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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.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.

326 pages, Hardcover

First published April 26, 2011

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About the author

Megan McCafferty

26 books2,501 followers
Megan McCafferty writes fiction for tweens, teens and teens-at-heart of all ages. The author of twelve novels, she’s best known for SLOPPY FIRSTS and four more sequels in the New York Times bestselling Jessica Darling series--available throughout 2021 in updated 20th anniversary editions. She published two new books in 2020: TRUE TO YOUR SELFIE (MG, Scholastic) and THE MALL (YA, Wednesday Books). Described in her first review as “Judy Blume meets Dorothy Parker” (Wall Street Journal), she’s been trying to live up to that high standard ever since.

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Profile Image for Lyndsey.
126 reviews3,125 followers
April 6, 2011
So, Melody and Harmony are our two main characters. And guess what - they're twins! Naw....really?!

Not that they are bad names, but twins named Melody and Harmony?! Cliche much?

The similar names also made it very difficult to keep straight on who was who. The perspective jumps back and forth between the two of them just about every couple pages or so. The breakneck speed of the switches makes it difficult to develop a connection to the characters or keep track of what in the heehaw is goin' on. (Sorry, when I get frustrated - the Southern comes out.)

So Melody, or is it Harmony, or Symphony. No, I think it's Rhythm. Hell, I can't keep them straight, so I will call them Future Twin, who is the first one we are introduced to and uses excessive amounts of future slang, and Religious Twin, who is the second and religious fanatic type.

Future Twin and Religious Twin are sixteen and are just meeting for the first time. Future Twin has loaned out her body to "bump" and then deliver a baby to sell to the highest bidder. Religious Twin has come to find her and save her soul. Religious Twin then proceeds to impersonate Future Twin when the guy who's supposed to "bump" her comes around, because she somehow believes this will help save Future Twin's soul. But instead a whole lot of complicated things start to happen...

Right off the bat, the "lingo" hit me like a back-handed slap from my momma. Okay, so I don't actually call her Momma. And my mom would never really hit me. Except for that one time. She threatened to spank me with a wooden spoon and then she DID. Yeah, I laughed too... while she was doing it. Anywho. (Oh hey! There's my Northerner side. )

The future speak in this book annoyed the heck out of me and the religious speak annoyed the HELL out of me.

In the Part One, they had some new madey-upy biofrantonkulous slangifiedness almost every third or fourth word. It just didn't flow right. It felt forced and stunted; not to mention, it made me dry-heavey with all the neggy-and-preggy-fullification.

Then there is the religious speak. "If I serve well." "Complete faith in my faith." "Oh my Grace." "Majestic." "Glorious." "Halleluyah!" "Not a place of righteousness." "Do you have God?"

I have absolutely nothing against a religious mentality. I am myself a very spiritual person, but this was just too much. Growing up in Christian schools my entire life, I know first hand that teenagers, especially, just do not talk like that. Maybe in some extremist circumstances, but STILL it is horribly annoying.

Religious Twin actually compares her love interest to...... You guessed it...... JESUS! She says something to the effect of "He looks the way Jesus does in my dreams." And she wants to do Jesus. This takes the whole everything-glorious-and-perfect-love-interest thing to an entirely new and disturbing level. Yes, and the guy she compares to Jesus is the same guy that called having sex with her - "pro-boner" work.

The only semi-normal, semi-acceptable, semi-catchy phrase to come out of this: For serious.

Maybe this part of the book would resonate more with younger teen girls, who still have delusions of mystery surrounding the complexities of inventing new slang and get a thrill from deciphering what their friend's "secret codes" say. But I'm over it. Unless it feels natural and relative to the fictional world. To me, this didn't. Maybe I'm just too old for this shiznit.

In Part One, we experience something called reverse info-dumping. Pages and pages of indistinct and unexplained terminology and culture references. Then at the beginning of Part Two and about one quarter into the book, the writing takes a fairly drastic turn. The laughably overabundant slang use subsides and becomes bearable. Yet still not entirely believable.

Another problem is the subject matter. I feel it is almost too sensitive for preteens, so I'm left wondering what demographic this is aimed at. The written material is too sexualized for the young, but the writing itself is almost too young for anyone older.

And considering the title seems to basically be a YA-friendly version of "F***ed", I'm really not sure this is a good choice for preteens. It is hazy on whether or not "bumped" means to "have sex with" or to "get pregnant with" or both combined into one word. As this quote from Zen, one of the love interests, demonstrates: "Insufficient verticality. No one pays to bump with a guy who's five-foot-seven-and-a-half."

Finally in about the last five pages, it is made somewhat clearer that to "bump" is to impregnate. But, geez, was that really so difficult?

With such a grim premise, humans not being able to procreate after the age of eighteen, I guess I was expecting a darker aura about the book. It feels much too light and fluffy.

Both girls are shallow, only thinking of either getting pregnant or serving the Lord. I remember being a teenager, since it wasn't that long ago; most teens have so much more on their minds than that. It just wasn't believable at all.

I will admit to giggling quite a bit, but usually it was over the ridiculousness of the slang and the shallow characterizations of the girls.

Religion plays a large role in this book and the one idea that I really related to is that you can turn away from the church without turning away from your faith. This point was raised to Religious Twin toward the end of the book.

I completely recognize and understand that people WILL like this. I think a large part of the audience will be curious younger girls just starting to get interested in sexual activity.

My biggest problem is the feel of the book. It seems too perky and wow-look-how-great-it-is-to-be-pregnant for a large part of the book. It rarely seems to imply that being a pregnant teen is not all rainbows and butterfly kisses. In order to get that message across, the entire book would need to be infinitely darker. But I do think that a lot of teen girls will find this super fun.

Personally, I found that I was constantly wanting to smack myself to see if I was dreaming this ridiculousness. Because I wanted to like it. I really, really wanted to like it.

And the ending! Really? Gee, I wasn't expecting them to try and turn another YA book, that should be a standalone, into a series!! Are they STILL doing that?

Now, don't get me wrong.

I am not saying that you shouldn't read this. I just don't think it is a great choice for younger teens. I am left a little confused on who the exact intended audience is, but regardless, it's up to you whether or not to read this. It depends on how you view the reading experience and what you care to devote that reading time to.

I, personally, almost never feel like reading time is wasted, even if I don't particularly care for a book. Because often, you come away from it with a little extra "youness". What I mean is this: every book can help shape who you are or who you become. If you let it.

Usually, there's something you can take away from a book, whether you liked it or not. Even if it is just learning a little something about yourself that you didn't know before.

Honestly, though. I CANNOT wait to see some of the things my fellow Goodreaders will say about this book in their reviews and, especially, in their status updates. For serious!

So I am officially starting "Bumped" Watch 2011.

So I can "Oooh" and "Ahhh" over all the Goodreaders who officially get their first Bumped review this year.

"Oh my gawd, look how cute that little Bumped review is." "How does she look so good with that HUGE Bumped review?" "I wonder who the Daddy of that Bumped review is?"

Oh yeah. Almost forgot. (This book was provided to me as a review copy by Netgalley and HarperCollins. Thanks!)
Profile Image for Vinaya.
185 reviews2,076 followers
February 27, 2011
Wha-wha-WHAAT? What just happened there?

Okay, let’s start at the beginning. Bumped is a ‘dystopian’ novel set in 2035 where a virus has wiped out the ability of every person over the age of eighteen to reproduce. (Why eighteen? How eighteen? Does the virus come built-in with an age-o-meter that tells it when to strike?) The population is rapidly declining, leaving only one section of the planet capable of procreating. The teenagers. At the point at which this novel starts, it is already established that there is a flourishing trade in surrogacy, it being accepted practice for teenagers to have sex with the intent of producing a baby that is then given away for adoption to older couples who can no longer reproduce.

The surrogate mothers are divided into two groups, the Reproductive Professionals (RePros) who are stringently scrutinized on a genetic level to ensure their acceptability, and then paired with another hand-picked sperm donor. The babies of the RePros are optioned for large sums of money even before the reproductive process begins. The other group are the amateurs, people who pick their own partners, and either donate their babies pro bono or put them up for adoption in a public auction. The entire process is facilitated by the administration of a drug called Tocin that acts as an aphrodisiac during intercourse, and later, during pregnancy, serves to sever the chemical bond between mother and child in order to ensure that the mother does not become ‘broody’ and insist on keeping her child.

Megan McCafferty’s world building is detailed and convincing, for the most part. She establishes a whole new society with new laws, new regulations, new mores and even a new slanguage, all revolving around this new world where the only hope for the advancement of the planet are the youth – literally. This is a world where sex is a business for teenagers, where ‘lovemaking’ is looked down upon and peer pressure makes questioning the system an impossibility.

And on the other hand are the ‘trubies’, the members of the Church who segregate themselves in communal settlements and are forbidden to leave the settlements except for missionary or agricultural purposes. The segregation works to the benefit of Church members, in that the incidence of the virus is significantly lower amongst them. However, the Church society is rigidly moral and fanatically religious, adhering to an outmoded code of behavior that condemns pre-marital sex, instigates marriages at age thirteen or so, and abhors technology. *cough Amish cough*

I hope you read the above bits of the review before you get started on the book, because McCafferty goes to the other extreme from infodump-writing. She’s stingy with information, and sly about it. She slips vital bits of information into random conversations all over the book, so blink and you’ll miss it. This also makes the first fourth of the book heavy going, until you get a firmer grasp on the world building and slanguage.

