Author: Rahul Kanakia
Rating: 1 Star
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~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.)
Enter Title Here, by Rahul Kanakia, could have been a great book, except for one thing: the protagonist is truly the most horrible person ever, and the only reason to even finish this book is to find out if she learned anything (Spoiler: She doesn't.)
Reshma Kapoor is a senior at a school in California and is surrounded by rich kids whose parents are really into technology. She describes her school as being one of the richest schools in the country. Reshma is slated to be the school valedictorian. She is followed closely for the position by Chelsea (who actually deserves to be valedictorian.) Throughout the novel Reshma does so many downright immoral things just to maintain that position.
Let's just dig right into why I didn't like Reshma at all:
- Reshma is so hell bent on being valedictorian that she spends her entire high school career cheating her way through her classes just to be on top. (In spite of that cheating, she still genuinely believes that she deserves to be on top.)
- When Reshma's high school changes the rules so that her classes won't count towards her GPA, and she realizes that she won't be valedictorian, she and her parents sue the school so that Reshma can remain on top.
- Reshma gets caught cheating again, by plagiarizing a poem for her AP English class, and as a result, she sues the school - AGAIN - because she believes it's because the school is racist. (Now, sure, the school could very well be targeting Indian students and other non-white students and getting them in trouble at a higher rate than white students. BUT the fact of the matter is that Reshma is an entitled, spoiled brat who deserved to get in trouble for cheating. Quite frankly, she should have been suspended or expelled for cheating.)
- Reshma blackmails Alec into being her "friend." Alex has a prescription for Adderall, and she somehow manages to get it refilled at alarming rates. She then sells her adderall to the students at her school who define themselves as "study machines." Reshma buys tons of adderall from Alex. Then, THEN, tells Alex that if Alex doesn't be Reshma's friend, then Reshma will tell everyone that Alex is selling kids her prescription. Reshma lays down all these "rules" for their friendship - like that Alex has to invite Reshma to every party, Alex has to be nice to Reshma in school and let Reshma sit at their lunch table, and Alex has to respond to any text from Reshma within three hours. (Because I know I got all *my* friends through blackmail!)
- Reshma has one article that has been posted on the HuffingtonPost website - then gets a book deal based on that ONE ARTICLE. Not jealous - just disbelieving. I don't believe that anyone would make an offer to someone based on one article they read in HuffPo. Not only that, but the potential book deal is the thing that makes Reshma feel like she should pretend to have a boyfriend and a real friend. She decides to write a (fictionalized) book about her life, but instead of actually being a nice person, she just uses people to get what she wants (fake friend Alex.)
- Reshma bought two dictionaries, gave one to her mom, then took one for herself and memorized it - because she got a 1270 on her SAT's and she was upset that her verbal score was lower than her math score. She then made her mom quiz her on vocab words even though her mom kept telling her that she got a good score. Reshma later went on a TV show and claimed that her mother was the one who forced her to memorize the dictionary.
Basically, it all boils down to this: Reshma Kapoor is truly a spoiled baby who thinks that the world owes her something because she thinks she's better than everyone else. She showed no personal growth at all in the novel, and was willing to throw anyone and everyone under the bus. At the end of the book, when she is working in a shoe store (after having been rejected by Stanford for cheating) all she can think about is how to ruthlessly overtake the world of retail and come out on top. She truly didn't learn a damn thing the entire book.
The only thing good I can say about this book is at least I got it from the library for free. Save your time for a book that's actually worthwhile.