Sarah Maddaford's Reviews > Bumped

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
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Mar 09, 2011

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bookshelves: arc, dystopia, near-future, political, sci-fi, romance, young-adult
Read from March 03 to 04, 2011

My first reaction upon finishing this book was to wonder where the rest of the book was. My next reaction after sleeping on it was to download the galley to make sure that the quick browse wasn't an abbreviated version. My final reaction is to be extremely disappointed that the author chose to end the book where she did. I started the story expecting that the author would not carry either of the twins to birth. That didn’t bother me because the story wasn’t really about them having babies; it was about them choosing how and why to have babies. The author mostly accomplishes that, but she is either expecting to write a sequel (following a trend in publishing today) or decided that the ending she gave was sufficient despite being completely unsatisfying and unfinished (also a recent trend in YA publishing). The girls have mostly made their decisions regarding pregging, but the relationships are undecided, Harmony’s fate is still in the balance and a mix of lies, and Melody still has to deal with her contract and her parents.

Aside from the utterly unsatisfactory ending, the novel had some very interesting points to make although many of them were only touched upon and thus not as developed as they could have been. For one thing, the MiNet is not explained well enough early in the novel. I did not realize until nearly 150 pages in that the apparatus was a pair of contacts and a set of ear buds. Disregarding how invasive I would find wearing ear buds constantly, I can’t imagine wearing contacts (I couldn’t even wear them when I thought I needed them for school). I guess this is the next step up from my generation where we thought it would be awesome to have see-through glasses with the World Wide Web on them, but man talk about lack of privacy. Which leads to another point, how could Melody be so connected to her world with so little privacy and still not figure out her sister was pretending to be her? And how could Johndoe not figure out that Harmony wasn’t Melody? Wouldn’t the stalker app have told him that she was at school even though he saw Harmony in front of him? Also, I know that I changed my mind a lot as a teenager, but I would never have forgiven someone for pretending to be me, not even my own sister; especially for something I thought was so important to me. Even if I changed my mind about how important that thing was; the betrayal would still have occurred. Maybe I was an unusual teenager, but I’m pretty sure that most of my friends were the same way about holding grudges.

As for the pregging, I can understand the idea of being a surrogate (Surrogette) because there are couples who want children and there are teens having sex anyway. If every teen pregnancy could be given to a loving couple, then those babies would be better off. Unfortunately, even teen moms are moms and they get attached during pregnancy. The idea of a drug that can prevent that attachment is fascinating and disturbing at the same time. Personally, I still wouldn’t want to be a surrogate for any reason because being pregnant is a lot of work and giving birth is painful, but I can definitely admire those who can do it. The arguments both for and against surrogates are presented in this story without sounding like opinion pieces. In fact, most of the story reads very quickly and without preaching on either side of the fence. There's a bit of language, but no real violence. There is some description of birthing processes, but as with the sex it is mostly fade to black although some parents may be uncomfortable with the amount described.
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