I can confidently say that no book in recent times has made me think as much as Bumped. With The Hunger Games, the dystopia was cut in stone, unquestionable; the lessons it imparted were equally clear and unmistakable. But with Bumped, it’s a different situation altogether. Firstly, I had to look up the definition of ‘dystopia’, because the tone of the book did not match my idea of what a dystopian society should sound like. And indeed, in the strictest sense of the word, Bumped is not a dystopia. According to the dictionary, dystopia is ‘a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding. Wikipedia goes on to inform me that a dystopian society “usually features different kinds of repressive social control systems, a lack or total absence of individual freedoms and expressions and constant states of warfare or violence.”

On the face of it, you can’t call the society in Bumped dystopian. There is no more squalor, human misery or overcrowding than there is in any normal society. Not much disease, either, except for the biggie, the Human Progressive Sterility Virus. There are no overt repressive social control systems, no lack of individual freedoms and no warfare or violence. There is no mandate that says all teenagers MUST get pregnant.

BUT, and this is a big but, there is an underlying nuance of oppression, of enforced choices. Nobody made a law saying everybody must get pregnant, but the society has restructured itself in such a way that people NOT making the attempt to create babies are looked upon as both unpatriotic and non-productive members of society. Teenagers, one of the easiest age groups to influence, have been brainwashed into thinking that it is just and right for them to become baby-making machines; to sell off their virginity, their womb and their right to a childhood in exchange for a secure future and prestige amongst their peers. Babies are bought and sold like goods in a market, and nobody questions this outrage; it is simply accepted.

Into this scenario come Harmony and Melody, monozygotic (identical) twins separated at birth. Both have been raised in completely different environments that have no meeting point. Harmony has been given to a Church family to be raised, and is, at first glance, a devout Church member with a loving family, full of missionary zeal. Melody has been raised in a life of privilege, by educated, affluent parents in a suburb of Princeton. She’s the ideal RePro, with a contract amounting to six figures, and the perfect face, body and mind to ensure an enviable genetic heritage for her child.
But slowly, the surface layer peels off to reveal the deeper truths both sisters are hiding. Despite being from vastly differing different backgrounds, both twins have a questioning bent of mind, in societies where questioning the norm is not encouraged. They are both clinging to the ideas and beliefs they have been brought up with, in the hopes of shoring up a fast-degrading faith in the rightness of society as it is.

If there is one complaint I have to make about Harmony and Melody, it is in McCafferty’s characterization of them. As vehicles to question the norms of the world they live in, they are perfect. But McCafferty appears to have become so enamored of their purpose that they lose their identity as people. There is too much happening around them, and to them; but the change that is caused within them by these events is left a little too much to the reader’s powers of deduction. McCafferty spends so much time building her society that the human aspect of the relationship between the two sisters suffers. They spend hardly any time together; as a result, their eventual ‘bonding’ feels contrived. Zen, too, is a character with great potential for being interesting, but he doesn’t get enough page space to translate the potential into reality.

The premise of Bumped also highlights another issue that I have been pondering for a while; the question of whether a book about teenagers is always necessarily a Young Adult book. I found Bumped to be a highly sexual read, and perhaps a little too sophisticated ideologically for the YA group. You don’t need to describe MasSex orgies or RePro sessions in detail in order to introduce a sexual element into a book. In fact, McCafferty has done it in an effortlessly ungraphic way. But there is no denying that a book that deals with the question of reproductive choice is of necessity sexual. Added to it are the numerous sexual double entendres peppering the conversation of every character in the book. It’s almost horrifying how casually these teenagers accept the idea of sex and toss around words like pro boner and hornergy and everythingbut (as in, everything but sex). No doubt this is the point that is intended to be driven home, but in a genre ruled by the Mormon clique, I am not sure how positively this portrayal will be received.

While this review, and the subject matter are somewhat sombre, kudos to Megan McCafferty for lightening the tone of the book! Despite what lies beneath, the actual tone of the book is much lighter, more satirical than introspective. It's not a hard read emotionally; but it is intellectually stimulating.

Bumped is undoubtedly one of the most interesting books I have read in a long, long time. However, I cannot begin to describe my frustration with how the book ends. It’s like finding a beautiful first edition copy of a classic, and then discovering that the critical last pages are missing! I think this is intended to be a series, although I can find no indication of it on her website, but it MUST be so, because that ending doesn’t really qualify as an ending! I was just left dangling from a rope with no safety net in sight! Where is my neatly wrapped-up, all ends tied HEA?

This is definitely a book worth reading, one that I would recommend without hesitation. Four stars for some great world building and innovative ideas. Minus one star for some clunky sentence structure, excessive use of slanguage, insufficient character development, the slow beginning and THAT ENDING!!!

P.S. I think the cover for this book is one of the most adorable things I've seen in forever!

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Net Galley. No considerations, monetary or otherwise influenced this review.
Profile Image for Misty.
796 reviews1,233 followers
August 16, 2015
I did another video review for this one (and if you want to watch it, you can here.) But if you're not into video reviews, here's a brief written review, in the language of Bumped:

It was like, rilly rilly all about young girls pregging for money. Like, for seriously young. But it was okay, 'cause they were being, like, patriotic, and all the hot girls go Pro anyway, and it's just a delivery, so who cares? And if creepy old guy agents are making you major bank on that pregg, and your creepy parents are encouraging it, and you get to bump with like, the hawtest hunkaspunk in, I dunno, the whole Uni, then why the eff not, right? And, so, yeah, sometimes people die or have, like postpartum pyschosis, but it just means that they are rilly, like, not ProAm material, they are totally neggy.

But there are these Churchies, too, and they are total creepers who believe in keeping their preggs and having like, lots of them. And they want you to have god, and be obedient and whatevs, but maybe they wouldn't mind a little erection perfection themselves... But, yeah, they're still creepy.

So when these 2 sisters, one who's totally going to bump with, like, the cockjockey, and one who's like a total Churchie, get together, it's like for seriously predictable, and is rilly gonna get banned for like sex + religion stuff. Like total Sexigion. And yeah, some neggy people are going to be all like "Oh, where's the science? Why don't they just do like, artificial bumpage, blahblahblah" But that's just cause neggy people don't get it, right? Cause it's satire, bitches.

Oh, and it for seriously ends in the middle of a scene in a rilly irritating way.
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews964 followers
February 4, 2012
I suspect that for some, the amount of enjoyment and/or engagement they experience while reading Bumped will be directly proportional to the manner in which they approach it.

It’s just a theory, and I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I do think that an analysis of Bumped needs to take into account the angle a person has chosen to read it from. Taken at face value, there is content and style to the story that some readers may find problematic or even objectionable. Read as a satirical take on current trends, though, Bumped presents some intelligent, relevant commentary on social and economic pressure and the extent to which it shapes our views.

I’m not sure that I would say I “liked” this book, in the sense in which I would normally apply the word. But I was quite fascinated by the themes and interested to see how they would be developed. In truth, at times it was an uncomfortable book for me to read. But perhaps that was entirely the point.

Bumped takes place in a not too distant future, where a virus has caused the onset of infertility between the ages of eighteen and twenty, and teen pregnancy has become a matter of profit and prestige. “Bumping” and “pregging” are governed by contractual obligations, managed by agents, watched avidly through the hyperactive lens of extreme social media. High school is divided not so much on the lines of the “popular” and the “unpopular”, but the amateurs and the pros. The girls with six figures riding on their six-month baby bellies, and the girls hoping to profit on an un-contracted knock up. The guys who are stud material, and the guys who don’t make the “reproaesthetical” grade.

For the most part, I bought this as a premise. McCafferty’s world has its roots in our own, amplifying the present reality into an exaggerated future possibility. I could get behind this concept more than I could, say, love is a disease! Every female dies at 20! I mean no disrespect to those books, but by comparison, I found this vision of the future more plausible. Or least, I didn’t have to suspend as much belief. This is ’Sixteen and Pregnant’, peer pressure, social media, and economic upheaval dialled up to eleven and heavily distorted.

Hand in hand with this setting is quite a lot of stylised slang and terminology. Bumped is thick with future-speak and technological references – it took me ages to work out what all the winking and blinking was about (although maybe I’m just exceptionally slow on the uptake) – and this can be somewhat distracting, as there is not a lot of accompanying explanation. Given its prevalence, you either won’t mind the language and will adjust quickly, or it will drive you absolutely crazy. Aside from this, I did enjoy the writing. The chapters are quite short and while occasionally this caused some blurring between the characters for me, I did like the flow and rhythm to the book.

Bumped is told through the dual perspectives of identical twins Melody and Harmony, separated at birth and unexpectedly re-united at sixteen. Melody is a trailblazer of the pregging for profit trend, holding a lucrative conception contract and awaiting the selection of a suitable partner to “bump” with, under pressure to seal the deal before her days of fertility are up and she enters her “obsolesence”. Harmony has been raised in a fundamentalist community, and believes it is her duty to convince her long-lost sister of the sinfulness of her choice to procreate outside of marriage.

The way both Melody and Harmony are presented may not be easy for all to stomach. Taking a step back from these characters, though, there are more similarities than differences. I think it may be a little short sighted to see this merely as the “religious” and “secular” going head to head. Let’s face it, very few would step out of that ring not nursing some wounds of offence, regardless of which side their personal convictions are more closely aligned with.

To me this was more a story about two girls who are each confined by the (wildly opposing) moral and social strictures governing their societies. Two girls undergoing a shift in perception, both of themselves and each other. Learning to recognise the influences and demands on their lives, and whether to choose to embrace or reject these.

This is not to say that I either agree or disagree with the portrayals of the characters, teen pregnancy or religion in this book, as I found parts in both narratives to be problematic at times. However, I could appreciate that a large part of this story is about gaining insight into other viewpoints, and becoming self-determined in the face of incredible pressure from peers, parents and society. To vilify one side of the world McCafferty presents would be to overlook the fact that both tie the value of women to their ability to conceive and bear children, and both inflict some extreme levels of pressure on young people to conform to the accepted 'procreative-norm'.

