Thumped by Megan McCafferty (website | twitter)
UPCOMING Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Target Audience: Young adult
Format read: Paperback from ALA. (Thank you!)
Summary: It’s been a few months since we’ve left twin sisters, Harmony and Melody, who reunited in the first book of this dystopian series, Bumped. Both in quite a growing predicament, can they rise to the challenge, going against all they know?
“Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
It’s going to be difficult to explain just how utterly amazing Thumped is without giving too much away. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect a) to like this book more than the first (I DID!) and b) it to be one of my favorite reads of the year so far. (I’m about 40 books in.) But you have heard it here folks: Thumped was worth the wait (and follows in the footsteps of several other awesome April 2012 book releases — how lucky are we!)
One suggestion before I get into the actual story: read or reread Bumped before diving into this one. Because of the intricate world that McCafferty has created, I think it’s best for there to be little to no breathing room before books. It won’t take you quite as long to get reacquainted with these quirky characters and most importantly, the clever language. I also guarantee there are a bunch of small details you’ve forgotten over time. I know I had.
There are a lot of twists and turns throughout Thumped and rightfully so. McCafferty left the characters in quite a predicament at the end of Book 1 and what I like about this sequel is that it fast-forwards a few months, and even though we immediately jump back into the lives of Harmony and Melody, I was seriously kept guessing through a lot of it. Did she? Didn’t she? Is she? Is he? What? Truth: My fingers couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
This book forces Melody and Harmony to comes to terms with their beliefs and to take a stand in order for there to be change. It’s very girl power when you think about it and not in a rah-rah way but in a “I didn’t know I was a strong woman but I AM a strong woman and I need to do this” sort of way. Of course, this strength doesn’t appear out of nowhere. Instead it was just a seed planted in the first book and one that continued to take control in the second. In fact, even many of the supporting characters (who we get to know more intimately in Thumped) have to make choices that are equally difficult and unpopular in this world. Can 5 people elicit the change needed in a world where babies are sold to the highest bidder? It’s the big question overarching the entire plotline.
I believe it was purposeful for McCafferty to make her characters feel so detached the first time around. I actually was surprised by how much more invested I was in them in Book 2, even emotionally choked up at some points. (We all know I’m a sap. Sue me.) But it makes sense. These characters deepen and open up more. There are very adult truths they have to face at a young age, while at the same time wrestling with the challenges of the teenagers we know today.
In a book world where we are drowning in trilogies, I have to point out that McCafferty does a great job of developing these characters and this plotline, and then tying up loose ends in the second without need for another book. I was a little worried at first, knowing how involved the story was. But the pacing worked and I felt quite satisfied when I reached the last page.
Okay, I’m going to quit being so vague and just tell you this: this series proves just how thought provoking the YA genre can be. It is about sisterhood. It is a commentary on the celebrity-obsessed world we live in and how the media can blow it all out of proportion. It is about parenting and enjoying the simple things. It is about doing the right thing even when it’s the most complicated and it seems like everyone is against you. Most of all it is about FEELING something in an age where we are connected through disconnect.
P.S. Brainstorm: wouldn’t a companion book from the perspective of one of the male characters be super intriguing? Especially a few more years in the future?