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.