Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Title: Bumped
Author: Megan McCafferty
Series: Bumped #1
Published: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 336 (hardcover)
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until 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 religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her 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.


In response to the popularity of tv shows like MTV’s 'Teen Mom' and '16 and Pregnant,' McCafferty brings us a satire about teen pregnancy set in the not-so-distant future.

To be honest, it was difficult to get into this book because of the slang. To say, “There’s a lot,” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Every other word is specifically tailored to the teen-focused culture that McCafferty has created, and though the meanings of words like, “bumping,” “preggo,” and “neggy,” are obvious when read within the context, it still took some effort on my part to mentally shift to a state of mind where I could read through them quickly. But once I became accustomed to it (about 50 pages in) I was totally hooked. McCafferty’s dystopian is brilliant.

Melody and Harmony’s personalities provide balance and offer two completely different perspectives that explain the divide in the culture that they live in. While Melody has accepted her role as “the most important person on the planet,” for her working baby maker, Harmony’s religion drives her to want to rid the world of bumping sin, even if it means breaking the law. The two personalities clashed once they were in each other’s lives, but the conflict led them to expose what was wrong in both worlds. Personally, I liked Melody more than Harmony. She was smart, witty, and totally misled about what she wanted, but watching her accept what her gut had been telling her all along was worth the struggle I faced reading the first 50 pages of the book. Plus, she had a totally cute best friend. Zen was the kind of boy I always love to see in YA fiction—smart, friendly, and actually friends with the main character.

The only thing that really bothered me about the book was that I wasn’t sure what McCafferty was trying to specifically say about teen pregnancy until the very end. It left me feeling uncomfortable, torn between giggling at the absurdity of the situation and worrying about the issues raised in the text. It was like…the kind of feeling one gets when watching really bad Japanese ninja/samurai movies. You know the kind I’m talking about—the ones where someone’s head gets split open and gratuitous amounts of pink food dye paint the sky. Though it’s gruesome, you can’t help but chuckle because—in a disturbing way—it’s funny. Not saying that teen pregnancy is funny, but still. I suspect that the writing was structured this way on purpose, to motivate the reader to really think about about was going on.

Not as dark as some of the other recent dystopians out there, but Bumped offers a thought-provoking perspective on some current issues, and begs, begs, BEGS the reader to consider the implications of promoting sexual fads. It’s uncomfortable, it’s scandalous, and it hits home for those who are seriously following the trends in teenage pregnancy. In the end, I loved it, and definitely recommend it for those who can stomach the means of its message. However, I get the feeling that this book is going to be one of those ones that you either really love or really hate. But I’ll most definitely be looking forward to the next in the series!