Book: Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Published: April 2011, Balzer & Bray
Pages: 323 pages
Where I got it: received as an e-book from NetGalley
Buy It: Amazon
Brief Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
My thoughts: I heard a lot of the buzz and controversy about Bumped when it was first released and then I kind of forgot about it until now. I'm not sure what I was expecting since I've never read McCafferty before but this was definitely a shocking read. I would not consider myself to be a prude by any means, but this book was chock full of sex and lude language. The thing that shocked me the most while reading Bumped was that it is set in the not so distant future of 2035, yet life is so dramatically different. A virus has made it impossible for anyone over the age of 18 to procreate, so the world has adapted to the idea that teens should be "bumping" to avoid extinction. Many of the girls will go pro in bumping, which means they need to pop out as many babies as possible during their teenage years. They continue to go to school but their full times jobs become being surrogates for the older couples who can no longer have children of their own.
Twin sisters Melody and Harmony meet for the first time after being separated at birth and discover that they could not be more different despite being mirror images of one another. Melody and her friends spend their time trying to get matched up with hot guys to bump with and attending masSex parties, which are pretty much just orgies. Harmony is from Goodside, where she was raised to be deeply religious. When Harmony ventures to her sister's world in hopes of bringing her back to Goodside and "saving" her, she gets more than she bargained for after pulling the classic twin switcharoo (although unbeknownst to Melody). The sisters soon realize that they have more in common than they originally thought.
There was a lot of goofy, made up language in Bumped that reminded me of what it was like to read A Clockwork Orange for the first time. I felt like I needed a dictionary for McCafferty's jibber jabber just to keep up sometimes. I did find a lot of the words funny, but I'm not sure if that was just me being immature or if it was from the fun McCafferty was poking at society and how young girls are growing up too fast these days. Not only was the language weird, McCafferty also used a lot of slang that got pretty annoying. I felt like I was at the mall listening to a group of the most idiotic girls talking.
I didn't think that religion was portrayed in a very good light in Bumped. I felt like Harmony and the rest of Goodside were depicted as the extremes. I have no idea what McCafferty's stance is on religion but I got the feeling that there were bad vibes underlying in this book. One thing I thought was done really well here was the way in which it was unheard of for the teenagers to have sex for pleasure or to fall in love with someone. Condoms were considered contraband in Melody's world. Everything was so carefully calculated based on a matched couple's looks, talents and family history. I think that the idea behind Bumped was a good one and McCafferty obviously has a lot to say about where today's society is headed, but for me a lot of that was lost in the complicated language and sometimes overwhelming story lines. With that said, this would be a great discussion book for a book club because it's so different from most of the other books out there right now.
My rating: 2 stars