Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review of Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped by Megan McCafferty.  HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, 2011. 
The year is 2035, and teenagers are a valuable commodity. A virus has hit the world and rendered 75% of the adult population over the age of twenty sterile. Teenage girls are urged to “bump” or become pregnant in order to keep the world populated. Many of them, called Reproductive Professionals or “RePros”, become surrogates to the highest bidder before they ever become pregnant. The rest are Amateurs and either put their babies up for public auction or donate them to infertile couples. Sixteen-year-old Melody Mayflower’s adoptive parents have spent large sums of money to give her the best schooling, athletic opportunities, and musical training money can buy, grooming her to be a RePro. The Jaydens offer full college tuition, a Volkswagen Plug, a postpartum tummy trim, and a six-figure signing bonus for her to be their Surrogette, and she is waiting for her agent, Lib of UGenXX Talent Agency, to find a professional male RePro “match” for her. Appearing on Melody’s doorstep one day is her identical twin, Harmony, who lives a “church life” in Goodside. Harmony, who is betrothed to Ephraim, decides it is her goal to convert Melody and bring her back to Goodside to live. Ephraim shows up in Otherside to bring Harmony back to Goodside. However,
Melody and Zen, her best friend, discover that Harmony is missing.  Unbenownst to them, Harmony is trying to pass herself off as her sister to the extremely attractive Jondoe, who has been chosen as Melody's RePro match.

In this dystopian adventure, Megan McCafferty has written about a sensitive subject, making it both humorous and tragic, at the same time. Alternating chapters are written in the twins’ voices in their points of view.

I spent the first chapter of the book thinking that Melody, who is in a Babiez R U Store, is pregnant. However, at the end of the chapter, she takes off a “fun bump” which simulates a forty-week real set of twins in the womb, and hangs it on the wall! This blew my mind! I went back and reread the first chapter, from this perspective. Futuristic terms, like MiNet and MiChat, among others, were frequently used, and it took me half the book to figure those out! Once I became accustomed to the lingo, I was able to absorb was going on.

The two societies of Goodside and Otherside are very different, but at the same time, strangely alike. They exploit teenage girls’ sexuality through contrasting views. While both societies are trying to propagate the human race, Goodside does it in the name of religion, and Otherside does it for consumerism. I find it interesting that Melody began the book waiting and hoping to be bumped and did a three hundred, sixty degree turn in the opposite direction. On the other hand, Harmony, who was raised to believe it is a sin to have sex out of wedlock, also does a complete turnaround when she meets Jondoe!

Bumped is actually a provocative satire of the manner in which sex is portrayed in the media today! If readers can get past the futuristic computer lingo, they will have a real page turner on their hands. The copy I read was an ARC from NetGalley.com and is scheduled to be released in print on April 26, 2011. Because of the subject matter, I recommend the book for only mature high school readers and public libraries.