Interestingly, there is not a lot of detail around whether there are people who don’t fall within either the “Goodside” or “Otherside” communities, as they are referred to by Harmony. These are two narrow extremes, and I can’t help but speculate that there must be others who would not claim affinity with either set of beliefs, just as there are today.

This is a polarising book in many ways. The writing, style, subject matter, and the depiction of the characters will court strong opinions either way – not all will find it accessible. There are some scenes that are (deliberately, I suspect) incredibly skin crawly – like young girls trying on fake baby bumps, the rampant sexualisation and .

While the darker side of the world is gradually presented, this is quite subtle and some readers may not care for the deceptively light tone and handling of such subject matter. In their In this way though, it’s a bold book, not flinching from controversy, but being quite upfront and unabashed about its content.

You’ll note beside the title the: “#1”. I really do wish this was a standalone book. I could have done without the dun-dun-dun (that’s my attempt at ominous music) final page, and still been happy with the somewhat untied ends of the story. In fact, the rather ambiguous resolution would have lent the climax quite a powerful impact, and realistic tone.

However, there’s a clear segue into a further instalment of Melody and Harmony’s stories. But frankly, I do think that if anyone is to handle this adroitly and write a great follow up, Megan McCafferty is more than up to the task.
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,094 reviews1,512 followers
August 23, 2016
A virus has made everyone over the age of eighteen infertile so young teens are being used as surrogates while they are able to conceive making teens the most prized members of society. Sixteen year old twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth but have now been reunited and learning just how different but alike that they are.

Melody has obtained a conception contract with the Jaydens but while searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is not a good partner.
Harmony on the other hand has been raised in a religious community and is set to marry and become a good wife instead of getting involved in the high profits of carrying others babies.

The whole idea behind Bumped seemed like a really interesting idea that I had high hopes for but when finished I was left with a bit of a let down feeling. This whole futuristic society seemed to just be set around naming things with different words but not really explaining what or how things got to where they were in such a short time.

While I wanted more to the world building and plot I also found that I felt the characters were a tad irritating to me at times too for a more personal reasoning. I'm not really a fan of the idea of religion being pushed upon others so when I was introduced to Harmony in the story I really didn't care for her but that may just be me and it might not bother others. Otherwise, there were little details in the story I was also questioning or just didn't care for too which didn't help my enjoyment level at all with this one.

In the end, this just wasn't for me unfortunately. I'm sure some will love it but I just didn't find myself enjoying the way it was done after finding the idea incredibly interesting.

Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,691 reviews1,268 followers
August 26, 2016
This was a YA dystopian story about a world where people went sterile around the age of 20.

The characters in this were okay, although Harmony didn’t behave quite the way I expected her to considering that she wanted her sister to find God, yet then did something that went against what she herself believed.

The storyline in this had some good ideas, but the way the book was written was a little odd. There were also quite a few made-up words, and some odd things like condoms being illegal. The basic story was entertaining though, and I did enjoy it.

The ending to this was okay, and I will be reading the sequel to find out what happens next.

6.5 out of 10
Profile Image for annelitterarum.
210 reviews1,364 followers
August 2, 2021
Très mal écrit que ça en devient drôle. Aucune construction de l’univers. Plusieurs trous dans l’intrigue. Vraiment sexualisé mais rien de « pas PG » donc drôle d’ambiance pour un livre qui dans son atmosphère semble s’adresser aux plus jeunes lecteurs YA… et que dire du fait qu’on parle quand même d’ados enceintes?? AH et une des mc est vraiment vraiment religieuse que ça crée une atmosphère un peu étrange🤐 Mais c’était addictif af pour une raison inconnue sooooo😭
Profile Image for Crystal.
449 reviews90 followers
March 10, 2011
This book was definitely not for me. I have so far liked the dystopian books I have read, but this felt more like an infomercial for teen pregnancy than about a world gone bad. The story is basically about what happens when a virus hits the US making it to where every person is barren after the age of 18. To make sure the human race stays populated adults start looking to teens, and I mean starting at age 13, to help them have there dream babies. Well after a couple of years of this teens and their parents start demanding compensation for their troubles and buying a baby ends up having a whole new meaning. So begins the tale of Melody, one of the first teens to demand a contract, and Harmony, her long lost twin who ended up in a church congregation that believes teens who provide this "bumping" service need to stop and find God. The story leads us into what happens when Harmony comes in contact with her sister for the first time and how maybe this whole buying babies may not be the right answer.
Even though this whole idea scares me to death I might have liked the book a little better if the author hadn't glorified teen pregnancy so much. I know that this world believes that teens are the answer but I had the feeling while I was reading that there was a hidden agenda and it gave me an icky feeling. The biggest problem I had was why in the world did these teens have to "bump" aka have sex? McCafferty created this world to be very high tech. Throughout the book I kept thinking about the movie Back To the Future when Marty McFly goes into the future and you see all this high tech equipment. With all of this high tech stuff I would have thought that she could have written a better way for these teens to become pregnant. Again I felt that she glorified things a little too much. Throughout most of the book I was cringing because of the extremes that some of these poor teens went through to get pregnant. To give you an example the cheerclones had masSEXparties where the whole point is to try and get pregnant at the same time and the guys get to pretty much have sex with as many girls as possible. This is gross and in this day and age where so many teen girls think that getting pregnant is fun I think this send the wrong message. It is not until the end of the book that Melody starts rethinking her decision to be an incubator and by this time so many things have happened that it really makes no difference. This book was not wrapped up at all and there is a cliff hanger ending. Oh and the slang that the author used I couldn't grasp until about halfway through the book. I think she needs a glossary in the book because even now I can't explain most of the technology and even certain word mean.
I am not everybody and I know quite a few people who liked this book but it just wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Salom (elistar).
151 reviews39 followers
April 21, 2011
I'll be honest. I've been DREADING writing this review.

I was SO looking forward to this book. I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I loved McCafferty's Jessica Darling series and I couldn't wait to read her first attempt at Dystopian fic, one of my favorite genres. Imagine my absolute delight when I received an Advanced Review Copy of this bad boy.


As you've probably guessed by now, this book was a huge disappointment. McCafferty's writing is still there. Funny, sparkly, witty, and everything else that made Jessica Darling so fun to read. However, the premise for the book, while intended to be satirical, just did not work. AT ALL. The idea is simple, albeit far-fetched. For some unknown reason that is not developed (some kind of virus), humans somehow lose the ability to procreate after the age of 18. Why 18 is the cut-off date is never discussed. So, as a result, teenagers become a hot commodity for their wonderful gestational abilities, and are hired to make babies for older adults who can pay to adopt them.

I should have known just how committed McCafferty was going to be to making this new dystopian society realistic. Her writing is always current, full of social commentary - why wouldn't a dystopian society be the same? However, the society that we're landed in is just.... ridiculous. I get it, it's supposed to be a satire - the idea of children, no - babies, having babies and being absolutely obsessed with sex is supposed to be exaggerated. I just couldn't get past how ignorant the characters sounded, nor could I ever really quite catch on to the (cheesy) invented lingo.

The characters - they were okay. The alternating narratives were jarring at times. Melody was far more interesting than Harmony, but quite frankly, I kept getting confused in the beginning by who was who because their names were so similar. Melody was smart and funny, and I liked her voice. I wanted to smack Harmony most of the time. The ending was much too rushed and not really resolved in any way. It felt... contrived.

::sigh:: I'm still so disappointed.

I'm still a huge fan of McCafferty's. I hope she goes back to writing Contemporary YA.
Profile Image for Minli.
359 reviews
March 3, 2011
Ugh. Having enjoyed the first two Jessica Darling novels, I was amused by Bumped's description as a "dystopian world where only teenagers can procreate, due to a virus that renders every adult infertile." McCafferty and HarperTeen introduce the book as stunningly close to home, given the new obsession with pregnant teens.

I tag this book "dystopian" with trepidation. I get annoyed when writers don't do their homework. You want to write a dystopian novel? You have to think about stuff, okay? Like how culture evolves, how trends form, what happens when something on the margin becomes the norm. It helps if you read other proper dystopian novels, like 1984 (dry) and Brave New World (less dry), or good YA contemporary examples (Ship Breaker, Unwind, etc). [As an aside, I realize this is guy-writer heavy... never fear, I have read some LeGuin and will tackle Margaret Atwood next!] It also helps if you read academic stuff. For instance, the virus McCafferty writes as the catalyst for this dystopia would be a total social fact, something that would permeate through all aspects of society. Everything from religion to international trade would change.

I think I'm mostly annoyed because apparently "dystopian" is the new big THING. I hate "the new" anything. First everyone wanted a slice of the wizarding school pie, now it's the vampire/werewolf/zombie/steampunk/fallen angel WHATEVER pie. With The Hunger Games, it's like, ooh, dystopian pie! Let me get some of that!

Apparently this has turned into a bit of a rant. The premise of Bumped was an intriguing one, and McCafferty is a good writer... but her style is much too light for what this book is trying to be. A world where only teens can get pregnant is only funny as satire for a little bit, but if you start thinking about the economics, where girls can be sponsored to get pregnant by a genetically desirable guy, it stops being funny and starts being icky.

