Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Source: ARC from ARC Tour
Cover: I'm so-so on this one. I really like the clean white with the off-white of the egg and it's not hard to figure out what the egg represents in Bumped, but the cover doesn't jump out like some of the others have lately. I do really like the hot pink on the white background though!
First Sentence: "I'm sixteen, pregnant and the most important person on the planet"
The Mini-Review: Tackling teen pregnancy like never before, Bumped is full of issues, great lingo, a Parent Trap plot and two main characters to root for!
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.
Don't let the pretty cover fool you, Bumped is an issues book at its heart. Told from alternating perspectives by twins who couldn't be more different, it tackles some really big questions with finesse and an interesting bit of lingo to go along with it.
I generally enjoy novels with two narrators. It makes me feel like I'm getting a more rounded story. I was really glad that Bumped was told from both Melody and Harmony's point of view. Both girls grew up in completely different worlds and had different and often conflicting views on what it means to "bump" for profit. Without both points of view, this novel wouldn't have held the impact it did so I was especially pleased with this.
Melody was planning to bump for profit. She grew up in a world where that behavior was not only accepted but encouraged in their everyday lives. The media, the government, the parents and their peers shove the idea down their throats. I really liked how strong Melody was. She was sarcastic, intelligent and usually spoke her mind. Basically, she was hilarious. It was really interesting seeing how she tried to mold herself into what the world wanted her to be and how she tried to make herself like it... yet there was something missing. Her relationship with Zen was really sweet and I liked watching them try to figure out how to be together.
I was less inclined to like Harmony in the beginning. She was FAR too mousy for my taste. Growing up in the church made her dependent on her religion for everything and while I do like a girl who believes in something, I don't like when they hide behind it. The good thing about Harmony was that it left plenty of room for her to change. Watching her gain a voice and learn that she does have the power to speak up really made the novel enjoyable. I thought Melody would end up being the loud one but by the end of the story it was Harmony who was daring.
The entire world McCafferty created was very scary because it wasn't far off from our own. There wasn't wide spread panic or mass hysteria. It was just the media sponsoring young girls for their reproductive systems. It was essentially like talent agents for babies. A girl was tested on every aspect of her life the buyer could choose the best possible genetic match for the type of child they wanted. Instead of movie stars to swoon over, there were the most sought after male escorts. McCafferty showed us a world where girls were more valued for what they could produce than for who they are. The wombs was more important than the person. Watching Melody start to come to that realization was terrifying and wonderful all at once.
In dsytopian novels, I always get sucked in by the language and this one wasn't any different. I laughed so many times because of all the pregnancy terminology that slipped into everyday language. Suddenly it was cool to be fertilicious and when someone was mad, they went terminal. McCafferty really was a master at adding these touches in. I'm also always interested in the gadgets these novels have. McCafferty created contacts that allow people to surf the web and talk to each other just by blinking. That was both super intriguing and terrifying.
The plot is where I had a few problems. While I enjoyed the whole Parent Trap twins switch lives thing (even if one didn't know that was going on until too late) I'd already guessed what was going to happen and didn't feel too surprised. I also really hated the ending. Everything was just starting to lead to something and then it stopped. It felt like this had been a much longer book and someone had decided to chop it off in the middle of the story. I guess it's a good thing I got so upset because it means I cared enough to want to know how it was going to all play out.
Set in a world not too far off from our own, Bumped explores what it would be like to be a teenage girl when you are the most important thing (and I do mean THING) in the world. With interesting characters and great world building, Bumped truly does make an impact. If you like issue books, this is a really great one and it's hard to put down once you get started. I'd say, go for it!
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