este livro esteve no centro de um dos grandes escândalos literários mais recentes. A autora, uma típica American Indian Princess, foi laudada por ter escrito o livro tão jovem (no fim do liceu\entrada para Harvard), recebeu um valor exorbitante para um contrato de dois livros (rumores dizem que foi na casa dos 500.000 dólares) -- e já tinh
Aug 27, 2015 Kaivallya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was the subject of that plagiarism controversy.
I don't know the details, but I do know that this is a hilarious book!
A nerdy Indian girl whose sole goal is to go to Harvard is informed by the Dean that she doesn't "have a life" and determinedly proceeds, with academic precision and the organized planning that got her all the things on her near-unbelievable Harvard resume, to get one.

And because she is Opal Mehta, valedictorian, girl-with-the-perfect-GPA, and who-knows-how-many other th
How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life, by Kaavya Viswanathan is a compelling book about finding who you truly are. The story begins with Opal Mehta, whose sole purpose of living and breathing is to get into Harvard, a 4.0 GPA who has recited all the possible questions that the Harvard interviewer would ask her. Just when she thinks she has everything down because of her flawless resume and her Q&A rehearsals, everything comes to a crashing halt when the Dean asks Opal what she ...more
Mar 08, 2013 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked this book off a library endcap out of curiosity; I had read the press hype a few years back. Reading about the plagiarism controversy is thought-provoking, as there are many viewpoints to the scandal. (for comparison of the purloined passages)

Plot-wise, this novel rehashes the Mean Girls movie: A wholesome, brainy girl executes plan Join Clique of the 3 High School Queen Bees. We feel repulsed by the Bees'
Oct 03, 2008 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-2009
Just by reading the title, I didn't know what to expect from this book. At first, it seemed that it was a crazy teenage story, but I soon realized that the story could probably be connected to any teenager. Opal started off high school as a "geek," focusing only on science, and not caring about her appearance. When Opal goes to Harvard for her interview, she fails to get in because the interviewer believes Opal is too focused on school work and no fun. Before her next interview for Harvard, Opal ...more
I knew How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life looked familiar when I saw it sitting so innocently on a shelf in my local library. I read the back and the plot sounded interesting so I checked it out. Great idea, right? When I got home I proceeded to Google said novel and 'lo and behold, I realized why it sounded vaguely familiar: the author allegedly plagiarized parts of the first two Jessica Darling novels written by Megan McCafferty. Regardless of this (and my intense adoration of ...more
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