Profile Image for Stephanie (Stepping Out Of The Page).
465 reviews222 followers
August 18, 2011
I am really, really disappointed in this book. I'd been waiting for it for a while and when I got around to reading it, it was such a let down, in all ways. I found the dystopian idea to be very intriguing, but the actual plot wasn't very strong. I absolutely hated the way it was written and would probably go as far as saying it's one of the worst written books that I have read - If I have to see the words 'rilly', 'neggers' 'for seriously' 'cock jockey' or 'fertilicious' again, I might scream. This is either a classic case of the author trying to be too teen and failing or simply a horrendous choice of 'futuristic slang'. The characters weren't strong and Harmony and her 'preaching' frankly just annoyed me from the beginning - in fact, they were both irritating and pretty predictable. A really disappointing book that just seemed to drag on, I certainly wouldn't recommend this.
Profile Image for Steph Su.
943 reviews452 followers
December 2, 2010
Megan McCafferty is the author of the Jessica Darling books, hands-down my all-time favorite contemporary series. The dystopian novel BUMPED is a huge departure from her legacy, but if you tone down your instinctual desire to compare it to the Jessica Darling books, it is a fantastically complex story that will provide fodder for thought for multiple rereads.

BUMPED is an example of a dystopian society that is so fully realized and self-sustaining that it becomes very difficult for us outsiders to access. I spent a significant portion of the first half of BUMPED trying to figure out the “rules” of Harmony and Melody’s world, chock-full of futuristic terms, attitudes, and daily routines that seem extremely alien to us.

This may make BUMPED feel like a tryingly slow-moving novel, but once you get into their society’s groove, you quickly realize just how much Megan McCafferty has accomplished. If our currently label-preoccupied, materialistic, and consumeristic society were indeed to suffer from a mysterious virus that makes all adults infertile, you can bet that the resulting society would be almost exactly the one McCafferty has created here. All of the new vocabulary that Harmony and Melody use effortlessly can be traced back to our current world, so that once you’re successfully immersed in the story, you really get it.

At first both sisters came off as a bit flat and indistinguishable for me, but as the story went on they blossomed into uniquely complex individuals that I found myself really rooting for. Melody seems like she’s got everything figured out and going for her, albeit in a rather boring way. The deterioration of her perfect life forces her to finally confront herself with what she really wants, rather than what she was brought up to want. Harmony starts off as an irritatingly preachy girl, but as she becomes further entangled in Melody’s world, and deals with emotional turmoil of her own, I found myself liking her more and more for her determination to do right and stay true to herself in a manipulative world that she does not quite understand.

Supporting characters like Melody’s pregnancy club friends, Melody’s charming best friend Zen, and Jondoe, the star stud whose sperm is in high demand, all have a delightful roundedness to them—roundedness that does not mean they are perfectly bland characters, but instead have the ability to fight for what they want, even if we may not necessarily agree with what they want.

BUMPED is a layered book that will be good for multiple rereads, as each successive reread reveals a new layer of characterization, wordplay, and world-building that you may have noticed in passing in the first read-through but become really impressed by only in subsequent rereads. This, I think, is Megan McCafferty’s ultimate gift as an author: she has a fierce talent for and dedication to writing books that can be enjoyed at multiple levels, good for a permanent fixture on your reread shelf. Avid lovers of her Jessica Darling books, such as myself, will, I think, appreciate that the most about her first foray outside of Jessica’s well-known world, and as a result I’m really looking forward to the sequel and whatever Megan has to share with us next.
Profile Image for Lois Bujold.
Author 161 books37.6k followers
December 7, 2014

Imagine The Handmaid's Tale-lite crossed with a Shakespearean twins comedy and given a Mobius twist. Pretty amusing. Good SF on the imagine-one-change and follow out the consequences side, rather too hand-wavy on what would be the real science and reproductive science in the situation; so I'd call it a satirical moral fable rather than SF as such, though it's certainly not fantasy. Nor is it a dystopia, though I'm sure it is marketed as such for cogent economic reasons; just a topia. I appreciate that.

In a world where a virus has rendered most people over 18 sterile, only teens can reproduce; social consequences follow, explored through a pair of identical twin girls raised apart and now hitting age 16, which hits back, as such birthdays tend to do.

The ending is truncated in favor, I understand it, of a sequel titled Thumped, which I may end up reading just to see what happens to a set of people left rather in midair at the end of this volume.

Ta, L.
Profile Image for Tijana.
310 reviews148 followers
March 8, 2020
3.5 stars

It's been a few days since I've finished this book, and I wanted to give myself some time to process my feelings for it before I review it.
Still have no clue how I feel about it.

It was definitely an original story that makes you think, but it barely scratched this dystopian world's surface.

Characters were decently developed, yet not very loveable.
Okay, that's an understatement. I absolutely hated Harmony, thought she was selfish and a life ruiner.

Megan McCafferty's writing was as good as always tho, and I will definitely read the sequel. I'm pretty hooked and need to know what happens next.
Profile Image for Ana Mardoll.
Author 7 books384 followers
January 11, 2019
Bumped / 978-0-061-96274-5

In a futuristic dystopia that seems strangely similar to our own modern-day culture, an under-class of underprivileged women are compelled by society to be the breeders for an upper-class that has been ravaged with infertility. In this culture, sex is not about love, but rather about pregnancy, and fertile women are expected to put their own feelings aside for the 'good of humanity' and the survival of the human race.

If it sounds like I'm describing Margaret Atwood's classic "The Handmaid's Tale", there's a reason for that - McCafferty's YA novel "Bumped" is in many ways an updated, modern version of this classic story. But "Bumped" isn't a slapdash retread of old material; the story here is incredibly well-told and fantastically compelling - I just wish there had been *more* of this slender novel.

A good dystopia is all about world-building, and "Bumped" has done an incredible job with that. When a virulent virus renders everyone over the age of twenty infertile, society starts casting a long eye at its youngest, most fertile members. Obviously, if the human race is to survive - at least until a cure is found - teenagers have to breed. Ideological splits occur, with the most "conservative" members of society disappearing into religious compounds to marry off their girls immediately after menarche; the "liberal" members of society take the opposite extreme, with 'helicopter parents' grooming their girls to sell their embryos to the highest bidder and taking out loans against "egg equity". A complete economy builds up around the process of commercial breeding, and drugs, accessories, and pop music chants are designed to "encourage" the young girls and boys to "do the deed" with as little fuss as possible.

McCafferty has done a superb job characterizing her two twins - Melody and Harmony - as identical victims of these two oppressively strict societies. Harmony struggles with religious doubts, and isn't comfortable with an arranged marriage to one of her religious 'brothers'; Melody has been groomed by her parents from day one to be a successful breeder, and struggles with her feelings of being used by those she loves and trusts. Both the twins are deeply likable and feel terribly realistic - especially young Harmony, whose own religious doubts and upbringing I immediately identified with.

I'm very impressed with the way "Bumped" outlines the ease with which an under-class of young and powerless teenagers can be exploited by society without even realizing that they are being exploited. Everything from marketing to the education system has been co-opted by parents who hope to profit off of their sons and daughters, as well as by a desperate government willing to trample on the rights of its most vulnerable citizens - to the point of turning a blind eye to illegal drug use if it helps the participants get through the crucial deed. Although it would have been easy to do so, "Bumped" never gives into the temptation of making this about teenage sex - the problem at the heart of this society isn't sex, but rather the commodification of teenagers' bodies in order for the upper members of society to profit.

I'd like to end on a couple of quick thoughts. First, like "The Handmaid's Tale", "Bumped" ends on an incredibly abrupt note with a great deal unfinished, so if that's the sort of thing that will ruin a story for you, be aware of that. Secondly, as someone struggling with fertility issues myself, I want to say that "Bumped" is wonderfully sensitive to infertile couples and doesn't vilify them - most of this book's ire is saved for a society that will willingly build an economy around exploiting infertility, and the parents who would encourage their children to take part in such a detrimental system.

I deeply enjoyed this novel and I highly recommend it as a wonderfully-written and incredibly thoughtful social dystopia.

NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through NetGalley.
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through Amazon Vine.

~ Ana Mardoll
Profile Image for Parajunkee.
405 reviews196 followers
May 6, 2011
What can I say about BUMPED? Compared the wonderful other dystopian titles that have been released this year, BUMPED, well should be BUMPED, right off the shelf. Rilly, rilly. This book was for shock value only, a controversial topic was picked, expounded upon but was not taken to a logical conclusion. It was all window dressing with no heart or soul. The concept was interesting but the implementation was mind-numbingly vapid. Yet, the whole time I was reading it was like a train-wreck - I just couldn't stop, no matter how bad it was.

In the future of BUMPED adults over the age of 20, because of some widely spread disease were infertile. It became the patriotic thing to do for teenagers to get pregnant and hand over their babies for adoption. Yet, as the evil consumers got a hold of the phenomenon they began to profit on birthing. Hence, Pros and Ams were born. Pros are girls that are sponsored by couples desperate for children. Their "sperm" is chosen for them and they are given money to stay pristine until their optimal conception time when the hired sperm steps in and they BUMP. Purely professional. Then their are the Ams, the amateurs who just BUMP with their boyfriends, or in orgy parties, or just with random optimal sperm donors around their school.

Melody has been primed for her PRO position since she was a newborn. Her parents, economist rightly guessed the way the world was heading and prepped their perfectly adopted child to be a high grossing baby making machine. They just didn't expect for Melody's identical twin sister to show up in her godreak attire and change Melody's whole world.

All I can say is that someone was watching a little too many Sixteen and Pregnant on MTv and came up with this book. Complete train wreck. Let's write a book with a lot of sex talk, religious talk and consumerism talk - squish it all together in one controversial read and let everything sort itself out in the end. I surprised they didn't pair it with a little global warming - you know maybe that could have been the reason for the infertility.

