E-galley received for review through Netgalley.
I received a galley of the first book in Megan McCafferty's new series about a year ago. I was very excited about it - I loved the Jessica Darling series, especially the first two books and the last one, so I was very curious to find out about Ms McCafferty's new story. The book, however, left me perplexed and slightly confused, so I didn't get around to review it.
When I learned that the sequel, Thumped, was coming out now, I decided to re-read Bumped first, so I could have all the details fresh in my mind. I read a finished copy, and got the feeling that it had been changed from the galley, especially regarding the ending: it seemed to me that a few chapters had been added, so that the ending didn't feel quite so abrupt. Of course, the cliffhanger was still there, so I was glad I had Thumped waiting for me ;)
Bumped is set in 2036 America. A virus has made most couples over 18 sterile, so those who want a baby hire surrogate mothers among teenagers. The most sought-after girls sign a contract to "bump", i.e. have a baby, with a stranger, and then hand over the baby. Such contracts often include college tuition, a car, and/or a substantial bonus for the mother. However, there are also girls who bump as "amateurs" (as opposed to "pro"); they get pregnant from a boyfriend and then sell the baby off to the highest bidder.
16-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony have been separated at birth. Melody has been adopted by an ambitious couple who raise her to become the most successful pro bumper possible. Harmony, on the other hand, has been taken in by a religious community ("Goodside") in which people live secluded and following God's principles.
Melody and Harmony have never met before, when Harmony unexpectedly shows up on Melody's doorstep. Melody is about to become a pro surrogate and is waiting to bump, while fighting the attraction for her best friend Zen, who is too short to be considered a catch. Harmony, on the other hand, is ready for marriage and wants to convince Melody to abandon a life of sin and move to Goodside with her. When Melody is finally matched with world-famous Jondoe, life for the twins changes forever.
I found the world building for this novel very compelling. The reader is thrown head-first into this world, with its slang terms; it takes a while to understand what it really means. (reading the book a second time, however, makes things much clearer). Teens and younger kids are bombarded with advertising, songs, and merchandise encouraging them to procreate; young girls purchase "FunBumps" which simulate a pregnant belly; condoms are illegal; and the word "baby" is seriously frowned upon because surrogate mothers aren't supposed to care for the bump.
I liked how this book focused on the freedom to make your own decisions. My favourite character was Zen; he provides humour relief to the book.The cliffhanger at the ending is atrocious, though. Truly atrocious. My suggestion: read the two books back-to-back. It's like reading a whole, longer book and gives you the complete story.Cover attraction:
simple, yet effective. The egg recalls the idea of pregnancy and birth.