Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review #4: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Hello my literary comrades! I didn't expect to talk to everyone so soon, but here we are. :) This is my review for Bumped by Megan McCafferty. Another hype book that does live up to it's hype once again. Get on your reading glasses, sit in your comfortable chairs and lets go!

(Side note: I have noticed that my last three books have been dystopian novels. A bit of an odd trend for me. Just mentioning that.)

Bumped is another Dystopian novel that takes place in the year 2036. A virus makes everyone infertile after they turn 18 years old. This makes teen pregnancy the only way humanity will survive. Teenagers sell their children to adults who can't conceive, in order to pay for college and other various things. The teen culture is completely and utterly sex and pregnancy centered. The protagonists are twin sisters Melody and Harmony. They were separated at birth, Melody taken to a normal family, while Harmony was taken to a family in Goodside, a compound for a religious fanatical group. The two finally meet, and a culture clash occurs. But the true story happens when Harmony gets mistaken for Melody.

I'm going to say this right out, there is A LOT of slang in this book. There is just no way of getting around it. Words like Terminate (which I feel was out of context in some parts of the novel, but I couldn't tell), fertilicous, erection perfection, etc. It gets hard to get through the novel at times because of all the slang. I wish Ms. McCafferty had a dictionary or something to explain most of it, though you can understand through looking at the context in which the slang is used. It brings down the novel down a rating notch, but not that it totally impaired my reading experience. There is also a lot of sex talk. I guess it's because of the nature of the dystopia and the world the novel takes place in. Teens talk about sex as if they're talking about going to a football game. Also there are very religious moments as well, and on occasion a mix of the two. Other than that I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The plot was very thought provoking. At one point the question is raised: How young is too young to get pregnant for profit? The morals and standards of this world have been completely shaped into two very extreme sides of a spectrum. 

Character wise, I liked the two protagonists Melody and Harmony. They start out as two very different people and develop into something more than they were. Melody and Harmony essentially start out as prime examples of both ends of the extremes. Melody is a Reproductive Professional who has gotten a very good contract with a wealthy couple, while Harmony is very Jesus and religion centered, wanting to try and convert Melody and bring her back to Goodside. But as I said, during the course of the novel, they start developing a different sense of self and start questioning everything they believe in. The sisters also realize that both of their worlds have put enormous pressure on them with extremely high expectations. I liked their journeys and their distinct voices, though I do not particularly favor one twin over the other. I do love the character of Zen. He was great, and I hope he has more of a role in the next book. The same goes for Jondoe. He is very mysterious and you never know his true intentions. 

This was a very thought provoking novel. It brings up the question of what would happen if this happened to us in real life? Is this what our world would be like? And would we really create teens who put no value in the sexual act? (I wouldn't know personally about sex but I do know I do not treat it lightly.) The teens in this book treat sex and pregnancy with such casualness that it's extremely frightening. And how no adult realizes how wrong it all is and does nothing to stop it, but in fact those not in Goodside perpetuate it! And I also admit that those in Goodside are quite rigid in their beliefs and do not like anyone questioning them. Both sides of the fence exorcise a form of control over the population, showing that while everyone (not in Goodside) have a choice not to have sex in order for teenage girls to get pregnant, it is implied that you actually have to or you will be outside of the community. While the opposite is true. In Goodside you get married at thirteen and start becoming a wife and mother.

All in all I quite enjoyed this book. Yes there were flaws but Bumped will make you question things like a good Dystopian novel should. It's different from most dystopia and that is a great thing. I suggest you read this if you can. But if you do not like and or do not feel comfortable with a lot of talk about sex, religion, or both, then possibly pick up Matched, or the Hunger Games for good dystopian novels. Wither is great too. 

Until next time my comrades

Viva la literature!

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