Dislikes -
The vapid future speak, works like bump, preggy, rilly, it was forced and halfway through a paragraph I would be completely confused because I wasn't following all the trendy jive and then it would smooth down into normal speak
How everything was so extreme - the religious twin was dressed from head to foot and even in a veil, they had fake pregnancy bumps that tweens would wear around because it was cool to be pregnant. Seemed a bit unrealistic.
The fact that this wasn't really a dystopian. Melody was railing against an ideology instead of a ruling body.
It was like Brave New World meets Tila Tequlia.
There was just really no plot, just a lot of controversial topics.

Likes -
The idea was original.
I can't recommend this book. I also do not recommend this for teens. And it is not about the sex or the cursing or the hinting at racism, orgies, and blatant materialistic behavior. No, it is none of those things. It was the fact that all of those things are included in this book, but there is no definitive message interlaced in with these things to counteract the negative messages. Yes, in the end Melody railed against the box she was placed within - but it wasn't because she had her own way of thinking and needed to express herself. No, it was because of the actions of other people around her. In the end she made the right decision because of choices other people made for her, not because of herself. It just painted a bad picture and I don't think this is suitable for young consumption.
Profile Image for hollyishere.
154 reviews59 followers
December 30, 2012
Good Golly Miss Holly

BUMPED is the first book in a long while that has lived up to my expectations, I read it in it's entirety over a weekend which is very unusual for me. It's a captivating book set 35 years in the future where teenagers are idolized due to a virus that causes infertility in anyone over the age of eighteen. The chapters are split between Harmony and Melody, identical twins who are meeting for the very first time having grown up in very different worlds - Harmony in a religious sect that has a board of judges decide upon the marriage partners for girls as young as thirteen and Melody, a technological teenager whose parents have preened her for a six figure surrogacy in her late high school years while they holiday in Africa with the birth as collateral.

Both worlds are shocking and utterly riveting to read about but the one that strikes the most fear in me is the religious side of things because these events are happening in our day and age and I'm sure anyone with a soft heart for religion will be slightly disheartened at the points this novel stabs at regularly. My only hope is that the opposing world consisting of paid teen surrogacy is never brought to life as I feel that would lead to the end of our days living happily on earth.

While it wasn't a major hinderance, I wish a couple things were altered in this book:
- An explanation of the infertility virus and how it came to be
- A lessening of some of the more cringe worthy terms, think Health Class on high speed
- The major cliffhanger at the end, sure it'll make me buy the next book but that's just too far away to think about!

Megan McCafferty proclaims this is her first attempt at the Young Adult genre although she authored the wildly funny Jessica Darling series. Unfortunately for fans she take a few steps away from contemporary getting closer to dystopia more than anything else but I'm sure her addictive writing style will win over fans alike. I know, I was hooked within the first few pages.

P.S I have learnt something about myself while writing this review, I will never be able to accurately spell the word SURROGACY without a second glance!
Profile Image for Brigid ✩.
581 reviews1,818 followers
Want to read
July 13, 2011
I think I have to read this book just because it sounds so weird.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
77 reviews39 followers
December 11, 2010
Imagine a world where your only worth is what your body can do for others. Imagine a world where adults give teenagers the message, “If it feels good, do it! If it doesn’t feel good, here’s a pill for that!”

No, I don’t mean 2010. I mean 2010 aged 26 years and on steroids.

Welcome to Bumped by Megan McCafferty. Everyone under age 18 in this world is a liability or a commodity, and you better protect your brand if you want to take it to the bank. So, the question is, how do you decide who you are when your brand, your life already has been determined for you?

This is Planet Earth post-HPSV. That’s Human Progressive Sterility Virus to you. People infected are sterile by the time their bodies reach full maturity. HIV is a thing of the past in Bumped but unless teens keep bumping so teen girls can get those bumps, humans will cease to exist. Consequently, their lives are cultivated, regulated and leased by couples who offer the best bottom line.

The story is told through the first-person perspectives of twins Melody Mayflower and Harmony Smith, who were separated at birth and adopted by two very different sets of parents. Melody is placed with parents who raise her as a commodity, a high-achieving scholar athlete with ‘flawless’ Northern European DNA that’s sure to make her a slam dunk on the fertility circuit. Harmony is placed with a devout couple who eschews Melody’s market and image driven world for the uber-religious Goodside – think an FDLS compound minus the polygamous marriages but with color-coded dresses. Both characters feel stereotypical at first – Melody sounds like a self-absorbed over-achiever, and Harmony is a classic Bible-thumper. However, the book is set up to follow the pattern of a developing pregnancy with the first three sections titled first, second, and third. This timeline carries the story, keeps it well-paced, and adds layers of explanation and revelation throughout. Melody and Harmony’s characters, strengths, personal conflicts and doubts also emerge within this frame. Finally, a fourth section titled ‘rebirth’ sends the sisters into situations they’re unprepared for, and both are faced with choices they never knew were theirs to make. Adding more texture to the story are a variety of other characters, the most important of whom is Zen. He is Melody’s best friend and adds a great amount of humor and genuine emotion. He also acts as a de facto voice of reason.

When I first read Bumped, I was stunned. The 1960s have nothing on free love in 2036, but only unambitious teens have sex without some sort of possible bonus. Adults are so focused on not only getting a child, but on having the ideal child birthed for them, that an entire industry has popped up around that quest. The products that stores thrust at these girls to promote pregnancy are overwhelming and begin when they hit the early pre-teen stage. Agents scoop up young girls for signing contracts faster than you can say Jerry McGuire. They come under extreme pressure to save themselves for their perfect 'bump' or 'pregg' partner so they don’t taint themselves before hand. They are matched with teenage boys whose specifications match the paying couple’s desires. While Melody’s parents have carefully reared her to fully participate in this industry, Harmony is in the same situation with a different name. In Goodside, girls are betrothed at 13 and married shortly after. Whether controlled by Church law or the laws of supply and demand, the fertility of teen girls definitely is a commodity in both communities. The only people who do not seem to have ownership in this are the young women themselves.

What makes the book shocking is not its subject matter per se, but the manner with which its presented. We’ve seen similar issues before in other dystopian novels, but in books such as The Giver by Lois Lowry and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, there was a formality in the characters and language that provided a buffer. It gave you more of an objective space to take in and interpret the setting before you became emotionally involved. That doesn’t happen in Bumped. Right from go, you are immersed in a world that’s extremely familiar, particularly from Melody’s viewpoint. You see her at the average U.S. high school, hanging out at the mall, joking with her her friends, straining under parental pressure to succeed, etc. They seem like any group of teens you might know today. So, when you see that they’re treated as wombs for rent, it feels very, very wrong. It’s akin to your own 13 – 17 year old daughter, sister, cousin or friend saying to you, “Hey, I just got a sweet deal. A couple is going to pay me have sex with a total hottie while I’m ovulating. They’ll take the bump off my hands once it’s out, and I’ll get a car, too! So, you want to go to the mall?” That’s how Bumped reads – it’s girl-next-door familiar, and that adds both an authentic voice and a frightening level of realism. The true influence over these teens comes not from an ever-present and feared government, but from the same people who are influential today: parental, peer and marketing pressures combine into a triple entente that leaves teenagers with little reason to think, “why?” Other nuances between this future world and our current one are planted slowly throughout the book. Things you pick up on as being very strange in the first 'trimester' of the book will have their explanations later on and often will take you by surprise.

Bumped also is written with a good amount of humor that fans expect from McCafferty's writing. After the initial shock, you likely will snort at the tongue-in-cheek comments. It also is the first book I’ve read in a while that gives relevant commentary on actual current issues. I’m not talking about an ambiguous ‘self vs. society’ feeling, although on an overall scale, yes, that’s in this book. I’m talking about the media’s current obsession with teen sexuality, pregnancy and the blurring line between reality and celebrity. I’m talking about financial illiteracy and irresponsibility. I’m talking about using pills to give and take away emotions so people can ‘perform’ how society expects them to. I’m talking about producing designer babies. I’m talking about young women being raised with very little say in their own sexuality. Traditionally, the choice has been between bad girl or good girl with little middle ground. Bumped takes those traditional oppositions and flips them: the bad girl is suddenly good because society needs her to be bad, and the good girl is mocked - she, too, remains 'pure' but not for the mainstream's benefit, and she gets no monetary kickback. It's a very public, either/or kind of world.

Bumped will take you for a ride. What starts as a test drive between sisters takes you full force into a head-on crash that lands on one hell of a cliffhanger. You will read it with ease and cheer on Melody and Harmony as they struggle to decide who they are and what they want. However, the real dystopian fear factor is how close we already are to this future world. I predict that parents and conservative groups are going to have some things to say about this book. Frankly, I am looking forward to the show. Bumped is not a ‘simple’ book. The issues it raises are weighty ones: circumscribed existence with limited choices, parental and societal pressures, ignorance, and the effects that all of these produce. It’s fascinating, provocative and controversial - an important book with something to say being put out at the right time. I recommend it.


"They predicted sixteen years ago, almost before anyone else, that girls like me - prettier, smarter, healthier - would be the world's most invaluable resource. And like any rare commodity in an unregulated marketplace, prices for our services would skyrocket. It wasn't about the money, really, not at first. It was about status. Who had it, and who didn't. And my parents did everything in their power to make sure I had it."

