In Bumped, by Megan McCafferty, teenage pregnancy is a career and can propel you to celebrity status. After a virus renders everyone over eighteen infertile, teenage girls become babymaking machines and the government commercializes and glamorizes teen pregnancy in order to get girls to compete to bump the most and become pros at it. Two twins, separated at birth, Melody and Harmony have lived two totally separate lives and view bumping and life in a completely different way — Melody is on the track to be paired to bump with the McDreamy of all pro bumper guys and Harmony lives in a religious community called Goodside. Will they be able to reconcile their two separate lives to form some semblance of sisterhood or are their paths too far apart?
Among the ranks of dystopian YA books, Bumped certainly stands out in its delivery and unique storyline. I’ll be honest, when I first started it I was like, “WTF is this?!” Bumped is written using the slang and the vernacular of this world. It’s like a futuristic valley girl sound with lots of twisted pregnancy lingo. At first it grated my nerves and I thought it was serious..everything was so outlandish and crazy and over the top….and the LINGO..oh man. I almost put it down. BUT THEN…it dawned on me that it was satire of sorts. This was later confirmed after I finished it when I went to the Megan McCafferty launch party for this book and heard her read aloud from it (which was hilarious) and then talk about it. The one thing about the way it is is written that I enjoyed was that you were immersed pretty quickly into the world through the use of the vernacular and the obvious instances of glorification and commercialization of teen pregnancy. It made it all quite hilarious.
If you are looking for a dystopian novel like The Hunger Games or something along those lines, this isn’t like that. On the surface it is much lighter and there isn’t any violence or major uprisings or any of that. It’s a completely ridiculous society that will make you laugh at the ridiculousness and the slang. It’s a world that is just unimaginable to me because it is so absurd…in an unusual way. While it is a bit lighter, there are still some interesting thoughts that arise from reading this. It wasn’t an “issues” book or an agenda to talk about teen pregnancy. I appreciated that it wasn’t trying to be that although it was inspired from many teen pregnancies in the news and the lack of a clear “answer” as to how to deal with it from all sides.
My Final Thought: Once I got past the prego Valley Girl slang, I was good to go and found it to be HILARIOUS. I can see how this one might not be for everyone so if you don’t enjoy futuristic satire type books, this might not be for you. It’s unlike any dystopian novel I’ve read and I really enjoyed the uniqueness of it all and the fact that it wasn’t like every other dystopian I read. It was fresh and wholly a different experience and McCafferty easily created this future society by showing us the world rather than telling us the backstory and explaining what it was like. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to find out what happens to Melody and Harmony! Both characters changed so much! It’s much different than her Jessica Darling series but she infuses her humor and wit in this one as well!