By 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.
Why I read it: As I’ve said so many times, I love dystopia. The premise of this one, ‘What if teens were encouraged to get pregnant?’ sounded like it could go very well or very poorly, so I was interested to see how McCafferty handled it.
What I liked: The scariest aspect of dystopia is that it’s supposed to present a chilling, but all too possible future. Bumped certainly does that. Having a virus make everyone over eighteen unfertile means that teens are now encouraged to get pregnant, which leads to all kinds of really bad things, like massSEX parties and girls ‘bumping’ (having sex) with specific guys to produce designer babies which they’ll sell to older couples for lots of money. While all this is just horrifying, I loved how it was such a realistic version of life. I can only hope that such a virus never happens…
I also enjoyed how this was told from two POVs, the twin sisters Melody and Harmony. McCafferty made a great choice in having these sisters so amazingly different but with some of the same characteristics. The choices they made felt realistic and their characters were well thought out. I enjoyed the character’s voices, as they really fit the book.
What I disliked: While I said earlier that I liked how McCafferty presents such a horrifying version of the world, I didn’t like how it didn’t really seem that bad. She seemed to be suggesting that it was wrong for teens to have sex just to have babies, but teens having sex just for fun was a great thing to do. There was also a lot of sexual content, more than was necessary. I would have loved to see more of the society, not just the teen pregnancy aspect. There were one or two little hints, but not much. All in all, this book seemed to be way too centered on sex and teen pregnancy, and I think it could have benefited from a side plot or two that was a little cleaner.
This is a smaller dislike, but I really don’t care for how the book starts. In the first chapter, Melody and Harmony have already met and are hanging out in the mall. This means that for the first hundred pages, McCafferty is constantly having to go back and explain how they met, why they met, what they felt while meeting, etc… There’s so much backstory in the first couple chapters that I think it would have made a lot more sense to start the book earlier, perhaps on the day they meet or even earlier.
From a Christian Perspective: As I said before, tons of sexual references, so I won’t list them all. Two of the characters have sex, though it isn’t described. There’s a bit of swearing. My biggest problem was that one of the MCs was extremely religious (it was basically a cult) so people are always misquoting the Bible or mocking her beliefs. I wasn’t sure what McCafferty was trying to say about religion, but it wasn’t completely flattering.
To buy or not to buy: I don’t think I’ll be buying this book. It was a thought-provoking read, but not something I want to read again. I think I’ll read the sequel, though.