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How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life

2.83 of 5 stars 2.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,821 ratings  ·  184 reviews
A lively and irresistible first novel about an overachieving teenage girl who discovers that, in order to get into the college of her dreams, she needs to have more fun. Since Opal's birth, the Mehtas have raised their only daughter with one goal in mind: to get into Harvard. They even concocted a rigorous game plan they called HOWGIH--How Opal Will Get Into Harvard. There ...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published by Little Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2006)
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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
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.
Howdy YAL
Jun 03, 2013 Howdy YAL rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People Who Think Plagiarism is Okay
Recommended to Howdy YAL 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Sep 07, 2010 Ann added it
Shelves: 2006, adult
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
Anand Ratnayak
Nice read.....easy going, humorous....
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
Apr 20, 2014 Rutvi marked it as to-read
I haven't read this books yet. I can probably read it with an unbiased mind, because I have read none of the books the author appears to have plagiarized from. And she seems to have done so from a variety of sources, if it was intentional, which I doubt; from Salman Rushdie to Meg Cabot, and as everyone is saying, Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling books (of which I have read not a single one, and the first time I heard of them was when I found out that the 'plagiarism' in this bo
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.
Hated it! It reminded me of half a dozen different teen books.It was almost like I had read it before. Ridiculous book!
Opal Mehta's one goal her whole life is to go to Harvard. It's her parents dream too and she's basically been working towards this goal since birth. She has worked very hard to create a resume that Harvard can't reject. Amazing grades, academic extra-curriculars, and well-rounded out-of-school activities. When she goes to her early admission interview at Harvard, the admissions counselor asks the one question she can't answer.."what do you do for fun?" For once, Opal is at a loss. Everything sh ...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
Mar 30, 2008 Denise rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: my Mom
Recommended to Denise by: my Mom
This was a birthday gift I received in 2006 and I had to read this "book that no longer exists" to see what all the controversy was about. I'd like to rate this one 2.5 stars. I gave it 3 because I liked it, but points should be subtracted (1) because of the rampant plagiarism and (2) because the book doesn't track time correctly. What I mean is the author would mention it was say, afternoon and then suddenly in the next paragraph it was several hours later, even though the same scene was still ...more
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
This was a disgrace of a book. It's partially my fault for reading it, knowing that parts of the novel were plagiarized from Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series (among other novels). However, I was curious to read the Indian version of the series. If you can even look past the blatant copied paragraphs (and copied characters - Sean Whalen doesn't even hold a candle to Marcus Flutie!!), the book is horrible. The storyline is so cliche, the 'matching wits' conversations don't come across as ...more
Sahana Reddy
I hate this book mainly because apart from the fact that Dean Anderson telling opal Mehta to get a life and not be a robot, i had not one enjoyable moment in this book. Opal Mehta is a geek who isn't really friends with anyone or true to anybody but expects everyone to slide into her life so she can do what she has to so she can get into Harvard. She is an Indian who is possibly more abusive towards Indians in this book than any other i have read. Her parents seem disgusting to me because i can ...more
Chee Vang
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
Ankita Gour
The starting was good enough. It's about an Indian girl in new jersey whose only goal since she was born was to get admitted in Harvard. With support of her parents (who feed her obsession by making chalking out strategies, goals, making lists, setting deadlines etc) she acquires every other thing she thinks might let her into Harvard. But she is disappointed after her first interview with Dean Anderson who tells her that she needed to get a life(indicating a lack of social interaction and roman ...more
Lady Entropy

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
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'
I only picked this book up to read this and see where she had plagiarized. The funny thing to me was that most sections that were similar to what other authors had written didn't really need to be there, and weren't important to the story. It really felt as if she went back and added them. I think someone who is smart enough to get into Harvard would not be so obliviousness as to not know she was plagiarizing, and I think she's also smart enough to know that she wouldn't get away with. Therefore ...more
Aditi J
In the book, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life by Kaavya Viswanathan, a story about an Indian girl with typical strict parents is told. Opal Mehta, a senior in high school, has had her whole life revolved around getting into Harvard. Every step she took got her closer to her goal. So imagine her surprise when she doesn't get accepted? Her interviewer asked her what she does for fun, and Opal didn't have an answer to that. Suddenly, her parents morph into "cool" parents, and for ...more
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
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