4 out of 5 Robots!
Series: Bumped, #1
Author: Megan McCafferty
Genre: YA Dystopian
Release: April 26, 2011
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Copy: Publisher
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The pace is quick and an easy read. I blew through it in about three days in the middle of finals and baby. There were some issues with the book, but overall I think it was an enjoyable read. First of all, the premise is really interesting - what would happen if only teenagers could become pregnant? In McCafferty's future (2035) this means every teenager desires and tries to become pregnant. In Goodside, which is a secluded religious community, this means getting married and having children as soon as possible. In the "Otherside" (everywhere outside of Goodside is referred as), this means just trying to get pregnant. If a girl is an amateur, she will get pregnant first and then find an adoptive parent who will pay for the baby. If she goes pro though, she will hold out for the highest bidder and create a contract that could include college tuition, cars, and cash if the girl can deliver on her baby. Harmony, having been raised in Goodside all her life, believes that this kind of "pregging" is a sin. Melody, on the other hand, has been groomed by her opportunistic parents to have the best "profile" possible to score a big contract. Because there is such a short time frame for having a baby, being pregnant is at the fore front of every teenager's mind. They want to be pregnant, their lexicon is riddled with pregnancy metaphors, there are pop songs about pregnancy. They basically eat, sleep, and dream pregnancy. Because it is every teenager's desire to be pregnant, sex is also very much in the open. (Though there aren't any graphic scenes, there is a lot of [blunt] talk ABOUT sex. Be warned if you are a little sensitive to that).
McCafferty does create a pretty cynical view of this situation. For example, Otherside teenagers do not keep their babies. In fact, it is pretty forbidden. Babies are only to be given to adoptive parents. Goodside teenagers do keep their babies but live in a fairly oppressive society. I think the author does a good job of showing how voyeuristic the whole process can become and that makes for an interesting read. I think the only thing that suffered was the character development. The book is driven by the plot more than the characters. Sometimes you don't quite understand why the characters do what they do or make the decisions they do. Also, you are thrown right in the middle of it. It is a bit jarring and takes a couple pages to start to understand the lingo and what is happening. But you will catch on pretty quick.
Overall, I liked the book and kept wanting to find out what was going to happen next!