Thursday, 19 May 2011

Book Review: Bumped by Megan Mcafferty

Goodreads Description

Bumped (Bumped, #1)
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to 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 had 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 religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her 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 review

Having read several dystopian books I’ve really liked this year and enjoying interviewing the author, I was really hoping that I’d love Bumped . There has been a lot of controversy around the blogosphere about Bumped with a divide between people who loved it and people who thought the book wasn’t for them. Unfortunately, I fell into the latter category.

I had a really hard time getting into Bumped because of the unfamiliar slang of the dystopian world Megan Mcafferty created. Instead of building up the atmosphere bringing the world to life, the words like ‘rilly,’ 'reproaesthetic' and ‘neggy' just confused me and ended up sounding forced. So rather than adding to my reading experience they became an unwelcome frustration because the talk was hard to follow. I think this could have been helped by a glossary at the back for the made up vocabulary because even having finished the book I'm not sure I could completely explain all the terms.

Melony and Harmony made a nice contrast to each other because of their vastly different personalities and backgrounds, which meant I was able to see their world from different points of view. This was helped by the story being told from both their points of view in alternating chapters. I liked the idea of Harmony being bought up in a religious community because it balanced out against the rest of the materialistic society but I did find the way she wanted to share her religion all the time with everyone she met rather annoying at times and it showed religion in a bad light. Melody's relationship with Zen was a high point in the book because it was the only one that seemed to have true depth and the banter between them added a lot of humour to the story.
The twins did develop throughout the course of the book but I just didn't feel a connection with them and this particularly affected my enjoyment. I think this could be because I just wasn't able to picture them in my head and they almost didn't feel like real people.

The topic of young teenage girls getting pregnant for profit was always bound to be controversial and the book did succeed in making me uncomfortable but also slightly curious about the dystopian world. It was very thought provoking because it made me think about some of the issues with teen pregnancy we face now. Despite this and the interesting premise, I found the extremely casual sexual talk and  drug references a little too much considering my age and this put me off so I'd only recommend it to the upper end of the YA market. I think I'd have enjoyed the plot more if these issues had been dealt with in a more serious way instead of making it fun spirited because it would have hit my emotions harder.

However, I must say that the idea was a very original one and I applaud Megan Mcafferty on daring to take a risk . The society presented in Bumped is different from other dystopians I've read because it didn't have a controlling government and I think this gave it a lot of scope for the characters because they had more of a grip on their future. I also found that this made the society seem scarily believable to me because it's closer to what I know and could imagine happening, which was what gave the book an almost creepy atmosphere. To get the bigger picture of the society as a whole, I would have liked to have seen more adult interaction within the book (even though I know it's a teen centred society) and have known more about the infertility virus that hit the world.

Verdict/ Quick Read: Unfortunately Bumped didn't live up to its exciting premise for me because I couldn't connect with the characters well and the teen speak bogged the story down. Despite this, I was impressed at the originality and the thoughts it provoked so I won't forget it easily. It wasn't the book for me and I don't think I'll be reading the sequel but I would still encourage you to try it if the premise appeals and you like dystopians because I know so many people who have loved it!

Rating: 2 stars

Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me a review copy via NetGalley


  1. Sad you didn't like it! The slang put me off a bit at first and a lot of it was annoying, but I think the term reproaesthetical is brilliant! :) (I'm not sure I understand all of it either though)
    I had the same issues with Harmony you did, but I felt more connected to Melody. She seemed slightly less brainwashed. And Zen, he's the bright spot in the book for me.
    And you're right, it's creepy that only teenagers being able to get pregnant could be a real problem in the future the way things are going.

  2. It's a pity you didn't enjoy it! Ah well, I'm not a big fan of dystopians either.

  3. Oh no shame you didn't enjoy this one. I have a copy but haven't read it yet will be mindful of the issues you talked about so thanks! :)

  4. I've heard some good buzz about this one so I'm sorry you didn't like it. I think I still may read the book. The premise sounds interesting!

  5. Too bad you fell on the side that doesn't like it. It's so disappointing when that happens. I'm usually disappointed by the world building with dystopians lately, but it sounds like the world building here is good and believable. The slang would drive me nuts and, well, the characters sound annoying to me in the reviews I've read so I can't imagine reading an entire book with them.

    Thank you for your candid response about your age and how that related to the subject matter of the book. I'll keep that in mind with my library kids and save this one for the older teens.


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