A teen novel by a Harvard student accused of plagiarizing a successful author of young adult fiction was yanked Thursday from bookstores by its publisher, Little, Brown & Co.
"How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" by 19-year-old sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan contained at least 40 passages similar or identical in theme and content to parts of two novels by Megan McCafferty, "Sloppy Firsts" and "Second Helpings."
Although Little, Brown's publisher Michael Pietsch had initially defended Viswanathan, he decided to recall the books. "Little, Brown today sent a notice to retail and wholesale accounts asking them to stop selling copies of the book and to return unsold inventory to the publisher for full credit," said Pietsch in a written statement.
Little, Brown had shipped 55,000 copies of the novel, a spokeswoman for the publishing house said Thursday.