Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

In the futuristic setting of Bumped, being sixteen- or hopefully even younger- and pregnant is the subject of every girl’s fantasy. Because of a virus making everyone over eighteen infertile, it’s kind of a necessity. Hey, no one’s complaining.

The narrators are two genetically gifted twins, Melody and Harmony. The twins have been separated their whole lives until they recently met up. Melody is all super-hyped about getting lavishly paid to “bump” (if you don’t know what the title is hinting at, don’t read this book… please!). Harmony is all super-religious, and her sister pregging for profit goes against her beliefs. All Melody wants to do is convince her sister to return to the secluded religious settlement she came from and leave her alone. And when Melody is hired to bump with world-famous Jondoe, life couldn’t get any better. But then a Parent Trap-worthy moment comes along to complicate everything…

I couldn’t find a character that I liked long enough to dub “My Favorite Character”. As soon as I found something that might qualify the character as Favorite, they did something to counter that. Parts of Bumped that are supposed to be dramatic are made ineffective because of a character’s inexplicable thoughts or actions. Like when Harmony meets with Jondoe, he first comes across as a shallow, self-absorbed idiot whose goal in life is to party his hardest. At the end, he magically (because magical is the only way to describe his transformation) turns into a Good Family Guy with Outstanding Christian Morals. Bumped, to me starts in the middle and spends the rest of the book in catch-up mode. It doesn’t leave much room for the characters’ present, the part where the characters could really develop into something deep.

Bumped had me feeling confused. On the first page I was “rilly” overwhelmed. All the futuristic slang of Bumped-land is mostly left for the reader to interpret, or explained way later in the book. For the first half of the book, I found myself having to ponder over the meaning of a random made-up word every few sentences. But maybe that’s just me. I can be pretty thick sometimes.

I have to say, though, this book makes you think. I look at Bumped’s society, and it is something I could see happening in a situation where adults are infertile. You know, teens pregging. There is one part of me thinking, “Hellooo? Thirteen year olds pregnant? EWWW!” Another is thinking, “Oh well, what other options do they have?” Then I start arguing to myself. In case you’re wondering, yes, it is possible to have an exhausting mental battle with yourself. It is the unique plot that makes Bumped worthwhile.

Three stars.
You can also view this review on Figment.

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