Sunday, June 19, 2011

Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

From Back Cover: 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. 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. Until 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 Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Having taken an anthropology class dealing with global health and issues like IVF and surrogacy, I knew I would find the subject matter covered by Megan McCafferty’s Bumped to be personally relevant. I’d also been expecting from previous reviews I’ve read that it would be hard to get into Bumped because of the terminology it uses. Those reviews were right. Even as I got more comfortable with the vocabulary, I could never get fully immersed into the story because words to which I didn’t know the meaning of would crop up, disrupting the flow of the story. Oh, and what was up with the use of the word ‘rilly’ instead of ‘really?’ It was rilly annoying to read.

The other thing that bothered me about Bumped was the character of Harmony. I have no problems with characters being religious, but Harmony was just so preachy! Any sympathy I could dredge up for her as I began to see that she was struggling to actually believe in and follow the Church’s ideals would vanish with her repeated insistence to save Melody’s soul and actions I didn’t support.

Luckily, every alternating chapter in Bumped is told from Melody’s point-of-view and so I only had to tolerate Harmony’s narrations for half the book. Adopted by economics professors, Melody appears to be living the perfect life except that she’s a Surrogette who is still not pregnant and has doubts about getting bumped after serving as a peer birthcoach for her best friend and watching her breakdown.

Despite my gripes with Bumped, I thought McCafferty wrote a very thought provoking novel with an original plot. While Bumped examines the issue of teenage pregnancy, it does so in a context where the Human Progressive Sterility Virus (HPSV) has left those above the age of eighteen infertile, making teens the most important members of the planet. Reproduction is commercialized and teens are expected to have sex for breeding rather than love. In exchange for giving up their babies, amateurs (i.e. those who choose their sexual partner and bump) hope to make an adequate amount of money. Reproductive Professionals (better known as RePros) on the other hand sign a contract with a RePro Rep, are matched with a family who then pick a sperm donor – here the issue of eugenics arises – and the two reproaestheticals bump. In Melody case, a pregnancy will result in her college tuition being fully covered along with her getting a car, tummy trim and a huge sum of money. On top of that, pregnancies create new members for society, making bumping kind of a patriotic duty. In Bumped then, McCafferty constructs a society that has exploited its teenage population by making bumping difficult to resist while exploring how hard it can be to go against the norm and make your own choices.

Bumped was released in April 2011 by Balzer + Bray.

Comments About the Cover: I think the cover is super cute. Most covers tend to have bright colours or feature people so the big egg and the monochromatic look make Bumped stand out and hard to forget. 

In exchange for an honest review, this ARC was received from the publisher (HarperCollinsCanada) for free.


  1. I saw alot of reviews of Bumped on other blogs but never took the time to read a review. I'm glad I read your's. The story of Bumped sounds interesting and is very thought provoking. As you mentioned in your review termoninally was used that was had to understand which would put me of a little. However I think I'm going add it to my TRL. Thanks for the review!

  2. What a well thought out review Zahida! I had much the same reaction to this one, I definitely had a little trouble with parts of it, but it was one I couldn't quite stop thinking about after I finished reading. That certainly counts for something! I'll be picking up book 2 to see what's in store for Melody:)

  3. I really like the concept behind this one but it's a shame that you didn't enjoy both of the twins. I think Harmony might bother me as well.

  4. That's one of the reasons why I haven't read this book until now. I'm afraid I won't like (or understand!) the vocabulary.

    I do like the premise but from the way you described this, it seems as if Harmony's character screams annoying.

  5. Interesting story. I'm with you on repetitive words though. I stopped reading a book that used "little" in practically every sentence.

  6. Hmmm.... I am still so undecided about this book. I have read so many mixed reviews. And most of them have said Harmony is annoying. Great honest review :)

  7. Very nice review. I don't think this book is for me. The terminology and things like "rilly" would really bother me. The character Harmony sounds annoying, too. Thanks for reviewing this one.

  8. I rilly think I will be avoiding this one. LOL

    I haven't read reviews for Bumped in a while, but I do remember the reviews I have read had much the same complains that you pointed out, Z.

    You made a very good point. Patriotic duty or not, their 'world' has to continue, right? Even if they are only teens, if they didn't have babies, human kind would dissolve so how is there a way around this?

    Very thought provoking concept, indeed, but my curiosity for this book has been satisfied by reading reviews.

  9. I've read some mixed reviews about Bumped but I was a big fan of Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series so will probably give her newest release a try.

  10. I've been iffy on this one but I am intrigued. The premise is interesting. Too bad the flow interrupted. Thanks for the honest review.

  11. Harmony was the only character that I liked in this book. But I think I am the only one who thinks this. I had similar issues about the teminology used in this story. It was annoying. Thanks for the review.

  12. I do have this book but been putting it off my TBR list because of all those negative reviews that I've read. Though the way you describe how original this book is fascinates me. I guess is not really too bad after all! Many thanks for the in depth review =)


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