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4.14.2011

Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Young Adult, Dystopian
Hardcover $16.99 (336 pages, BALZER + BRAY)
Ebook $9.99

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.
Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.
Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.
When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.
From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.

Author Site: www.meganmccafferty.com

YA Dystopian Lit Steps Into the Light (4 stars)

Identical twins Harmony and Melody were separated at birth. Harmony was raised by the church in Goodside, a community living in relative seclusion from the outside world. Her life has been spent preparing for the sacred rite of motherhood as a wife to a husband chosen for her. Meanwhile, Melody was raised by a well-to-do couple with a broad understanding of the current value of teenagers as surrogates.

In a world where a virus has rendered everyone above the age of eighteen sterile it is up to teenagers to bump, to carry a preg for profit. Having become the first girl in her school to have a professional pregging contract, Melody is admired and yet manages to be sixteen and still not have been bumped yet. When her twin decides it's time they meet, thinking she can convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin, craziness ensues. While Melody is supposed to finally be pregged—and by the world famous Jondoe no less—a mistaken identity can change everything the two girls have wanted in life.

Bah! I almost loved this book. The concept was absolutely genius. I LOVE dystopian themes and this one turns the dark, bleak post-apocalyptic style most commonly associated with the genre on its ear. It's light and makes fun of commercialism, pop-culture, celebrity... while still managing to happen in a world where babies are being paid to make babies. This is so controversial and thought-provoking I would expect to see it used to teach in classrooms a couple of decades from now.

What ultimately ruined the book for me was the ending. No offense to the author but it kind of felt unfinished. As if there should have been another chapter or two. There wasn't a solid resolution but neither was it a true cliff-hanger ending either. It was unsatisfying to say the least. Otherwise I really enjoyed it.

Because this is a story focused on procreation as a commercial industry I would recommend it for older teens and encourage parents with younger readers to perhaps read it themselves before deciding if their kid is ready for some of the subject matter. Bumped is really heavy on slang but still manages to convey what it is slang for. My older kids are tweens and I don't think either would be ready for this one emotionally speaking. It's a pretty heavy load of controversial subject matter revolving around teen sexuality so I highly applaud both McCafferty for taking it on and parents who read this with their teens. If anything this will definitely get you talking about teen pregnancy.

Aside from the ending which didn't work for me I think this was an excellent book, one I'll be adding to my keeper shelf and recommending to my fellow YA dystopian fiction lovers.

P.S. -- While looking for other reviews to link to I discovered that there is a sequel to Bumped coming out! It is as yet unnamed but maybe that will help with the ending I hated?

Other Reviews:
Andye on reading Teen
The Book Faery


Notes: Received ARC via Amazon Vine.

2 comments:

Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} said...

Read this one today and totally understand your feelings about the ending... but it did feel like a Cliffhanger to me and I kinda guessed there would be a sequel hehe

Great review!

Rhianna said...

Thanks Larissa! It was one of those books that I think people will have really strong opinions on so I am definitely looking forward to seeing more reviews and discussions about it.

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