Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review of Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Blazer + Bray
Pages: 336 pages
Author Website: http://www.meganmccafferty.com/
Genre: Dystopia
Rating: 2.5 stars
Source: ARC from the Publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads Summary: 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.

Review: What would the future be like if only teenagers could conceive and bear children? If instead of discouraging teenage pregnancy, the government and parents of these teenagers encouraged and even taught them that they had an obligation to have sex, get pregnant and give their babies up for adoption to older, more established couples? This is the world that Megan McCafferty has created in Bumped. The story is original, provocative and controversial.

Unlike most dystopias where the conflict and oppression is from a large power like the government, in Bumped, no one is forcing teenage girls to have sex and get pregnant. While there is a lot of pressure from society and their parents, most of the conflict is from within.

Ms. McCafferty writes characters whose voices are realistic and true. Unfortunately, I did not find the characters likable. While I was sympathetic to Harmony’s upbringing and situation, I was annoyed by her inane (and religious) rationalization of her actions. I thought Jondoe was overwhelmingly narcissistic and his intentions at the end of the book to be sketchy and as for Melody and Zen, they were just there. I found myself reading this book just to find out what would happen, but not rooting for any particular character. I was just not invested in them.

Bumped pulls no punches. While it is a satirical look at teenage sex and religion, it has the power to be extremely offensive. I knew the subject matter before I started the book and because I am sensitive to sex and language in YA literature, I tried to be as objective as possible while reading.

There is an incredible amount of conversations about sex in the book, some actual sex, profanity including the f-word and cult and non-cult religion. Even though I was reading objectively, the thing that bothered me the most was how the Christians were portrayed – almost all of them were over the top and crazy. Even the ones that were supposed to be more moderate were still crazy.

I know the things that bothered me about the book may not bother anyone else and if that’s the case, it may be worth it to read. It is a unique novel that is sure to spark spirited conversations about the topics mentioned above. While I know some will love this book, unfortunately it was not for me.

Content: Sex, heavy profanity and drug use. Not recommended for younger teens.


Read.Breathe.Relax. said...

Great review, NC! I've had this book sitting in my NetGalley for awhile, and have seen a mixed bag of reviews.

The whole concept does sound like it could be quite controversial. I'm wondering how I'll feel about it as well. It's a struggle for me to read about religion in books when it seems to bash or belittle real faith.

I guess I'll see!! :)

Christy @TheReaderBee said...

I just finished this last night, and I'm still forming my thoughts over it. I agree about not really liking the characters. I didn't connect with them at all. I also didn't like how the Christians were portrayed.

Great review!! This book is really thought provoking. :)


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