Monday, July 4, 2011

Bumped

This is a controversial one!

Bumped takes place in a future when everyone over eighteen has a virus that leaves them infertile. The result is that pregnant teenagers become the most important members of society, competing to "go pro" and get pregnant for cash. Perfect teen Melody has her contract arranged is awaiting her chosen partner, when her religious and estranged identical twin Harmony arrives and everything falls apart.

Clearly this isn't going to be going on the shelves at my middle school. Discussions of sexuality and religion dominate the novel, and early adolescents can't process the satire involved in Megan McCafferty's book. Despite its heavy topics, Bumped is actually quite funny and engrossing. The dystopia crafted by the author has incredible details, like cafeteria food rich in folic acid, and girls trying to raise the $250,000 for their first year of college. There are aspects of the technology and culture that seem very realistic, from the instant messaging to the multicultural character names.

Still, it is a satire and none of the characters come off very well. The Christians who live in "Goodside" are portrayed as fanatics and everyone else in "Otherside" is materialistic. Even the twins, who alternate chapters that detail their character growth, seem unrealistic. Naming them Harmony and Melody had me confused and wondering (even at page 300), "Which one is this again?" Also, I was unaware that this is the first book in a trilogy, so the ending seemed abrupt and unsatisfying.

Despite these quibbles, I really enjoyed Bumped and am eager to discuss it. Usually I can predict the plot of YA novels and this one held many genuine surprises for me. While I think that thirty more pages could have tied up the entire storyline pretty nicely, I am bought in enough to anticipate the next novel and what happens to the twins.

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