Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Megan McCafferty
2011, 323 pgs

Book Summary from Amazon

A virus has swept the world, making everyone over the age of eighteen infertile. Teenagers are now the most prized members of society, and would-be parents desperately bid for "conception contracts" with the prettiest, healthiest, and smartest girls—cash, college tuition, and liposuction in exchange for a baby.

Sixteen-year-old Melody has scored a record-breaking contract with a rich couple. And she's been matched with one of the hottest "bumping" partners in the world—the genetically flawless Jondoe.

But her luck is about to run out.

She discovers she has a sister—an identical twin. Harmony has grown up in a strict religious community and believes her calling is to save Melody from her sinful intentions. All Melody wants is to meet Jondoe and seal the deal—but when a case of mistaken identity destroys everyone's carefully laid plans, Melody and Harmony realize they have much more than DNA in common.

Sharp, funny, and thought-provoking, this futuristic take on teen pregnancy is compellingly readable and scarily believable.

My Summary

I think this is a really interesting topic. What is the right answer when everyone is infertile by 18-20? Get married and raise babies young? Have babies for profit to pay for your education so that when you are ready for kids you can pay for a baby? Let the human race go extinct?

Best word to describe how I felt the first chapter of this book – CONFUSED. McCafferty drops you in the middle of a foreign world filled with unrecognizable future teen slang and says “attempt to read this, I dare you”. I’m lucky I made it through the first third of the book because it absolutely breaks rule number 4.b on my list of literary annoyances.
“You’re glowing!” Trynn gushes
I caress my stretchy belly with pride.
“God-mocking,” chimes Harmony with cheery confidence.
Trynn is a skilled sales woman and won’t be put off by Churchy negs on her trade. She puts two hands on my tumescent tummy. “Can you feel the kicking?”
I can.
“And you’ll note the tiny, tastefull stretch marks,” she continues, lifting my brand-new expandable-contractible MyTurnTee.
That’s the section where Melody is trying on fake pregnancy bellies (since they are stylish). It went on for at least three chapters and it took me that long to figure out that’s what was happening.

Or this lovely section shortly afterward,

“You could have learned a lot from watching the Cheerclones and the Ballers in action last night,” he says.
“Ugh. MasSEXtinction parties are nasty,” Melody says, scrunching her nose. “Those amateurs are so desperate.”
Zen clucks his tongue. “How can you be the next Pro/Am president if you neg any girl who doesn’t have a contract? You have to promote positive pregging in all forms.”
I also struggled to get into the right mindset for this one. The topic of teen pregnancy being this enviable position, bidding on babies, “bumping” for pay (futuristic teen slang for f*cking), sexMAS parties, and arranged marriage at thirteen are all really important topics; heavy topics that should be discussed. And I just felt like the way Bumped was written was a little cavalier about all of these topics. Most are just mentioned in passing and then brushed aside. Who is the target audience? To me it was written for young teens/tweens, but the topic/themes are more suited to older teens.

I didn’t find either of the twin main characters, Melody and Harmony (gag me), likeable. Both were incredibly wrapped up in themselves and obviously way to young to consider pregnancy. But then considering both of their adoptive parents were pretty much selfish twits – and at the end of the book when Melody and Harmony each have their own epiphany it amounts too “My parents are wrong and I shouldn’t be forced to live my life the way they want me too”. My issue isn’t so much that message it’s the fact that the parents are clearly set up to look terrible the whole book – not putting the needs of their children above their own. My issue is that instead of facing the real issue – there’s no good solution until the root problem is solved, the message is “your parents aren’t always right”.

And maybe in book two McCafferty will actually address the serious issues of the world she’s invented, and I might read the second book eventually since I’ve already learned the language, but I obviously had some big problems with Bumped.

3 out of 10 stars

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  1. I've heard that this one is pretty satirical/sarcastic/absurd and whether you like it depends on whether you like that style. I don't know, it's on my list to check out eventually since I really like dystopia and Megan McCafferty's other work. But that language you quote makes me take a step back. Not sure I can handle futuristic teeny boppers!

  2. I think satirical is what she was going for with all the current media attention there is for Teen Mom's right now. It just didn't work for me. I did just finish Sloppy Firsts and really liked it (review to come).

    I would just go into it mentally ready for futuristic teeny boppers. And definitely go library not purchase, I'd be mad if I'd spent money on it.