Chicken “Little”: “Opal” revision shelved

The AP has just moved a story that wasn’t too hard to see coming: Little Brown says there will be no “revised” Opal Mehta chick lit novel, nor will there be any second book published by Kaavya Viswanathan.

As it turns out, that’s because there aren’t just a few similarities to Megan McCafferty‘s novels; rather, there’s a raft of “borrowings” from no fewer than three novelists.

As the AP reports,

“The Harvard Crimson student newspaper, alerted by reader e-mails, reported Tuesday on its Web site that ‘Opal Mehta’ contained passages similar to Meg Cabot‘s 2000 novel, ‘The Princess Diaries.’ The New York Times also reported comparable material in Viswanathan’s novel and Sophie Kinsella‘s ‘Can You Keep a Secret?’

In Cabot’s ‘The Princess Diaries,’ published by HarperCollins, the following passage appears: ‘There isn’t a single inch of me that hasn’t been pinched, cut, filed, painted, sloughed, blown dry, or moisturized. … Because I don’t look a thing like Mia Thermopolis. Mia Thermopolis never had fingernails. Mia Thermopolis never had blond highlights.”

In Viswanathan’s book, page 59 reads: ‘Every inch of me had been cut, filed, steamed, exfoliated, polished, painted, or moisturized. I didn’t look a thing like Opal Mehta. Opal Mehta didn’t own five pairs of shoes so expensive they could have been traded in for a small sailboat.'”

Little Brown isn’t saying whether her half-million advance must be returned, but we’re guessing that every dime of it is delinquent, due, outstanding, payable, and unsettled.