A ‘How to Get Into College by Really, Really Trying’ Novel


From The New York Times:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Opal Mehta is the kind of girl who might get a half-million dollars for her first novel, completed during her freshman year at Harvard, followed by a movie deal with DreamWorks. After all, she started cello lessons at 5, studied four foreign languages beginning at 6, had near-perfect SAT scores and was president of three honors societies in high school. To appear well rounded, she took welding. Except that Opal doesn’t exist. She is the protagonist of Kaavya Viswanathan’s new chick-lit-meets-admissions-frenzy novel, “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life,” which is being published this week, at the very height — or depths, depending on your point of view — of the college admissions season, when many high school seniors are receiving decisions. But the book and movie deals happened in real life to Ms. Viswanathan, now a 19-year-old Harvard sophomore, safely ensconced in her room at Kirkland House.

Opal Sitting in a restaurant in Harvard Square, Ms. Viswanathan, small, with almond-shaped eyes and glistening shoulder-length black hair, wanted to make it clear that she was not Opal, and that despite the novel’s details about upper-class suburban Indian immigrant life — the near-identical center hall colonials, the elaborate parties to celebrate the Hindu festival of Divali, the shifts in conversation between Hindi and English — the Harvard-mad parents in the book are not her parents.

More here.