Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper Teen)
Review Source: eARC from NetGalley
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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.
As I started this book I was seriously intrigued, though I felt a bit overwhelmed. It was like I was dropped into the middle of a story instead of starting at the beginning. This feeling did continue, though luckily you do get a bit of back story as you go along. The book is also filled with crazy futuristic slang, some of which was actually a bit confusing. I’m all for the use of easy to understand sci-fi slang (e.g. the language in the Leviathan books by Scott Westerfeld), but I have to say it was a bit much in this book.
However, one reason why this book is so great is because of the satire. It’s seriously funny and ridiculous right from the beginning, which is not something you would expect to find in a typical dystopian novel. It’s crazy how the world presented seems so ridiculous and far off, yet at the same time makes you think ‘Is this ridiculous?’ In this way I think ‘Bumped’ also addresses media literacy issues, as corporate branding is a big part of the story. In our hyper-aware celebrity and brand obsessed society is it so far off to imagine this world? Not necessarily.
McCafferty has done a good job of creating twins who are polar opposites, yet who have the same feelings and desires deep down. Because of how over the top the characters were it was hard to empathize with them except at certain points. Harmony in particular made me uncomfortable, especially being someone of faith. Of course the faith presented in this novel is incredibly extremist, being more about restriction and suppression than actual faith in God, but I always get a bit antsy when something comes close to satirizing religion as a whole. The one character I adored was Zen. He was just full of loveliness, and he was the perfect male BFF character who you just know loves our main character.
In some ways I think this book can be described as a brilliant cautionary tale that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I loved how the whole book was this zany, hyperactively paced ride through a teen pregnancy obsessed culture, and yet it still does a good job of making you think. This book is a far cry from McCafferty’s ‘Jessica Darling’ series, but I think most readers will find something they enjoy within its pages.
Find Bumped by Megan McCafferty on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca