Bumped is a dystopian novel by Megan McCafferty about two twin sisters, Harmony and Melody, who have never met before the beginning of the book. They live in a world where women become sterile after about the age 21, so it us up to the teenagers to keep the human race going.
It is a world where teenagers are encouraged to have sex young, and get pregnant young. Where adults pay teenagers vast amounts of money to supply them with babies. A world where parents and guardians and teachers and governments promote having sex, getting pregnant, and selling your baby to the highest bidder.
Melody and Harmony both have very different views on sex and marriage and babies. At least, they seem to on the surface. Harmony was raised in a religious community cut off from most of the world. She has been encouraged to marry young to a man not of her choosing, and have as many babies as possible. Melody was raised by two scholars who foresaw the market surrounding adopting babies from teenagers and forced her to pre-sell her baby.
Seriously. An adult couple has promised to pay Melody a lot of money to have a baby for them. Now all they need to find is a suitable father. Again, not of Melody’s choosing.
I really loved seeing the two journey’s the sister’s take. They are such different people but both are struggling with the same fears and doubts and wants and passions.
The world the story takes place in is so recognizably ours, yet also very different and original. I can definitely see how these circumstances would evolve from our current society. The reliance the teenagers have on advertising and marketing. In fact, in this world, the survival of the human race, one could argue, is dependent on all the advertising that makes it cool to be pregnant. Cool to be sexually active as young as possible, as often as possible.
My favourite thing in this book was it’s lack of an antagonist separate from the system itself. The reader sees a lot of representation of the evil of forcing young girls to sell their babies, but there isn’t one person, or entity that is responsible. It’s the society itself that is the antagonist. And the two different perspectives Melody and Harmony have been given, show that the evil isn’t contained to one culture or belief. Everyone in this society is so caught up in “being cool” that no thought is given to the feelings of the teenagers that are suffering.
I will say that the characters utilize their own slang and cadence of speech. It can take some getting used to and I know at least one person who was put off enough by it to stop reading. I found that it supported the world and flushed out their culture, but I can see where it would be confusing.
I’m very interested in seeing where the rest of the series goes. The ending is a very good conclusion, while leaving enough unresolved that you will be eager for more.
Bumped is out today from HarperTeen, and if you like dystopians that reflect the faults of our own culture back at us, I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting absorbed in this addition to the genre.