Bumped

I think this cover is so cute

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents must 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 search 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 convince Melody 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.
Here’s the scoop:

Bumped is set in the future, in a time period that isn’t so much awful as it bizarre.  A virus has made it impossible for anyone over the age of eighteen to conceive children, making fertile teenage girls and boys a hot commodity.  Like athletes preparing to go pro, the ones with the best genetic makeup hire agents to sell their assets for a profit.  The ultimate goal is to “bump” with a good match and spawn the perfect child for those willing to pay the price.

At the center of this whirlwind is Melody who is, as of yet, untouched by any boy—her agent is still pulling together an offer.   As she’s watched her friends give birth, some flippantly and some paying huge physical and emotional consequences, she seems ill at ease with her fate.   Her recently discovered twin, Harmony, is quite the opposite; having been separated at birth and raised in Goodside, the inversely goody-goody, uber-Christian opposition to Melody’s world.  Harmony’s goal in life?  To spread the love of Jesus.  Her current mission?  Showing Melody the evils of pimping her body and selling her prospective babies for profit.

The story is told from the alternating perspectives of Harmony and Melody, as each grapples with futures they don’t necessarily desire.  Melody, primed to bump with a prestigious candidate, isn’t certain she’s comfortable with the plans her parents have made for her.   And Harmony, though certain that a life of God is what she wants, doesn’t necessarily cling to the idea of marrying someone chosen by her church.  She wants to fulfill her duty, but is tempted by Melody’s freedom.

As I learned with the Jessica Darling series, McCafferty’s writing is completely addictive and funny.  She has an uncanny way of pointing out everyone’s flaws and it’s hilarious in a cringe-inducing sort of way.  With Bumped, she takes this gift to new heights. In fact, to be honest, some of the language and terminology used was a little shocking.  In this book, words we’re used to hearing in Sex Ed class are casually thrown about in daily conversation because sex, conception and childbirth have become part of the daily lives of these characters.  Matters that might seem racy or untouchable now are every day thoroughfare in  McCafferty’s  imaginative (and disturbing) world.

I began this book with concerns.  While I’m no judgeypants, my Christian sensibilities tugged on my heart in such a way that Harmony’s mission of sharing Jesus with Melody stuck a chord of fear in me.  I was worried that Bumped would show an exaggerated , crazy, over-zealous brand of religious freakazoids that I would never desire to be associated with.  And it does.  Along that same vein, it shows exaggerated versions of every view-point, from the parents who push their children to be over-achievers (in the baby market); to the youth who are so grossly desensitized to sex; to the crass, overt marketing of a world that will sell virtually anyone or anything for profit.  No one is safe from McCafferty’s wise, all-seeing eyes and candid wit.

Crush Intensity: ?/5  I had a difficult time coming to a conclusion on how I felt about this book.  The writing was witty and fun, while still shocking.  The story was engrossing and left me with a cliff hanger—so I want more.  But on the opposite side, I had some questions.  Where did this virus come from?  Will we learn more about it? And further, are there any “normal” people in this scenario?  As of now, Melody and her best friend Zen are the most realistic characters.  I would like to see a representation of normal parents who didn’t push their child to procreate, or a religious person who wasn’t a total kook.

So what then?

I’d say, if you like Megan McCafferty, if you appreciate her pointed humour, if you like comedy that is satirical and points out elements of the ridiculous in all, then read it.  But if you’re easily offended, you may want to take a pass.  In the end, though I cringed a bit and worried it might show an unfair picture of religious conservatism,  I relaxed when I saw that her characters—not a one—were anything like me.  As such, I was able to experience their journey from a safe distance and enjoy it.  In the end, I liked it.

Bumped is out April 26.

Disclaimer:  I was fortunate enough to have two opportunities to read Bumped. First, through my wonderful librarian Julianne, who allowed me to borrow her advance copy and second, through  Net Galley I received a copy from Harper Collins.  Thank you!

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11 thoughts on “Bumped

  1. Hm, not too sure that it sounds like my cup of tea. Not so much because of the idea of being offended in some way, more the synopsis doesn’t exactly strike a chord within me. And question: Any romance to speak of?

    • Yes. There are two (one for each sis) and I have to say, I’m looking forward to the next book to see what happens in the love department. I think you should read it. It’s good and funny. I’d only worry about people who shy away from controversial material. If that’s a non-issue for you, you’ll probably like it. The author pokes fun at everyone across the board (she actually has a great letter on her website about her inspiration for the story, if you’re interested) and as long as you don’t mind that, it’s a very creative story. I worried that it might bother me (though I’m pretty open-minded) but it didn’t at all. I got totally engrossed. If you decide to check it out, I’d love to know what you think!

  2. I wouldn’t care if this book was about a dinosaur tea party.. if Megan McCafferty penned it, IT SHALL BE READ. I cannot wait to get to this book. There really needs to be a designated reading day for all of us bloggers. You know, because we’re the coolest people in the world.

    • I agree Jen (if nerdy is cool, then yes)! 🙂 I actually laughed out loud several times during this book. I was worried I wouldn’t like it, but I really did because Megan McCafferty is hilarious. And she’s good at making characters who are so imperfect but who you love in spite of (and sometimes because of) their flaws. That’s how I felt about Harmony and how I will always feel about Jessica Darling (Marcus Flutie actually is perfect, of course).

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