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Estelle: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped by Megan McCafferty (website | twitter)
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 336
Target Audience: Young Adult
Classification: Dystopian
Format read: Last year: borrowed by library. Reread: Nook download.

Summary: When a virus sweeps the world not so far into the future causing infertility in those over the age of 18ish, it is teen moms to the rescue! Melody is one of those potential teen moms. Once her agent finds her the best potential sperm provider, her future child will go to parents in exchange for her college tuition, a car, post-tummy tuck, and a nice advance. She is still waiting to be bumped when her twin sister, Harmony, shows up on her doorstep out of nowhere. Separated at birth, the two have grown up in two different worlds. Harmony was brought up to follow the word of the Lord and save “sinners” who are paid to pregg. She’s come to save Melody and that’s when things start to get complicated.

I first read Bumped last summer after going on a huge Jessica Darling rampage. I could have been Jessica Darling. I related to her and her crazy antics so much. So to pick up Bumped by the same author is sort of baffling for me because I never read dystopias and for her because she has managed to create SUCH a different world from the one we live in, a.k.a. Jessica Darling’s reality. (Okay, maybe NOT so different when it comes to theme but to the smallest detail, she has played God in a huge way.) And that, to me, as a reader and as an aspiring writer, is completely impressive. You could see the author really challenged herself here because as a reader, I am continually challenged by the lingo she has manifested and the problems and urgencies of Bumped’s environment.

The beginning is slow. And it’s not because it’s boring. You have to get used to his new language, this crazy world where 11-year old girls think it’s glamorous to be pregnant, where another girl is a celebrity because she can pop out 9 babies before she is 18. It’s a lot to swallow because the reality is so different. I’m 27 years old. According to this book, I would have been shit out of luck to conceive for the past 9ish years or so. I can’t even imagine that (especially now, being married and “settled” and still not knowing when I’ll be ready to have a child of my own). Not only that, the babies are given away. There is such an extreme detachment in this world. And it’s funny because they are surrounded by something called “miNet” which is like the extreme to our internet-filled lives. Everyone is pretty much under constant surveillance. It’s not like now where I can turn off my computer after work, walk to the train station, ride the train, and drive home before checking my email again. It is always there.

It’s safe to say I’m more disgusted with the lives of these girls and the lack of independence and choice than I was the first time around. Parents and agents and everyone treat these teenagers like they are property. They are constantly branded and improved upon to achieve the best selling price in the end and it makes me sick. We can look at Teen Mom and Jersey Shore where kids are paid to fall over each other drunk all the time, or get in fights with their babies’ daddies, but they chose that lifestyle. They didn’t need to be on TV. It’s like the girls in Bumped don’t have a choice. This is their role and if they don’t stick to it, they are outcasts. They are not fulfilling their purpose in life. Not to mention, the existence of mankind is in their hands because if they stop procreating as teens, the population will continue to die down until we don’t exist anymore.

That’s pressure.

So that’s Melody’s side of the story. And then we have Harmony, who for a while, felt like she had things a little bit better. But while she’s thumping all her love for God to everyone who will listen, in her world, she’s forced to marry a man she doesn’t love (not even close) and is expected to have children with him. An arranged marriage, basically. So we are left to ponder: what is worse? Having unattached sex with someone just to have a baby you will hand over to another couple? Having unattached sex with multiple partners to do the above? Or marrying and having sex with someone you don’t love? Clearly, Melody and Harmony have a lot more in common than they thought.

It’s like there is such a rush to procreate that the feelings are missing. Love, flirting, the innocent fun things like hand holding and dates. LOVE, people! I’m getting worked up. It’s the small things that are dropped to the wayside and that’s upsetting too.

Can you tell I’m sucked in though? McCafferty did such a wonderful job with this book. I was constantly amazed by her phrasing and her word choices. I love how we get to know Harmony and Melody through every other chapter, but still remain a bit detached as readers. The book’s pacing feels like the quintessential snowball effect, like being on the downward motion on a roller coaster and not being able to stop. It’s not a story that’s for everyone though. But it is so worth taking the chance especially when you have the time or patience to savor its events and discoveries.

Final thought: Do these two girls have the power to change this world?

As you could probably tell, I couldn’t wait to start Thumped

Goodreads | Buy on Amazon

January 23, 2015 - 9:00 am

Vivian Apple... by Katie Coyle | Estelle Reviews - […] of America (clever usage of social media and consumerism that reminded me a lot of the underrated Bumped series by Megan McCafferty) and find out if Viv and her friends had the power to change their fates. The story continues in […]

September 9, 2013 - 9:00 am

Jessica Darling's IT List by Megan McCafferty (Middle Grade Review) - […] Jessica Darling’s IT List (#1) by Megan McCafferty ( web | tweet ) Publication Date: September 3, 2013 Publisher: Poppy / Little Brown Pages: 240 Target audience: Middle grade / Jessica Darling fans! Keywords: starting middle school, friendships, siblings Format read: ARC from Shanyn of Chick Loves Lit. Thanks!! Other books reviewed by MM: Bumped […]

December 20, 2012 - 9:02 am

Estelle: 2012 End of the Year Survey (Yay!) - […] honest… if a book is a series, I’m not very likely to invest my time. But I did finish Megan McCafferty’s Bumped series this year and I think it’s really pretty […]

October 3, 2012 - 9:01 am

Young Adult Review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky - […] Kacvinsky doesn’t build a world quite as concrete as Megan McCafferty’s Bumped series and goes a tad overboard with the ‘evils of technology’ theme (We get it, we get it, I […]

June 18, 2012 - 12:16 am

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - This sounds SO GOOD. I haven’t read any books by her yet (I know, I know, I should read the Jessica Darling series, I know!), but I promise I will try to remedy that this year!

April 21, 2012 - 2:50 am

Jasmine Rose - I know a lot of people were pretty mixed about this one, but I, for one, really enjoyed it. I loved that though it was a disturbing world, Megan managed to make it funny without making light of the situation. It was definitely a refreshing change on the dystopian scene.

April 18, 2012 - 6:30 pm

elena - I was a fan of the Jessica Darling series too (well, up to the point I read at!) and I think Bumped sounds so interesting because it’s drastically different from Jessica! I really have a thing against reading pregnancy in books so I probably won’t be reading this one anytime but I love the points you made. Even reading about the way the teens are treated make me sick. I can’t imagine their reality and their dilemmas sound really harsh. It seems like a book that raises questions! A really great, insightful review, Estelle!

April 18, 2012 - 10:26 am

Jessie Marie - After seeing people featuring Thumped for Waiting on Wednesday today and it’s release date looming, I am happy to see your Bumped review pop up! I knew nothing about the series other than the covers were pretty cute.

Loved your review. Can definitely tell you enjoyed it. The forced teen pregnancy is a creepy issue but what’s most creepy is that I don’t think it’d be too much of a stretch for us to get there from today’s world. You know, a lot of dystopias have some major, far-fetched event that leads to the society as described but this? Maybe not so far off. That’s frightening.

Anyway, great review. I’ll have to check this out!

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