Published: August 4th 2011, Random House
Pages: 323 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, this is book one.
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the 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.
My review: Bumped had been on my radar for a good while before I was given a copy at the RHCB event last weekend. I'd read so much about it on the US blogs that I got cracking on my copy as soon as I left London. I devoured it in a matter of hours and was thoroughly entertained from begining to end.
I've seen quite a few reviews where people have struggled with the slang in Bumped. Each to their own and all that but I really didn't find the slang a problem at all. In fact, I think it heped to make the world McCafferty creates even stronger. Plus, it's not as though 'bumping' and 'pregging' are particularly cryptic, I'm pretty sure everybody can easily get the gist of their meanings, without the aid of Zen's tender 'coitus' sign language. I read one borderline negative review of Bumped (I'm really sorry but I can't remember who wrote it) where the reviewer compared the story to Brave New World meets Tila Tequila. As if that's a bad thing!
Also, I just have to say that 'fertilicious' is a stroke of genius and will definitely be making it into my vocabulary when I'm with child.
The plot of Bumped is really interesting - a fascinating and fun take on the current dystopia trend. I have commented recently that I'm getting a bit sick of YA dystopia at the moment but Bumped was fresh and original and rejuvinated my interest in the genre.
Our narrators, Harmony and Melody (twin sisters separated at birth), take charge of alternating chapters, though I felt like Melody was the real protagonist. She's an interesting character who seems as though she'll be a bit of a mean girl on first glance - she's blonde, popular, pretty etc etc. However, I found her extremely likable and really cared about her story.
Harmony, though, could go to hell for all I cared. Dull as dishwater, I found her insufferable from page one and she just irritated me more and more as the story unfolded. When she wasn't whining and bible bashing (having religion - fine. Forcing it on me - get out of my face) she was lying and manipulating. I'm not a fan. I've got my fingers crossed for more Melody and less Harmony in book two, though I'm fairly sure that's not going to happen
The subplot of Malia's pregnancy gone awry was so well executed and had me curious from the first time it was mentioned. I loved the frankness with which Melody finally revealed the whole story. It was a really great moment and shocking too, considering Bumped is a relatively light hearted read.
I know there are people saying Bumped is promoting teen pregnancy and that McCafferty must have been watching too much Sixteen and Pregnant to come up with the idea. I think people need to chill out. Bumped is fun and light hearted. It certainly doesn't promote teenage pregnancy as a positive thing and I'm fairly sure it's not going to corrupt children into selling their babies for university educations and tummy tucks. Calm down.
I really loved Bumped. It put a big smile on my face and made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. Fertilious, indeed!
If any of you fancy reading Bumped for yourselves head over to UK Book Tours and sign up for the Bumped tour, which is starting next week.
First line: 'I'm sixteen. Pregnant. And the most important person on the planet.'
Read if you liked…: Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
Total: 16/20 (B+)