Not many local readers seem to care how Opal ‘Got a Life’

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Apparently not too many people around here are wondering “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life.”

That’s the title of a teen novel penned by Kaavya Viswanathan, a Harvard University sophomore touted in some literary circles as the next big thing in the publishing world.

Neither Mr. Paperback in Lewiston nor Waldenbooks in Auburn has sold a single copy, said managers at the stores.

“It’s not really well known,” said Cheryl Perrino, Mr. Paperback’s manager.

“We have four in stock,” said Pam Farmer, the assistant manager at Waldenbooks. “None have sold” since the book was put on the shelves in March, she added.

They may not, either, at least as written.

On Thursday, Viswanathan’s publisher, Little, Brown and Co., which signed the author to a reported six-figure deal, recalled HOWGIRL – short for How Opal Will Get A Life.

The reason: Viswanathan lifted multiple passages in her work from another author’s books.

That writer, Megan McCafferty, is known for “Sloppy Firsts” and “Second Helpings,” two books popular among some high school students.

Viswanathan has apologized to McCafferty, and said her plagiarism was unintentional. She said she read McCafferty’s books as a high school student and that the passages must have remained in her subconscious.

McCafferty has said she won’t seek any restitution and wants to put the controversy behind her.

It wasn’t clear what DreamWorks will do. The movie maker had earlier acquired the film rights to the book.

Both Perrino and Farmer said they haven’t heard from Little, Brown about the recall, but added that the notification would likely first go to the stores’ corporate headquarters before they’d be told to pack up the books for return to the publisher.

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