Google+ Reading Teen: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins) April 26, 2011
Author's Website: http://www.meganmccafferty.com/
Buy the Book: Amazon
Read my interview with Megan McCafferty


When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching 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 Goodside, a religious community, 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.

Hmmm.....what to say about this book?  This was without a doubt, the strangest book I've ever read.  I honestly don't know how I feel about it.  I found it entertaining, funny, and bizarre, easily reading through it in a day.  I enjoyed the humor and found myself chuckling often.  I found Zen absolutely hilarious and wished that he was in it a little more.  I even found Harmony pretty entertaining.  There were quite a few little twists and mysteries that kept me guessing, and turning the pages to find out what exactly was going on.  It's part of a two-book series, which is a little disappointing (I can't tell you how much I want to read a book and actually know how it ends without having to wait a year) but the storyline was definitely intriguing and left me thinking for hours afterward.

At the beginning of the book, there is a letter from the author.  In it she explains that the idea for this book came from the media's fascination with teen pregnancy, from MTV's Sixteen and Pregnant, to the obsessive news coverage of Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears.  She explains that this book is about extremes, from the extreme idea Melody subscribes to that teens should want to get pregnant, to the extreme religious beliefs that Harmony has grown up believing.

I have to say I had to KEEP reminding myself about this letter while I read the book.  I found myself getting irritated at the portrayal of "religious" Harmony, as I can't help but think that this is the way so many people think that Christians actually behave.  I have a feeling that many will miss the fact that Harmony's character is supposed to reflect an extreme viewpoint.  On the flip side, I found myself frequently exasperated by the behavior of the "pro-bump" teens as well.  Their flippant view of sex and the selling of their babies to the highest bidder was quite sickening.  As was the crude dialog and invented slang.  Once again, I had to remind myself, this was the point of the book.  To make you think about how easily we are influenced by the media, and the world around us.  All you have to do is take a look at some of the ludicrous fashions that four years ago we wouldn't have been caught dead in (skinny jeans...haha), but now are commonplace, to see the truth in that.  Is it so hard to believe that if no one could get pregnant after 18 that we would soon turn to those younger to get what we want?

This book also makes me ask the question; Just because a book is about teens, does that mean teens are the best audience?  Bumped has quite a bit of sexual content.  As you may have guessed, the word "bumped" basically means "have sex."  In this world girls are actually encouraged to have sex, but only for the purposes of getting pregnant and only with the most aesthetically pleasing people.  I also wonder if the message will be lost in the shuffle.  Both because it is hidden in the depths of an enormous amount of slanguage and innuendo, and also because the people that may appreciate this message the most, might be the ones that won't be reading it.  I've already read reviews by people who have definitely missed the big picture message because of the perceived story.  I hope those that do read it, look beyond the surface, and see that the message is to think for yourself, and make your own choices.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the message, however, the sexual dialog was just too crude and extreme for me, and made this one hard for me to like as much as I could have.  But, it did make me think, and that's always a good thing!  It's obvious that Megan is a very talented writer, and it's certainly made me interested in her Jessica Darling Series

3 ??
4 ??
5 ??
I don't know......

Have you read it?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

  • Sexual Content: Very Heavy
  • Profanity: Heavy
  • Violence:  Suicide
  • Other Notables: Use of a drug that makes people less inhibited

For more details, check out Bumped on Parental Book Reviews!

10 comments:

  1. I didn't mind the sex bits, it was all vague and I think teens get the tongue in cheek thing. However I did get offended by the preachy bits at the end.

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  2. What an interesting concept, I'm definitely intrigued to read it... It sounds vaguely similar to The Handmaid's Tale, which I loved.

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  3. I had a tough time with all of the slang and it was just a little bit much for me. It was an interesting read for sure.

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  4. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/135079672

    That's what I thought but I had a lot of trouble really pegging down my star rating

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  5. I'm going to be starting this one soon! It sounds really interesting. I'll definitely have to keep and open mind and remember that letter in the beginning while reading. :)

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  6. I still don't know how I felt about it! I really did like it, but I guess it kind of terrifies me! haha (This coming from a girl who had a baby at 18....so, you can see why it's terrifying for me!)

    Pam, I can see how it might seem kind of preachy at the end, though I think the message is more extremes on either end aren't good for society. I guess it didn't bother me. I like messages of non-conformity and moderation, though. Not that I think books have to have a message :)

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  7. I might save this for later. The only reason I'm interested in it at all is because I'd love to discuss the true meaning of the book, the symbolism, etc. The concept is intriguing. However, it does sound like a book for a, um, later date. ;D

    Thanks so much for the review (or should I call it a warning...?)!

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  8. After reading some reviews about it I've got curious!

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  9. I'm 26, so this wasn't written for me. When I was in high school I started reading her Jessica Darling series and love those books. This one... not so much. In fact, I kind of hated it. Perhaps because I read and loved The Handmaid's Tale? Going in I was expecting Handmaid's meets Heathers, which is how the author described it. Heathers is one of my favorite films as well. My expectations must have been too high. I'm planning to read the second book, because I hate leaving series unfinished. However, it is really low on my reading list.

    Zen was the only redeeming part of the book for me :-)

    *the captcha word showing for me is abborti... that's oddly appropriate*

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  10. Anon- I can definitely understand! It's funny, I've had more people "like" or comment on this review on goodreads than any other review I've posted. It certainly has people talking!

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