The scandal is a week old now - Kaavya Viswanathan is the Harvard sophomore who plagiarized passages of her debut novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life from two of author Megan McCafferty's books. But boy, what a week it's been, and everyone (for better or worse) is still talking about it.
First, The Crimson broke the story about Viswanathan's prolific cribbing from McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings (while this is a roundup of what The Crimson calls "the clearest parallels", the tally has gone as high as 45 similar passages). The discovery, according to McCafferty's agent, is attributed to a fan emailing the author after reading Opal Mehta. At first, Viswanathan's response to The Crimson was denial. Last week the story evolved to the catchphrases "unintentional and unconscious", which she repeated in her somewhat-pathetic interview with Katie Couric on Today.
McCafferty's publishers, Crown (part of Random House), basically responded with a big fat "oh no she di'n't!", saying the apology was disingenuous. Big words! But it got nastier as the week progressed - Little, Brown is now recalling the books from shelves. Ostensibly, Little, Brown is sticking to their earlier pledge to revise the novel and re-release it, but Random House calls the book "literary identity theft" so the book could be gone for good. The publishing community can't stop talking about it, with GalleyCat dubbing it CopyKaavya.
And now, there's even more brewing about how the book got "made" and the questions about the book-packaging and shaping that went on with Viswanathan's deal. Svengali much? Ahh, there's like the scandal that keeps on scandaling. Just when the James Frey thing was getting really tired, too.
Update: Oh, snap! The Book Standard reports there won't be a revised edition of Opal - and that Viswanathan's won't be doing a second book. Next, we imagine her agent will drop her, only for another agent to swoop in to sell her story "How Kaavya Got Knocked Down and Got Up Again."