We all know about, Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard undergraduate who signed a cool half-million book deal during her freshman year, stands accused of plagiarizing.

I was kinda interested on the level of "copying". Here it is,

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.”

Wow ! Here are more examples of the passages she lifted

Even more embarrasingly, Viswanathan tells the Harvard Crimson that any similarities were completely unintentional and unconscious.

A fascinating (if not troubling) piece from the Providence Journal. Excerpt:

Kaavya Viswanathan is the daughter of two New Jersey doctors who sent her to a competitive private high school. She was a good student, and apparently a good young writer. But was she good enough to get into Harvard on her own? To get a book published on her own?

Perhaps. But in each case, she had a whole lot of help. She had help from a new phenomenon that might be referred to as "packaging agencies."…

Her parents hired an outfit called IvyWise to help get their daughter into a top college. It's headed by Katherine Cohen, who graduated from Brown University in 1989, and is one of the most successful college consultants out there. The New York Times says she charges $33,000 for two years of consulting … The agency does far more than help kids with applications. It structures their whole lives — for years — to enhance their chances … I checked the IvyWise Web site, and learned they … even offer help for nursery-school applicants.

So Kaavya wasn't just another "student" applying to Harvard. She was an elaborately packaged "pitch."

One of her former instructors has surfaced at Metafilter to offer some perspective:

Kaavya was my student last spring (in a section where I was a TA). I was surprised to learn she had written a book, as her writing was awful– I had given her low grades on her papers.I feel bad for her, even though she was always falling asleep in section (as if you don’t notice a snoozing person sitting at a conference table for ten). Plagiarizing from chick lit has to be some kind of double whammy against artistic integrity.

Another trivia here is , Kaavya is born in Chennai !! 😉