Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan has admitted to "accidentally" borrowing material for her first novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, after the Crimson identified more than a few passages in Opal that mirrored Megan McCafferty's work in Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings. In a statement issued by her publisher Little, Brown, Viswanathan admitted that she had read Megan McCafferty's books in high school and acknowledged the similarities:
While the central stories of my book and hers are completely different, I wasn't aware of how much I may have internalized Ms. McCafferty's words. I am a huge fan of her work and can honestly say that any phrasing similarities between her works and mine were completely unintentional and unconscious. My publisher and I plan to revise my novel for future printings to eliminate any inappropriate similarities.
I sincerely apologize to Megan McCafferty and to any who feel they have been misled by these unintentional errors on my part.
Oh, poor young Kaavya. These things do happen. It's just that they tend not to happen with precocious young authors who have been signed for half a million dollars. And one usually doesn't "internalize" word-for-word, either. Maybe the publisher — and the pushy folks at Opal's packaging company, 17th Street Productins — have a little more 'splaining to do.