Examples of Similar Passages Between Viswanathan's Book and McCafferty's Two Novels

The following examples are among the clearest parallels between "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" by Kaavya Viswanathan '08 and two novels by Megan McCafferty, "Sloppy Firsts" and "Second Helpings." Italics appeared in the originals.

SOME SIMILARITIES TO ‘SLOPPY FIRSTS’

‘YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE’

From page 6 of McCafferty’s first novel: “Sabrina was the brainy Angel. Yet another example of how every girl had to be one or the other: Pretty or smart. Guess which one I got. You’ll see where it’s gotten me.”

From page 39 of Viswanathan’s novel: “Moneypenny was the brainy female character. Yet another example of how every girl had to be one or the other: smart or pretty. I had long resigned myself to category one, and as long as it got me to Harvard, I was happy. Except, it hadn’t gotten me to Harvard. Clearly, it was time to switch to category two.”

‘I NEEDED IN A BEST FRIEND’

From page 7 of McCafferty’s first novel: “Bridget is my age and lives across the street. For the first twelve years of my life, these qualifications were all I needed in a best friend. But that was before Bridget’s braces came off and her boyfriend Burke got on, before Hope and I met in our seventh-grade honors classes.

From page 14 of Viswanathan’s novel: “Priscilla was my age and lived two blocks away. For the first fifteen years of my life, those were the only qualifications I needed in a best friend. We had first bonded over our mutual fascination with the abacus in a playgroup for gifted kids. But that was before freshman year, when Priscilla’s glasses came off, and the first in a long string of boyfriends got on.”

‘BIG JOKE’

From page 23 of McCafferty’s first novel: “He’s got dusty reddish dreads that a girl could never run her hands through. His eyes are always half-shut. His lips are usually curled in a semi-smile, like he’s in on a big joke that’s being played on you but you don’t know it yet.”

From page 48 of Viswanathan’s novel: “He had too-long shaggy brown hair that fell into his eyes, which were always half shut. His mouth was always curled into a half smile, like he knew about some big joke that was about to be played on you.”

‘SOMETHING SO RANDOM’

From page 217 of McCafferty’s first novel: “But then he tapped me on the shoulder, and said something so random that I was afraid he was back on the junk.”

From page 142 of Viswanathan’s novel: “...he tapped me on the shoulder and said something so random I worried that he needed more expert counseling than I could provide.”

‘170 SPECIALTY SHOPS LATER’

From page 237 of McCafferty’s first novel: “Finally, four major department stores and 170 specialty shops later, we were done.”

From page 51 of Viswanathan’s novel: “Five department stores, and 170 specialty shops later, I was sick of listening to her hum along to Alicia Keys....”

‘INVADING MY PERSONAL SPACE’

From page 213 of McCafferty’s first novel: “Marcus then leaned across me to open the passenger-side door. He was invading my personal space, as I had learned in Psych class, and I instinctively sank back into the seat. That just made him move in closer. I was practically one with the leather at this point, and unless I hopped into the backseat, there was nowhere else for me to go.”

From page 175 of Viswanathan’s novel: “Sean stood up and stepped toward me, ostensibly to show me the book. He was definitely invading my personal space, as I had learned in a Human Evolution class last summer, and I instinctively backed up till my legs hit the chair I had been sitting in. That just made him move in closer, until the grommets in the leather embossed the backs of my knees, and he finally tilted the book toward me.”

‘COME ON, I WANT TO TALK TO YOU’

From page 209 of McCafferty’s first novel:
“‘Uhhhh...I live less than half a mile from here. Twelve Forest Drive.’
“Pause.
“‘So I don’t need a ride...’
“Another pause.
“‘But do you want one?’ he asked.
“God, did I want one.
“He knew it, too. He leaned over the front seat and popped open the passenger-side door. ‘Come on, I want to talk to you,’ he said.”

From page 172 of Viswanathan’s novel:
“‘Sit down.’
“‘Uh, actually...I was just dropping off some books. I’m supposed to be home by nine. And it’s already eight-forty.’
“Pause.
“‘So I can’t really stay...’
“Another pause.
“‘But you want to?’ he asked.
“Did I? Yes...
“He knew it, too. He patted the chair again. ‘Come on, I want to talk to you,’ he said.”

‘NO TENSION TO COMPLICATE’

From page 223 of McCafferty’s first novel: “Marcus finds me completely nonsexual. No tension to complicate our whatever relationship. I should be relieved.”

From pages 175 and 176 of Viswanathan’s novel: “Sean only wanted me as a friend. A nonsexual female friend. That was a good thing. There would be no tension to complicate our relationship and my soon-to-be relationship with Jeff Akel. I was relieved.”

‘SWEET AND WOODSY’

From page 46 of McCafferty’s first novel: “He smelled sweet and woodsy, like cedar shavings.”

From page 147 of Viswanathan’s novel: “...I had even begun to recognize his cologne (sweet and woodsy and spicy, like the sandalwood key chains sold as souvenirs in India.)”


SOME SIMILARITIES TO ‘SECOND HELPINGS’

‘TO BUY DIET COKES FROM’

From page 67 of McCafferty’s second novel: “...but in a truly sadomasochistic dieting gesture, they chose to buy their Diet Cokes at Cinnabon.”

From page 46 of Viswanathan’s novel: “In a truly masochistic gesture, they had decided to buy Diet Cokes from Mrs. Fields...”

‘PINK TUBE TOP EMBLAZONED WITH A GLITTERY PLAYBOY BUNNY’

From page 68 of McCafferty’s second novel: “‘Omigod!’ shrieked Sara, taking a pink tube top emblazoned with a glittery Playboy bunny out of her shopping bag.”

From page 51 of Viswanathan’s novel: “...I was sick of listening to her hum along to Alicia Keys, and worn out from resisting her efforts to buy me a pink tube top emblazoned with a glittery Playboy bunny.”

EXTRA POUNDS TURN UP IN BRA

From page 69 of McCafferty’s second novel: “Throughout this conversation, Manda acted like she couldn’t have been more bored. She lazily skimmed her new paperback copy of Reviving Ophelia—she must have read the old one down to shreds. She just stood there, popping another piece of Doublemint, or reapplying her lip gloss, or slapping her ever-present pack of Virginia Slims against her palm. (Insert oral fixation jokes, here, here and here.) Her hair—usually dishwater brown and wavy—had been straightened and bleached the color of sweet corn since the last time I saw her...Just when I thought she had maxed out on hooter hugeness, it seemed that whatever poundage Sara had lost over the summer had turned up in Manda’s bra.”

From page 48 of Viswanathan’s novel: “The other HBz acted like they couldn’t be more bored. They sat down at a table, lazily skimmed heavy copies of Italian Vogue, popped pieces of Orbit, and reapplied layers of lip gloss. Jennifer, who used to be a bit on the heavy side, had dramatically slimmed down, no doubt through some combination of starvation and cosmetic surgery. Her lost pounds hadn’t completely disappeared, though; whatever extra pounds she’d shed from her hips had ended up in her bra. Jennifer’s hair, which I remembered as dishwater brown and riotously curl, had been bleached Clairol 252: Never Seen in Nature Blonde. It was also so straight it looked washed, pressed and starched.”

SHIRT ALERT

From page 88 of McCafferty’s second novel: “By the way, Marcus wore a T-shirt that said THURSDAY yesterday, and FRIDAY today.”

From page 170 of Viswanathan’s novel: “He was wearing an old, faded gray sweatshirt that said ‘Tuesday’ on it. Except that today was Thursday.”