"Despite her musical name, my sister gives little thought to the sounds hat come out of her mouth. She doesn't seem to understand that words serve as a bomb or a balm and all too often Melody chooses to hurt instead of heal."
-Harmony, pg 43-44

"Where are you in your cycle? Oh, WHO CARES? Let's get you two BUMPING right away. We don't want another trimester to go by with a FLAT TUMMY. And not to put any pressure on you or anything, but it would be just BREEDY if you could deliver the goods by next March."
-Lib, an agent, pg. 76

"'Hornergy' is Zen's term for the indomitable athletic edge powered by sexual restraint. The basketball, baseball and football teams haven't had a winning season in years. The table-tennis team, however, is undefeated."
-Melody, pg. 147

FTC - received this book from the author in exchange for an honest opinion. In no way was I compensated for this review.
Profile Image for oliviasbooks.
772 reviews512 followers
September 27, 2013
""I was matched with the Jaydens, who put in a very strong bid: full college tuition, a Volkswagen Plug, and a postpartum tummy trim. […] It’s hard to believe now, but this was a pretty radical decision at the time. Though popular in major cities on the coasts, going pro was still kind of a down-market thing to do in the suburbs, and at my school in particular. All preggers at Princeton Day Academy were amateurs, most of whom put deliveries up for nonprofit adoptions.""
Bumped has been unexpected fun. But intelligent, believable and thought-raising fun. Its society reminded me tremendously of present-day Germany. Rest assured: We have not yet fallen victim to a virus that renders our wombs and testicles barren around the age of 19, but we struggle with a legendarily low birthrate - among other future-relevant problems - and our government's ideas to charm the population into producing sufficient numbers of offspring are as ridiculous and as lacking as far the desired effects are concerned as the system the US have established in the slightly futuristic, post-almost-apocalyptic YA romance Bumped.

Luckily the outrageous 'stove-bonus' plan to financially reward german stay-at-home parents and rob the neediest kids of a chance to get out and receive some early education has not been put into action, but all the strange rules and laws that supposedly make living with kids and earning your bread doable do not compensate for the utter lack of institutions that take care of toddlers from morning to evening or of primary schoolers in the afternoons without their parents having to weep and plead and fight against other competitors. Placing your kid so you can work and live remains a long administrative and emotional struggle and demands good organisational skills. Thus birthrates continue to drop and our flabbergasted politicians look down from their glass towers longingly at our neighbours in Denmark or France without realising the obvious faults in their concepts.

In Bumped the Americans of 2036 are proud. Proud of their solution to keep their nation alive and afloat without resorting to forced teenage breeding like China does (among other countries). Although those underage are the only ones capable of creating the next generation (artificial insemination doesn't work either anymore) getting pregnant is still a voluntary decision of the individual. In theory. On paper, yes. For there are elements subtly woven into the system, which put teens under a considerably amount of pressure from both peers and parents:

- Contraceptive material is forbidden. The last condom had been produced in 2025. That the available fertility indicator sticks could be also used the other way around has not been discovered yet.
- Teenage pregnancy is heavily promoted, but teenaged parents exist only in gated, fundamentally religious communities like the one heroine Harmony had been raised in. Usually pregnant girls receive prescription drugs that keep mother and foetus from forming a prenatal attachment. The newborn - viewed by their mothers like prize pumpkins or hand-knitted sweaters - are therefore handed over to middle-aged couples without fuss.
- The receiving individuals are couples who either just crave a family or couples who want to make an investment. Babies of exceptionally beautiful or gifted teens are legally auctioned off to the highest bidder or even produced on demand after negotiating exclusive contracts via luxury adoption agencies which are specialised on making the perfect deal. Such a promising superbaby acquired by costly means will pay off as soon as its buyers put its womb or sperm on the market 13 years later.
- Other agencies pay their mediocre clients for quantity: A university scholarship for handing over four healthy screamers, for instance.
- An abundance of media and merchandising that glorify piecework breeding for the sake of the country.
- School campaigns that unify and cheer those who decide to breed and put those who don't on the sidelines.
- Strongly marketed, aphrodisiac drugs that take away caution and turn shy teens into active players on officially organised sex parties.
- Health education programs that ruthlessly play down the risks and the discomfort that accompany childbearing and childbirth.

The partly funny, partly serious story that spans only across a couple of days focuses on Melody and Harmony Doe, identical twins who had spent their respective childhoods in radically opposite, but likewise strongly polarized surroundings: The home of well-to-do university professors who embraced the possibility of honing their human bargain into the ultimate, rewarding breeder by tweaking her profile and her body into something outstandingly unique and precious on the market, and the secluded farmers, faithful members of the Christianity-based, vanity abhorring Church, who took in a dozen unwanted shelf-warmers - sickly or ugly babies - in order to make them marry each other and start 'real' families to obey their heavenly creator around the tender age of 13.
Both sisters are unhappy, although none of them questions her upbringing in the least. When Harmony spontaneously decides to crash in on her twin's unfamiliar life, both existences start to blur around the precisely defined edges, both minds start to self-reflect, when frustration directed towards the counterpart loses its initial drive and similarities float to the surface.

I am actually one of the few readers who stoically remained unmoved by Jessica Darling's allure and the sex-appeal of her love-interests. And I had been a bit annoyed with both bumpy sisters in the beginning - the über-prissy, sermon-sprouting one wailing for a new veil and the pseudo-modern one drowning in her futuristically icky teen-talk and hiding her insecurities behind her business-like career-girl persona.

But after just a few chapters I found myself liking both girls a lot and enjoying the trips into both of their minds. I rooted for both romances, cheered their growing bond and mourned the cliffhanger ending.

I initially did not plan to write a review when I switched off my Kindle. Having had a good time and a good push to my mind seemed to be enough. But the images seemed to stick to my inner teflon and the obnoxious setting was with me right after opening my eyes this morning. That called for putting thoughts into sentences before moving on into another character's world and puzzling out an entirely different set of fictional problems.

So here we are: You hopefully reconsidering Bumped and me cautiously recommending it.
Profile Image for izzy baby ♡.
215 reviews39 followers
May 10, 2021
“I know. It's shocking to think that the government would try to stick its nose in our ladyparts.”

It was an interesting plot, so I was excited to see what the author would do with it. Unfortunately, in the end, I was mostly disappointed. It was fun and witty at times, which I appreciate, but more often than not it turned, plain and simple, annoying. The ''futuristic'' language used is annoying (someone says fertilicous one more time and I am going to SCREAM), as are most of the characters.

I wish this wasn't a duology, but I will be reading the second one in hopes the conclusion to the story is more satisfying.
Profile Image for SKB.
126 reviews
February 1, 2011
[This book is not released until late April, but I was fortunate enough to have scored an ARC, hence this review now.]

Picture your favorite uterus ...

Now picture it ... barren.

(Sorry, very obscure reference from the animated "Tick" series.)

In Bumped, the time is a near-distant future, one in which a virus has made almost all adults sterile. Only teenagers are guaranteed to be fertile, and in order to continue the human species, teenagers are encouraged to have sex, to get pregnant as often as they can before the virus strikes them. Their offspring are snapped up by the highest bidder. In certain cases, girls are under contract with a couple to be their surrogate ("surrogette" in McCafferty's witty near-future lingo), the baby daddy to be selected by the couple. Pre-pubescent children are indoctrinated to "bump" (the sex act, or to get pregnant for hire) as soon as they're able. In this society, sex for teens is condoned, considered good, even patriotic or heroic. Drugs are freely circulated to make teens relaxed and amorous, or, once pregnant, to prevent them from bonding with their unborn child. Pop song lyrics are crudely graphic, clothing revealing, and the only unmentionable word is "baby."

The book is told in alternating points of view of sixteen-year-olds Melody and Harmony, identical twin sisters adopted separately at birth and recently reunited. One is worldly, the other sheltered, but neither realizes how little--or how much--she really knows. Their names may seem gimmicky, cutesy (they were named by their cracked-out birth mother before she gave them up for adoption), but in fact we come to understand their names as a metaphor for their relationship: two separate lives, discordant at times, but compelled to resolve, two parts of one rich whole.

It's a world--much like our own--where children are encouraged to grow up too fast. Just because their bodies biologically behave as those of mature adults does not mean they are ready to face the emotional challenges of adulthood. But in this culture, the language of conceiving, childbearing, and sexing is slangy, hip, edgy. Teens are fertilicious and breedy. They bump and pregg. On the one hand, it seems that these teens are flippant or degenerate, for talking so casually about getting pregnant as quickly and as often as possible--but if you look again, it's society that has brainwashed these kids, trivializing the large, complex biological and emotional burdens of bringing a child into this world. The teens are told they hold all the power, that they are the most important people in the world, when in fact they are the ones being exploited, led into decisions they are in no way ready to handle.

Readers will see similarities to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, but I find the book to be an homage rather than a derivative work. While Atwood's book focuses more on the patriarchy and the dangers of the reintegration of church and state, Bumped seems more about the danger of the ever-increasing ubiquitous media and popular culture, and the current trend for kids to grow up too fast. It wasn't too long ago that Abercrombie & Fitch introduced a line of thongs and training bras for the grade school set. McCafferty just pushes that trend a bit further. It seems unthinkable when one reads it, but how far away are we from this society? Not so far, aside from the virus that makes all adults infertile. I read a news story this week about a ten-year-old girl in Spain who just gave birth. Ten. Years. Old.

That's not to say this book is a cautionary or morality tale. There's a lot of moral ambiguity in the novel. What is right? What is wrong? Who is in power? Who is the victim? By the book's end, the reader is more unsure than s/he was at the beginning. And that's the great thing about McCafferty's engaging and thought-provoking writing, to lead us to the point where we can admit that we just don't know. There's a certain beauty to realizing that there are no clear answers. And I'm just talking macro here--on the micro level, the book is wickedly funny, clever, imaginative, heartbreaking, and completely engrossing, with a plot that continuously surprises (even when I thought the author was completely telegraphing a plot point, I'd be knocked on my ass the next chapter).

All I can say is, thank god for Megan McCafferty. She is fighting the good fight against the troubling trend of braindead, lovesick YA protagonists who are defined only by the boys (or paranormal manly creatures) that love them. Melody and Harmony are deeply flawed, immature, and so, so real. They are kids forced into being adults before they are ready. They're imperfect, impetuous, self-centered ... and wholly believable. This is how you do it, folks.

