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How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life    by Kaavya Viswanathan order for
How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life
by Kaavya Viswanathan
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

Opal Mehta has spent her entire life striving towards one goal - getting into Harvard University. Her parents have given up successful careers in India and dedicated many of their decisions to the plan known as HOWGIH or 'How Opal Will Get Into Harvard.' As the top student in her high school, involved in every activity from student council to science club, Opal is crushed when her early admission interview at Harvard goes awry. The interviewer tells her she needs more than excellent grades, she needs a life and personality that ranges beyond math camp attendee.

Opal's parents immediately regroup. This time their plan is code named HOWGAL or 'How Opal Will Get A Life.' Opal is subjected to becoming the most popular girl in school by watching trendy tv shows, practicing slang with flashcards, and undergoing dramatic fashion makeovers so she can describe herself as 'Vogue-literate.' Her parents are so dedicated to the cause that they arrange to be out one night so Opal can throw a bash for her friends. Although HOWGAL works in some ways, it quickly goes awry and Opal is forced to discover who she really wants to be and what is important to her.

Kaavya Viswanathan blends the perfect mix of humor, sorrow, and tension in this fun read. A sophomore in Harvard herself when she wrote the book, Viswanathan is an author to be watched. She swears her family didn't resort to slang flashcards to prepare her for her Harvard interview though!

Editor's Note: This novel has been withdrawn from the market after accusations of plagiarism from Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts (2001) and Second Helpings (2003).

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