Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: Bumped (Bumped #1)

Title: Bumped (Bumped #1)
Author: Megan McCafferty
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 2011
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: ***

From Goodreads: When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents 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. Up to 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 convince Melody 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.

My Thoughts: I'll be honest. I had heard from some other people that they didn't like Bumped much. They were quite disappointed by all the hype created for this book. I still found the premise for the book really interesting and wanted to read it. There were definitely some parts to the book that didn't sit well with me, but I don't think I was as disappointed by others.

What didn't sit well with me at all was how babies were basically seen as property. Maybe it's because I have an almost 4 months old daughter, and the experience of pregnancy is fresh in my mind. When I would read about how the girls were given drugs to prevent the mother/baby bond during pregnancy and they referred to babies as "deliveries" or "preggs," I found myself feeling upset. That bond is so precious.

Another part of the story that bothered me was how the teens were encouraged and paid to have sex and get pregnant. I can't imagine a time when it would be okay for teens to have these masSEX parties trying to get pregnant. Or when it would be acceptable to use Tocin to facilitate sex when one of the partners wasn't quite ready.

Even though these parts of the story bothered me, they still made me think. That's the only reason I liked this book. The whole concept of teens being the only fertile part of the population really got me thinking. Could society really end up like that someday? The virus that led to the infertility, could it be caused by something we do now? Is there much difference between surrogates of present day and the surrogates in the book other than age?

Something that really stood out for me was how teen pregnancy was glorified in the book, primarily because of the need. It made me think of 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom that so many people watch. While those shows might be meant to show the struggles of teen pregnancy, in some ways they glorify it. Here are these teen girls who have unprotected sex, get pregnant, and then find themselves with their own TV shows that millions of people watch. Could we eventually be a society that encourages teenage pregnancy rather than discouraging it? Could we eventually be providing teens with drugs to loosen them up for sex when they're apprehensive rather than teaching them about abstinence and safe sex?

This book raised a lot of questions for me and really made me think. I'll read the next book to find out what happens with Melody and Harmony.

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