See? I don't hate all books. Just the shitty ones.

Reviewer's note: A year or two ago I would have given this book five stars, but I've been trying to crack down on my own grade inflation on Goodreads. In my heart, this is a five-star book though. Five delicious, nougat-filled stars.
Profile Image for Andye.Reads.
835 reviews411 followers
April 19, 2011
3 stars? 4 stars? 5 stars?

Hmmm.....what to say about this book? This was without a doubt, the strangest book I've ever read. I honestly don't know how I feel about it. I found it entertaining, funny, and bizarre, easily reading through it in a day. I enjoyed the humor and found myself chuckling often. I found Zen absolutely hilarious and wished that he was in it a little more. I even found Harmony pretty entertaining. There were quite a few little twists and mysteries that kept me guessing, and turning the pages to find out what exactly was going on. It's part of a two-book series, which is a little disappointing (I can't tell you how much I want to read a book and actually know how it ends without having to wait a year) but the storyline was definitely intriguing and left me thinking for hours afterward.

At the beginning of the book, there is a letter from the author. In it she explains that the idea for this book came from the media's fascination with teen pregnancy, from MTV's Sixteen and Pregnant, to the obsessive news coverage of Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears. She explains that this book is about extremes, from the extreme idea Melody subscribes to that teens should want to get pregnant, to the extreme religious beliefs that Harmony has grown up believing.

I have to say I had to KEEP reminding myself about this letter while I read the book. I found myself getting irritated at the portrayal of "religious" Harmony, as I can't help but think that this is the way so many people think that Christians actually behave. I have a feeling that many will miss the fact that Harmony's character is supposed to reflect an extreme viewpoint. On the flip side, I found myself frequently exasperated by the behavior of the "pro-bump" teens as well. Their flippant view of sex and the selling of their babies to the highest bidder was quite sickening. As was the crude dialog and invented slang. Once again, I had to remind myself, this was the point of the book. To make you think about how easily we are influenced by the media, and the world around us. All you have to do is take a look at some of the ludicrous fashions that four years ago we wouldn't have been caught dead in (skinny jeans...haha), but now are commonplace, to see the truth in that. Is it so hard to believe that if no one could get pregnant after 18 that we would soon turn to those younger to get what we want?

This book also makes me ask the question; Just because a book is about teens, does that mean teens are the best audience? Bumped has quite a bit of sexual content. As you may have guessed, the word "bumped" basically means "have sex." In this world girls are actually encouraged to have sex, but only for the purposes of getting pregnant and only with the most aesthetically pleasing people. I also wonder if the message will be lost in the shuffle. Both because it is hidden in the depths of an enormous amount of slanguage and innuendo, and also because the people that may appreciate this message the most, might be the ones that won't be reading it. I've already read reviews by people who have definitely missed the big picture message because of the perceived story. I hope those that do read it, look beyond the surface, and see that the message is to think for yourself, and make your own choices.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and the message, however, the sexual dialog was just too crude and extreme for me, and made this one hard for me to like as much as I could have. But, it did make me think, and that's always a good thing! It's obvious that Megan is a very talented writer, and it's certainly made me interested in her Jessica Darling Series!

Profile Image for Lissa.
Author 14 books173 followers
October 2, 2011
Someone told me this was a satire - I don't remember who - and to take everything that was said with a grain of salt.

It's really a case of what not to do in novels and case in point, sometimes even the wrongest novels still get published.

I mean, a YA book promoting sex for procreation only and babies as commodities?

It's not meant to be believable, but it totally is. Sterile adults control teenage fertility and the teenagers think they're the ones in control. Megan McCafferty clearly knows her genre, what lines she can cross and what she can't, and that because this is a book from a well-known author it's going to be lapped up. There's hardly ever any talk of love. It's all 'bumping' and 'pregging' and doing their duty. It's not like love is forbidden - it's just that the teens are expected to put their feelings aside if they're to continue the human race. Pressure much? There is amateur bumping (pregnancy first, sell the baby) and professional bumping (contract first, produce baby) and hardly any teen keeps their babies. It sounds dark, but it's not. The teens are more than happy to do it.

The thing is, the book is totally hilarious.

I mean, identical twins called Melody and Harmony? A mistaken identity plot? How tacky is that? It's side-splittingly bad and hilarious at the same time.

Yes, the plot is predictable. But there was so much tension in offering the chapters alternately from each girl's point of view that when I reached the end of one chapter, I'd often momentarily skip over the next to read the beginning of the one after that, only just remembering that I'd already done that about a dozen times.

The prose itself is just gorgeous. If English is your first language you'll have no trouble deciphering their future-slang.

And if you're worried about the subject matter - a lot of sex talk, teenagers talking about sex for reproduction and tweens flaunting fake baby bumps because it makes them 'sexy' - don't worry about it. It's a satire. Explain that to your teen before giving them the book, and they'll learn just like Melody does that you don't have to do what everyone tells you to all the time, even if you think it's what you want. It's a great message on the subject of peer pressure, and actually the greatest book on peer pressure and society pressure I've ever read, even more so than Matched and Divergent, my two contemporary dystopians. Because this book doesn't even know it's a dystopian. Teens are being paid millions and setting up their entire future with their bumping. All the choices appear to be theirs, whether they amateur bump or professionally bump or even don't bump at all. How could this be a dystopian?

But it is. It's quite chilling when you think that all the media and promotions and sales are being targeted towards the prime demographic: teenagers. Parents rely on teenagers to bump early and often to earn their keep. Fake baby bumps are available for tweens. Professionals have agents to score them a good bumping contract. Everything about this world is designed for teens to reproduce with no attachments and no feelings to either their partner or their offspring. In turn, they will become parents to adopted babies they paid much for and will put pressure on their teen to bump.

If you don't take it too seriously, this book is awesome.
Profile Image for Judit.
227 reviews161 followers
April 22, 2011
First, let me tell you that I completely understand all this negative reviews I'd read before I finally picked up this book.
This is exactly that kind of the book, which is going to be criticized by all sorts of people, from young readers who expected something totally different to angry parents who think it's inappropriate for their children to read about 16-year-old (or less) pregnant teenage girls being the most cherished persons in the society and the one and only hope for the whole humankind.

Even as I'm writing this review I already know there are going to be a lot of people who won't agree with me and that's ok, because I love books that are hated as much as they are adored. And oh, how much I adored Bumped!

I've read Megan's Jessica Darling series a couple of months ago so I knew at least a little bit what to expect regarding the writing style, but I had no idea what to expect from the story. And so it took me by surprise and completely blew my mind.

Bumped is an extraordinary tale of the two long-lost tween sisters Melody and Harmony, who (despite of their identical looks) couldn't be more different. Or so it seems. For Melody, the one and only important thing in her life is to get bumped and deliver a baby to some strangers with highest bid, since the Virus caused infertlity in women and men after reaching the age of 18. She has looks, she has brains, she has skills and it looks like she's going to be paired with the most beautiful, desirable, potent "professional insemnator" in the world, Jondoe, and make a load of money delivering the most perfect child ever.
Harmony, on the other hand, grew up in the Goodside, some kind of religious community, where she was her whole life being prepared for the proper marriage and motherhood. As soon as she learns about the existence of her twin and about the life style she is practising, she is determined to find her and bring her on the right path.
The small identity exchange causes the sequence of unexpected events, which leaves you angry, speechless or brings a smile to your face. Usually all three things at once...

Bumped is just so over the top. It's more satire than classical YA dystopia but that's EXACTLY what made me fall in love with this book. It's such a shame there aren't more authors who are not afraid to experiment like Megan did. It feels like she created the whole new genre, where nothing is too much, where characters are wierd and where you have no idea what to expect next.

And you know what? Jondoe was my favorite character! He was such a shallow, egocentric moron but you just HAVE to wonder: Is there more to him? He obviously has two faces and you can only guess which is the right one, but the suspense feels soooo goood!
And of course I loved Zen too, that goes without saying. Another carefully and beautifully written character with a great sense of humor and big loving heart.

If English isn't your native language I should probably warn you that Bumped is full of slang and strange words and sometimes it's hard to understand. I wouldn't recommend it to the English beginners, but if you're more experienced in reading English stuff and you enjoy challenges - GO FOR IT! This is a MUST read. MUST MUST MUST! Thank you, Megan, for having enough courage to write this amazing story. You are one of my all time favorite authors!

And of course one big thank you to HarperTeen and Netgalley for providing me with an early copy. Much appreciated!
Profile Image for Heather Anastasiu.
Author 8 books669 followers
March 21, 2011
This book was crazy good. The writing is just stunning at times. BUMPED is the story of twins-separated at birth, Melody and Harmony, in a near-future where a sterility virus makes it impossible to get pregnant past 18 years of age. Most of the novel hinges on a single day of mistaken identity, a day that changes both twins' lives. A premise like that sounds unmanageable. But everything was so well-written, so perfectly plotted and paced that I just found myself saying YES! That is exactly what would happen there, and, of course! The transformation of each of the girls is believable and the reader is along for the ride at each momentous point on the journey leading to each of the girls’ varying revelations and final destinations. A lot of dystopias coming out recently have been compared to Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale, but this is the only one that earns the comparison in my book, both in it’s complexity of theme and quality of writing. There’s this luminescence to Harmony’s voice as she experiences things in the world for the first time, especially after the reader has seen her so on-script for her religion at the start of the book.

