Friday, March 25, 2011
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
This has been a very hard review for me to write. I am having some difficulty coming to terms with how I feel about this book. I also do not want to be a negative Nancy, but I want to be honest with you guys. Let me just start by saying this was a tough read. No no, it’s not such an intellectual novel that it requires MENSA level intelligence to understand. It’s actually quite the opposite. The characters are like futuristic valley girls, living in a world that is focused on sex and pregnancy. I didn't hate it (I finished it which says something), but I didn't like it either.
“Bumped” sounds so great in theory. It’s a dystopian novel where twenty five years in the future, a virus has made us go infertile by the time we’re adults so teenagers are responsible for the survival of our race. What a big job to put on our world’s teens right? The story revolves around a set of twins who were separated at birth. One twin went to a religious community that evolved from the Amish community and the other is raised by wall street upstarts who groom their adopted daughter to be perfect in order for her egg & womb to bring them a big ol’ chunk of change. The story rotates between the two girls’ perspectives on the events transpiring around them (Harmony & Melody).
It’s obvious that Ms. McCafferty had planned out this version of our world quite thoroughly, even down to the slang being used. It’s immediately thrown out at you in over abundance. Examples include “bumped” (because you want to end up with a BUMP afterwards) instead of f*ed or sex, breedy, pregg (you don’t call it your baby to keep your distance), ectopic (come on, what teenager has ANY idea where that term comes from), etc. The slang all revolves around sex, pregnancy and childbirth since that is the main focus. It’s the job of the teenagers on our planet. You can either be a pro (selling off your egg and womb to the highest bidder like Melody’s parents did for her) or you can be an amateur (where you have sex with a boyfriend or other random guy and then sell off your “pregg” afterwards). To keep girls from getting attached, they feed them “anti-tocin” which fights the chemical attachment a mom feels for her unborn child. Teens also take drugs to stay horny, young men are given sex dolls at a young age to practice, yeah... I could go on and on. It’s a world out of control. The slang is overwhelming and if you can suffer through the first third of the book, it does lighten up and terms do get explained somewhat. Seriously though, what teenage girl who hasn’t had a baby is going to understand half of this stuff? If I hadn’t been through a pregnancy already, I know *I* wouldn’t have a clue and I’m a grown woman.
The slang may be overwhelming and frustrating, but it is the characters that are true downfall of this book. They lack true depth. They each represent the stereotypical teenage girl that has been raised in their societies. There is no.. real personality to either twin. I didn’t care what happened to them at all. The only character I even remotely cared about is Zen, Melody’s best friend. He was the only character in the whole book. (Granted, this could all be on purpose and develop as the series moves on.) He’s the only one who wasn’t all wrapped up in this sex pot lifestyle (or in Harmony’s care - the religious lifestyle) since he wasn’t tall enough to be considered a viable sperm donor. He was able to see the problems and oppression that society has created by developing this system.
I could ramble on and on, but you get the point. I didn’t like it. I really don’t want to be so negative, but honesty is the best policy. I could definitely see this appealing to other readers, but for me, it’s a no go. It got on my nerves. I’m really unsure of how this fits in the young adult market. I do not see it appealing to either of my younger sisters and I worry that the valley girl style characters will turn away adult readers like it did for me. As I’ve mentioned above, this book is SEXSEXSEX... sex as a business for Melody, sex as a way to self-discovery for Harmony. To my readers who are librarians and booksellers, I’d definitely recommend reading this yourself before putting it on your shelf. It is definitely an acquired taste and I’m not sure who will acquire it!
I received a digital ARC of “Bumped” from Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins) via Netgalley.com for review. “Bumped” is scheduled to be released in April of this year.