Bumped, Megan McCafferty
Balzer + Bray, April 26, 2011. Review copy provided by publisher.
Melody and Harmony are identical twin sisters, but, until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep, they’ve never met. The girls were given up for adoption at birth; Melody going to a suburban couple and Harmony to an isolated religious community. The world they live in is not like the one of today. A virus has spread throughout the human population, making young women infertile as they enter adulthood. The result of this virus is that adult couples have started to pay young teenage girls to have babies, or “bump,” for them. Melody is a highly paid reproductive professional, just waiting for her time to bump for a childless couple. Harmony, on the other hand, believes that babies shouldn’t be bought and paid for. Her religious community still believes in traditional, rigid family values and she wants nothing more than to convert her twin to her beliefs before it’s too late.
This tongue in cheek satire was enormously entertaining. Megan McCafferty throws readers right into Melody’s world without a lot of explanation, and they are left to find their footing slowly. The teens in this novel use an unusual form of slang that all has fertility and reproductive roots. Reading the dialog at first was a little jarring, but after a few chapters it made the world seem a lot more real. The best part is that, once you get comfortable with the writing, it is hilarious!
Melody and Harmony are two very different characters. I felt like Harmony, in some ways, is the reader’s in to the world. Since Harmony lives in a place that’s so cut off from the rest of civilization a lot of things have to be explained to her, or she has to figure them out. This helps the reader get a better feel for everything as well. Although, Harmony has her own set of social rules that are just as interesting as Melody’s. In some ways I thought Harmony was the more compelling character. She is fighting with the way she has always lived and what she sees in the rest of the world, as well as some very different possibilities for her future.
Readers who loved McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series will be happy to have a new book full of the author’s trademark humor. While fans will miss Jessica and her way of looking at the world, I think they will soon find themselves drawn to Melody and Harmony. Their story is funny, eye opening, and thought provoking – especially in a world that is seemingly more and more fascinated with teenage mothers. Definitely pick up a copy of Bumped, you’ll finish it in no time and join the ranks of readers who are already longing for the sequel.