On a side note: this book made me ache. While Harmony, the super-Jesus sister at the beginning probably sounds like a humorous stereotype to many not familiar with religious subculture, she rang all too true for me with my fundamentalist Christian background. Being in her head as she spouts verses at her sister was almost painful to read, painful to embody in my head for the space of the book. At the same time, it also made her transition all the more believable. Let me tell you (and I went to a Super Holy Bible College), Christians are thinking the most about sex. The thing which we were commanded NOT to have (though most found secret ways to get it anyway) becomes the thing we were most obsessed with.

It’s why I got married at 19 years old to my first ever boyfriend, why the first kiss of my entire life was on my wedding day, up there at the altar in front of everyone after saying our vows. So yes, the scriptures that come to Harmony’s mind throughout the book, even as circumstances change and she begins to see those scriptures in new light, felt very, very real. Because of this bias probably, I was far more moved by her story than Melody’s, which was interesting enough in its own right—-the girls just have such different things at stake, at least in this first book. I can't wait to see what comes next for each of the sisters. This book was everything I’d hoped it would be, and that's rare, usually I get anticipation-itis and then the book disappoints. Not so here. Five stars.

Profile Image for Eh?Eh!.
364 reviews4 followers
June 25, 2011
First, The O'Malley was mistaken when he claimed all the swearing was replaced by various reproductive slang terms. There's still some sailor in it.

But he's right that it's about reproductive rights. Instead of approaching it from a legislative angle, it's all about peer pressure and popularity and trends. A Virus makes everyone infertile as they approach young adulthood, 18-20 years of age, and a new system has appeared to address the population problem. Teen pregnancy is suddenly the new cool. Young girls can be amateur and arrange their own affairs or sign on with an agent to become pro, where they can enter into formal contract with a couple desiring a child. The more babies borne the more popular one is, not just locally but with newsfeeds and virtual lists.

Melody is a pro who has yet to have a baby or even do it since her signing couple has been searching for just the right sperm, but her twin sister Harmony has been raised in an Amish-like religious settlement and views marriage and domesticity (along with having many babies for her husband) as her duty.

The story covers a few days as they both buck against the expectations that they were raised with and attempt to hold to despite internal doubts. Melody's friend Zen, prompted by soda, makes some points about innovation being crippled due to nostalgia by the old guard, an argument for new blood. It also touches on the mother-child bond, drug use, desire (hormones), sexuality, acceptance, and a swipe at China, hah. It ends with obvious loose ends that will continue in the next book. There's quite a bit of silliness, logically and with all the teen speak presentation, but it sort of fits. YA summer!

I was a little horrified whenever I remembered these characters were supposed to be teens, but...in high school, I heard of a few girls who become pregnant. One was talked about in hushed whispers, maybe sophmore year. I think it was junior year that another gravid teen kept coming to school until she was almost due, despite stares and talk (good for her, finish school!). And once facebk became more widespread, before they attempted to provide their ridiculous attempts at privacy, you could see who had children that appeared to be old enough that they must've been carrying during graduation. Teen pregnancy happens because teens are going to have sex. Just like babies explore their bodies, teens will explore their bodies' responses. Why make it shameful? Educate, teach how and why, show that life goes on but will likely be better if one waits, but don't stifle and smother and misdirect. No one likes that.
Profile Image for Danny.
597 reviews159 followers
March 14, 2011
This one so took me by surprise! This is most definitely a unique take in the dystopian world. Normally, when I read Dystopian I expect darkness, end time feeling and such, not that I want it, but this is how nearly all dystopian novels I read lately are.

Bumped is so different!!

In Bumped Teens are the most valued people on earth because they are the only ones that can still have kids. A virus that most people catch around 18-20 makes them all infertile so Teens are the only ones that can deliver new babies to the world. While Mrs McCafferty could have told the story in a dark and brooding way she decided to take it lightly with a fun undertone. WONDERFUL!

And, she did that without missing the tragic behind and the problems and consequences that comes with young people being only focused on delivering a baby. Sex is just a way to get pregnant it has nothing to do with intimacy or even love, those kids are talking about Sex only to get the best genetic baby ever... it is a highly disturbing thought.

The story is told by two Twins that were separated at birth and couldn't have grown up more different from each other. While Melody's only goal is to get the best sperm for her baby and is under contract with an agency that searches that for her, Harmony's life is all about God, family and motherhood. When Harmony suddenly appears on Melody's door with the wish to convince her of her own god driven life style things happen that will affect both girls int he end...

This book was seriously hilarious and I laughed out so loud so many times that my hubs started to get worried. Both voices, Melody and Harmony are both funny in their own ways without lacking their own personalities.

Bumped is a wonderful, fantastic, thoughtful and hilarious read that will make you both laugh and think. Think about the deeper consequences in a world where sex is nothing special and intimate anymore.

Girls, put that on your list!
Profile Image for Max Heimowitz.
181 reviews1 follower
January 17, 2021
Thank you Hannah for telling me to read this, because in all truthfulness, this was actually quite amazing.

Bumped is set in a world where the majority of the population has become infertile; only those in their prime of teenager youth can become “pregged.” In fact, it’s a hot commodity to be impregnated, so much so that in Otherside, you can get a RePro Rep to help find you the best match for insemination. But that’s not even the wildest thing in here: the polar opposite of Otherside is Goodside. Think The Handmaid’s Tale, but minus all the darkness and despair and death—it’s a Biblical wonderland... of child marriage.

You see, in Otherside, teenage girls and boys are commodified for their bodies and their ability to reproduce. In Goodside, they use child marriage and subsequent consummation as an effort to combat depopulation. It sounds insane, but it works. So well. There are prepubescent girls looking to get scholarships from giving birth to ten babies in a row. There are stores that sell “FunBumps” to entice you to get pregnant while you can. There are sex parties to encourage, well, baby making. And condoms are illegal. It’s insane, I’ll say it again. It’s hilarious at times, too. But it’s good!

Don’t get me wrong—the slang, the lingo, the argot, the vernacular speech, it’s all ridiculous. Cringe to the extreme. But once you get into the book, you really get into it. “Fertilicious,” an insane word if you asked me had I not read this book, actually makes perfect sense. I bet someone could write a whole literary analysis on how clever this book actually is, and the type of commentary (however subliminal it may be) it’s making on teenager-hood, adolescence, pregnancy, teen sex, reproduction. Then, something like “fertilicious,” getting “bumped,” “pregging” with a stranger—it’s brilliant, even if I’m screaming inside while reading these words.

The story is so simple, yet simultaneously it’s nuanced. It’s in its simplicity where it finds its complexity. And I haven’t even mentioned the main characters’ names, Melody (from Otherside) and Harmony (of Goodside), separated at birth monozygotic identical twins with radically different outlooks on life. The names are ridiculous... but maybe there’s something more at play... or I’m reading too into this. Who knows.

I turned the last page of this book and wanted to throw my phone across the room. (I’m reading an ebook on my phone). Everyone is left in a precarious position. The characters are acting irrationally, or is it really more rational? Honestly, I don’t even know.

As for critiques, I wish we had more gently been dropped into this world; there is no info-dumping—it’s the exact opposite where you learn as you go. I wish we had spent more time physically with Harmony, too. Her chapters are shorter and she feels underdeveloped. There’s more to her than her godly upbringing. And now I have to know what’s going to go down with Jondoe aka Gabriel, Ram & Harmony, Melody & Zen. I can’t even get mad at the names, because it just worked.
I’m sobbing because Shoko almost lost her life and because Malia lost her mind. I’m sobbing for Zorah, who’s already given a thumbs-up for her eleventh delivery and little Freya, who aspires to be just like her. I’m weeping for bald and cranky Celine Lichtblau and also for glossy-haired and glowing Ventura Vida, even though I still for seriously hate her and her adorable six-month bump, and for all the other pregging Pro/Ammers and the Cheerclones who’ll try again with the Ballers at the next masSEX party and all girls everywhere who are valued far more for what’s between their legs than what’s between their ears.
Profile Image for Krystle.
881 reviews337 followers
April 27, 2011
Whoa, boy, I had no idea what to expect from this but my expectations weren’t high in the first place. I blame generic, run of the mill, fad published ya dystopian books on this.

The first thing you notice about this book is the excessive amounts of slang dropped on us. Dear jaysus my head was spinning. I had no idea what the hell anybody was saying and I constantly had to stare at long passages trying to decipher what things meant. It sort brought me out of the flow of her words and what’s worse is that she doesn’t really explain anything until MUCH later so you’re left out of the loop for a long, long time.

It was very difficult for me to connect to the main characters, Melody and Harmony. Their chapters are so short that I was unable to understand any of them. They never came to life and I don’t think it helped matters that the author purposely made them so opposite of each as to be unbelievable. Harmony as some crazy devoted religious fanatic intent on converting her sister to the side of reason and save her from damnation? What? And then she says, “oh my grace” and spouts off bible phrases, what have you, and it was so unrealistic. Sometimes the dialogue felt so stiff and unnatural it made me wrinkle my nose (for both of them).

I did like the concept for this though. Having teenagers become the money maker through their wombs is a striking image. It gives the impression that a girl’s only worth is measured by her ability to produce babies or a breeder. It’s interesting to see how she spins the future belief systems of these girls to be conditioned in thinking that this is nothing more than a fluffy job. Of course there are slip-ups with those wanting to keep their child.

The romance was, I thought, nicely done. He wasn’t the perfect male and is rejected as a potential breeder because he doesn’t have the wanted requirements. It was slow and while subtly (or not so subtly) hinted at, the culmination of their feelings didn’t come until the climax of the book. Melody was also a plus in that she manages to finally speak up for herself and go against the rigid expectations of her to do what she feels is right after being so wish-y wash-y in the beginning.

There are good parts to this story, but not enough.
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