The Daily Monocle

Critical book reviews from a literary skeptic.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Posted by J. P. Wickwire

Faced with a world of infertile adults, humanity turns to teens to carry the next generation.

Sixteen year old Melody has inked a contract that will ensure her the most valuable conception possible. Her womb is her greatest commodity.

Unbeknownst to Melody, in super-religious Goodside her twin sister Harmony has been living a life to prepare her as the perfect wife and mother... and to believe that these “conception contracts” are sinful. When Harmony shows up on her doorstep, both girls’ lives are changed... and not necessarily for the better. In a true case of mistaken identity, Melody and Harmony are strung along in a story that’s as cautionary as it is entertaining--one of teenage pregnancy, the value of human life, and glorified sex.

Author Megan McCafferty’s latest offering, Bumped, is a disturbing new dystopia that will polarize the author’s fan base.

First off, let me say something: whatever is said about Bumped, it is not--I repeated not--like any other dystopias out there on the shelves. And not because it’s subject matter is strikingly original; rather, it’s the approach to said subject matter that sets it apart.

McCafferty’s writing is perfect for the YA set. It combines a new, yet familiar, set of vocabulary/slang with existing teen dialect. While simple at times, it still retains enough artistic integrity to attract even cynical readers.

Character-wise, I found Harmony and Melody both to be a little shallow... particularly Harmony, who seems to be multi-dimensional, but only knows how to express one of those dimensions. However, rather than fault the author for this, I’m going to blame it on the character herself. It’s in her nature to act in such a manner. And Harmony was still dimensional enough for me to vehemently hate her guts by the end of the book.

Bumped’s strength definitely lies in it’s plot. Original, dark, and deeply satirical, McCafferty has taken the notion of reproductive dystopias to a new level within the YA genre. I applaud her for her originality, and the execution thereof.

The polarizing factor here lies in the way McCafferty has portrayed Harmony and her attraction to a man who will remain nameless for the sake of spoilers. As I’ve already said, Harmony is from a super-religious background. She likens the man in question to Christ... and then develops a very intense sexual desire for this guy. I understand that McCafferty was trying to portray the devotion Harmony has to Christ, and her naivety in regards to men, but this was taking it too far. As a devout Christian myself, I just want to put it out there that this whole scenario rubbed me the wrong way.

So many people will love Bumped and many people will hate it. I loved it, but hated parts of it. Go figure. Either way, however, Megan McCafferty’s newest offering is definitely something to at least try, if not endorse, as it’s one of the best YA dystopias out on the shelves.


Author's Website



Heather said...

I have a feeling this book is going to leave me with the same feeling as the last book of the Hunger Games trilogy ("WTF"), but I just have to order it anyway. :D

J. P. Wickwire said...

I think you're probably right. :p

ATWT Tours said...

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Micaella Lopez said...

Awesome review! This one looks really cool, I really am not a fan of the cover though. For me it's too plain and a little weird, however maybe it goes with the story.
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