Melody and Harmony are twins. Separated at birth, Melody was brought up to be a pro Surogette while Harmony was raised to be a churchy wife at 13 with babies of her own soon after. In their society, only teens can get pregnant because of a virus spreading around that prevents older women from having children. As a result, birthing has gone commercial with agents and stats and bidding. Breeding for money is a complicated business, as one might expect. Still, getting married young and breeding for God isn’t easy either. Both twins are under the strong influence of their parents, and it is not until they meet that they realize there might be other options out there. Perhaps what they were bred for isn’t what is right for them after all.
Megan McCafferty’s Bumped is a satirical look at the culture of teen pregnancy, inspired by celeb pregnancies and pregnancy pacts that have grown more and more prevalent in the news over the last few years. Bumped possesses all the humor that lovers of the Jessica Darling series would expect. (Wait? Have you not read the Jessica Darling series? If not, please stop what you are doing and go do that now before you return. Really. It’s only 5 books. You’ll be done in a jiffy pop moment. It’s worth it.) Ok, so the rest of you have read McCafferty’s earlier books, and understand the sarcastic humor of Jessica Darling. McCafferty offers that once again, often through music and ads geared toward the teen and tween set. Young shoppers try on “funbumps” and compare stretch mark creams while amusing jingles play in the background encouraging them to get breedy and reminding them that pregnant teens are the most special people in the world.
Aside from the humor, the plot often moved a bit slow. It took longer than I would have liked for things to pick up. This was, in part, because the world needed to be established. McCafferty introduces a lot of new technology and jargon. While most of it is easily understandable (like MiChat and MiTunes), other language occasionally interfered with the fluency of the reading experience. It can be difficult to find a balance between a futuristic dystopian world and our own, and while I think Bumped succeeded overall, I don’t know that the jargon always helped its case.
As McCafferty’s first official YA novel, Bumped is certainly a departure from her earlier work. If you love dystopias, it’s worth checking this one out. Bumped is like a mashup of M.T. Anderson’s Feed, Lauren DeStefano’s Wither, and Parent Trap. Even though I struggled with the pacing, I found the satire thought provoking and the dark humor enjoyable.