Friday, March 4, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Balzer + Bray, April 26, 2011
Read for 2011 Debut Author Challenge AND
A-Z Reading Challenge

Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Megan McCafferty has created a quite interesting dystopian world with Bumped, a unique world that I could very easily see becoming realist. In this world ta virus strikes most infertile at the age of 18, so teen girls are either Surogettes (like Melody hopes to be), renting out their wombs to the highest bidder, or Churchies (like Harmony), dedicating yourself to God and preparing for a life of matrimony and motherhood. Of course, each section believes that they're doing the right thing and the lines are pretty clearly drawn. There's little to no co-mingling between Otherside and Goodside.

Bumped is told in alternating chapters. We first meet Melody, raised in Otherside by her adoptive and way-overprotective parents. Ash and Ty foresaw the future and groomed their daughter to be the first "professional" Surogette--that is, the first girl contracted to carry a "pregg" for an adoptive couple. Melody's couple is quite particular about what their child should look like, however, so Melody waits to bump while the idea of pregging for hire takes off in her school. Pretty soon, teens as young as thirteen are either pros, like Mel, or amateurs (essentially "bumping" and then giving the pregg up for adoption after its born). Melody has never questioned the path her parents have chosen for her, and has always tried to live up to their impossibly high standards in order to secure an exclusive pregging contract.

On the other hand, Melody's twin, Harmony (the girls were separated at birth), living in Goodside, was raised to believe her future involved becoming a wife and then a mother. Goodside girls are expected to believe what they're told to believe, and to not question what they're told. Once Harmony discovers Melody's existence, she makes a pilgrimage to Otherside to persuade her to return home with her, to lead a good and religious life in Goodside.

When the two girls meet, however, they begin to realize that perhaps both viewpoints are skewed, and perhaps the truth isn't a black or white issue at all. Can you have religion while living in Otherside? Is pregging for hire all it's made out to be? Does anyone, either in Goodside or Otherside, ever just, you know, fall in love?

I enjoyed this story. I hadn't realized how much religion was going to factor into it, but once I started reading it made sense. Of course religion will play a huge role! I felt we were given more background information on Melody, as opposed to Harmony, and would liked to have seen more of Goodside (perhaps that will be coming in the sequel? Yes, the ending to Bumped leaves no question that at least one more book will follow.). One thing that struck me about the plot was how strict the dividing line was. You're either religious, or you're not. I didn't see any middle ground here, but again, perhaps that's a topic that will be addressed in a sequel. I just found it a little hard to believe that people either embrace religion or surrogacy. Surely there must be some people in this world who have mixed feelings on the subject!

The premise is one that I could definitely see becoming a reality, should an infertility virus attack us after we turn 18. Fans of dystopian fiction will enjoy Bumped; fans of McCafferty's Jessica Darling series might be a little taken aback at first--Bumped is about as far removed from Jessica Darling as you can get. However, it's not meant to be a Jessica Darling book. Bumped is definitely worth a read.

eGalley received from NetGalley.
Enjoy your reading!

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