First, let me say that my love for Megan McCafferty knows no bounds. I've already tried to coerce you people into reading Sloppy Firsts, which is just so amazing, so why on earth are you just sitting here, reading THIS when you could read THAT? Not that I am ungrateful for your patronage. The two or three of you who read this blog are greatly appreciated. Like, for reals.
But back to Megan McCafferty. So I love her. The Jessica Darling series is brilliant, and you absolutely must read it. I'm working on a review for Second Helpings, but in the meantime, please pick up a copy of Bumped and take a look into the culture we are creating.
Unlike Jessica Darling, which is a series focused on a young girl's growth from self-conscious teenager to self-conscious college grad, Bumped is a look into the future, in a world where nearly everyone past the age of eighteen is rendered infertile. This puts a premium on teenaged wombs and sperm. Melody is one such girl, and her parents are so determined to market her uterus that they sign her up for all manner of enrichment, whether academic, athletic or musical.
They predicted sixteen years ago, almost before anyone else, that girls like me - prettier, smarter, healthier - would be the world's most invaluable resource. And like any rare commodity in an unregulated marketplace, prices for our services would skyrocket. It wasn't about the money, really, not at first. It was about status. Who had it, and who didn't. And my parents did everything in their power to make sure I had it.
Chilling, isn't it? Melody's parents' dream is to pair her up with Jondoe, the Hottie McHot of the male procreators. And then Melody discovers that she has an identical twin named Harmony, who lives in a Sister Wives sort of sect and is bequeathed to fellow sect member, Ram. Harmony comes to see Melody, hoping to convince her to forsake her womb-for-rent and find the Lord. But Harmony meets Jondoe, and, well, things don't quite go as planned.
Here's the thing about Bumped: it took me a while to get into it. I think I was put off by the kitschy slang. When I loan this out to my students, I tell them to just get past the first third, and then they will get sucked into the story. Sometimes the "for serious" and "breedier" stuff gets in the way of McCafferty's storytelling, and that's unfortunate, because this is a very engrossing, captivating story.
Bumped satirizes our society's fascination and apparent promotion of teenage pregnancies. How many times have you seen a teen mom on the cover of People? Those girls make more money a year than I do, and I'm a Masters educated teacher. There is something deeply perverted about that, and McCafferty attacks it in this book. She also goes after religious mind control, thumbing her nose at those who deem themselves better than the rest of us.
As Melody and Harmony get to know each other, they come to understand what each stands for and believes in. There are romantic complications - Harmony takes a liking to Jondoe, and Melody's budding romance with Zen is constantly checked by her parents' dogged determination to mate her with Jondoe.
This is a thoughtful book, and it will make you want to talk about it for hours. Can something like this happen? Has something like this already happened, minus the virus?
Melody and Harmony are no Jessica Darling, but that's okay. They are entertaining and interesting in their own right.
Published by Balzer + Bray and available on Amazon.com.
I bought my copy of this book.