Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











{April 25, 2011}   Bumped, by Megan McCafferty

HarperCollins has been so gracious as to allow me review an ARC of this novel, through Netgalley, prior to its release tomorrow, April 26th.  The synopsis is as follows: 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. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have 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 Goodside, a religious community, 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.

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I am torn on a rating for this novel.  I liked it for the most part; the writing is very well done and it’s a very interesting twist to the usual futuristic novels out there.  However, I struggled with the religious aspect of the novel and the underlying statements about teen pregnancy that it seemed to promote.

First, in terms of the religious aspect, I feel like it was an extremely degrading look at religious groups, zoning in only on the bad and never delving into anything good.  I was reminded of the Amish and their lifestyle as Harmony explains her life in the Church, which wasn’t portrayed in a positive way at all—and only looking at the negative behind any group or aspect in life always taints it.  I do not necessarily think that this was McCafferty’s goal for the novel, but that is how it came across to me, and I was less than pleased with that piece.

In terms of teen pregnancy, I feel like there was too much positive reinforcement for it, and not enough negative.  I am extremely glad that there is a tonal shift within the novel, and that some of the characters undergo changes of heart, yet this portion of the novel was at the very end and seemed rushed; the characters made their decisions quickly, without a lot of explanation.  I would have liked to see much more inner struggle within the characters as they make this change in belief, but I think that is where the next novel will pick up, and I am curious to see how everything plays out.

Aside from those two aspects, I really enjoyed the writing style.  Although I was confused in the beginning by the slang Melody uses (this is a futuristic novel afterall), so was Harmony, and it was nice to figure it all out with her.  I also really enjoyed the back and forth style of the chapters.  One chapter was Melody’s viewpoint, and the next was Harmony’s.  This was ingenious, and it kept me extremely interested as each chapter always ended before all the information was given, so there was never a prime place for me to stop and put the novel down (and I didn’t want to either!).  I read this novel in one sitting, and although not all the characters were as developed as I would have liked, I am sure that further development will take place in the next installment, for which I cannot wait.  Three stars. 

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