Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia
Published by Disney-Hyperion on August 2, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
Review of Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia
Here's my summary of the book's plot.
a) obsessing about her GPA and how she wants to be the school valedictorian
c) arguing with her English teacher about a low grade on a poem she wrote
So ... yeah. Applying to college (and writing a book) aren't really things that will keep the average reader on the edge of her seat.
So here's my rundown of what I thought worked and what didn't.
-Reshma's voice. No, she isn't an admirable character, but many of us reader will recognize her right away. She's Tracy Flick, she's Blair Waldorf, she's Rachel Berry. (I kind of relate to characters like that, and I think they reveal a lot about how we view women and ambition.)
-- The writing. I had issues with the plotting, but I liked the writing a lot.
--The meta/humorous quality of the book was interesting, though I wasn't clear on how much of it was deliberate. Was this book a nod to Opal? Was this book supposed to be Reshma's book? Was this book supposed to be Dr. Wasserman's book (see below.)
-- I wished Enter Title Here had a stronger plot structure. To me, it felt like a bunch of half-developed subplots -- the GPA war, the lawsuits, her date, the book.
--To be fair, I don't think Enter Title Here was trying to be an issue book. It raises, but doesn't really delve into, the crazy blood sport of college admissions and the psychological damage it can wreak on kids.
--I felt the book lacked a sense of purpose. It's not an issue book, it isn't dark enough to qualify as black comedy, and it isn't quite poignant enough to be a coming of age story in which the main character realizes something about herself or the world. For me, it kind of veered uneasily between all those things.
I will definitely try future books by this author, but the lack of plot and overall murkiness made Enter Title Here a frustrating read.