Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Imagine a world where a virus prevents people older than 18 from conceiving a child. A world where teenagers are encouraged to have babies and sell them to the highest-bidding families. A world where even teenagers can go "pro" and get paired with the best "breeds" in hope of making the perfect baby, where brokers get paid a nice sum to make a match.

Now imagine the world of the "churchies," a fundamentalist group that takes in the weak, sick babies that no one else wants. A group that refers to themselves and the "Goodside" and arranges the marriages of their youth, where babies are born to families the "old-fashioned" way.

This is the world that Megan McCafferty has created with Bumped.

Twin sisters Harmony and Melody have never met each other and never knew the other existed until recently. Harmony was raised on the Goodside and is betrothed to a man she doesn't love. She decides to leave Goodside to save her sister from the evil of the "Otherside" and bring her back to her community.

Melody has lived a life under the constant scrutiny of her adoptive parents who want her to be perfect. She was the first girl in her school to get a "conception contract" with the Jayden family who are willing to pay a lot for the baby she produces. It's just up to the broker to find the perfect father for the baby. But time is running out. She only has a couple of years before she'll be unable to conceive.

When Melody and Harmony meet, both of the girls begin to question the worlds in which they grew up and have to make tough decisions about their futures.

 I expected it to be a little more dark and dreary like most dystopian novels are, but this was very satirical. McCafferty pokes fun of the social media that has consumed the lives of everyone. No one can do anything without it popping up on "MiNet." And the commercialization of the teenage pregnancy phenomenon looks downright ridiculous from the outside. Girls who aren't yet pregnant can try on "Fun Bumps," lifelike baby bellies that actually wiggle. When the book starts, Melody is wearing a 40-week twin fun bump. Jingles, products, and commercials that encourage girls to "bump" with a guy and have a baby permeate their lives.

At times, the conversations between Melody and her friends were annoying and superficial, and I found myself rolling my eyes a lot. But that was definitely McCafferty's point. These girls have been programmed from early on to get pregnant and give their babies away. It's the norm for them and consumes their daily lives.

This book is entertaining and gets a little provocative at times. The ending leaves room for a sequel, and it hooked me enough to read it if one does come out.  

Reading level: Young Adult | Publisher: Balzer + Bray (April 26, 2011) | ISBN-13: 978-0061962745 | Source: Purchased Kindle book

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