I'm your protagonist-Reshma Kapoor-and if you have the free time to read this book, then you're probably nothing like me. Reshma is a college counselor's dream. She's the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. Read more...
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I'm your protagonist-Reshma Kapoor-and if you have the free time to read this book, then you're probably nothing like me. Reshma is a college counselor's dream. She's the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley high school, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all. What's a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, of course. Which is exactly what Reshma does after agent Linda Montrose spots an article she wrote for Huffington Post. Linda wants to represent Reshma, and, with her new agent's help scoring a book deal, Reshma knows she'll finally have the key to Stanford. But she's convinced no one would want to read a novel about a study machine like her. To make herself a more relatable protagonist, she must start doing all the regular American girl stuff she normally ignores. For starters, she has to make a friend, then get a boyfriend. And she's already planned the perfect ending: after struggling for three hundred pages with her own perfectionism, Reshma will learn that meaningful relationships can be more important than success-a character arc librarians and critics alike will enjoy. Of course, even with a mastermind like Reshma in charge, things can't always go as planned. And when the valedictorian spot begins to slip from her grasp, she'll have to decide just how far she'll go for that satisfying ending. (Note: It's pretty far.) In this wholly unique, wickedly funny debut novel, Rahul Kanakia consciously uses the rules of storytelling-and then breaks them to pieces.
- ISBN-13: 9781484723876
- ISBN-10: 1484723872
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publish Date: August 2016
- Page Count: 352
- Reading Level: Ages 14-17
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Reshma Kapoor will do anything to ensure her spot as valedictorian, including suing her school for changing its grading policy just prior to her senior year. The lawsuit—and Reshma’s subsequent op-ed in the Huffington Post, “Double Standards for Asian Students”—lead her to sign with a literary agent, Linda Montrose, telling her that she has been working on a YA novel (which she has not). Like Linda, who believes the diary-like manuscript Reshma assembles is fictional, readers will easily fall for debut author Kanakia’s heroine, even when she’s at her most ruthless or misguided. When Reshma realizes that a good book needs romance and friendship, she approaches these hurdles in her typically calculating way: she blackmails Alex (a classmate who has been selling her Adderall) into being her best friend and starts making romantic overtures toward another student, Aakash. Kanakia’s mordantly funny story of an overachiever who takes “write what you know” to new extremes will give college-bound readers (and their parents) a gentle wake-up call that success can come in a variety of forms. Ages 14–up. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary Management. (Aug.)
Blurred lines between fact and fiction
Indian-American Reshma Kapoor isn’t the smartest or the most beloved at her Silicon Valley high school, but she is the best. Through careful study and manipulation of the grading system, she has become valedictorian. But with sub-standard SAT scores and meager extracurriculars, she’s not the ideal student for Stanford, her dream school. After her op-ed is published by the Huffington Post and a literary agent contacts her, Reshma realizes that she finally has her hook into Stanford. She will write a YA novel, using herself as the protagonist. She’s willing to do anything—from blackmailing her way into a friendship to threatening to sue anyone who might oppose her—to move her story arc along.
Rahul Kanakia’s debut is a definitive metafiction experience. Readers will question whether Reshma is a satirical antihero who reflects today’s convoluted race relations, education system and need for fame, or simply a teen who wants acceptance and love. Readers may not always like Reshma, but they won’t forget her story.