Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review: Bumped

BUMPED (Bumped #1)
Megan McCafferty
Young Adult/Dystopian
323 pages
Balzer + Bray
Available April 26th
Received from author for review

Teenage girls are currently the most important members of society. A virus has rendered everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, so desperate couples are now forced seek out young women, sign them to often impressive monetary contracts, and choose a young man for them to "bump" with so they have as much control over the offspring as possible.

Melody is one such teenager. Signed to a six-figure contract several years ago, she is still awaiting the choice of a partner so she can finally fulfill her end of the deal. She was one of the first girls to go professional in her school, and now she's one of the few that has yet to bump with anyone. To make things worse, her long lost twin sister Harmony shows up at her door to convince her of the sin she's about to commit by getting pregnant for profit.

However, when Harmony is mistaken for Melody and meets Jondoe, the hottest reproduction professional around and Melody's newly chosen partner for her contract, the lives of both sisters are irrevocably changed. Their eyes start to open for the first time and they begin to realize the separate worlds in which they were raised are perhaps worlds they no long wish to be a part of.

Bumped presents us with a world that feels utterly foreign, not due to the use of futuristic technology or the creation of an environment we can't possibly picture existing, but rather due to the thought processes of the individual characters themselves. This story is both appalling and absorbing–a mesmerizing reveal of a situation that leaves us wondering as to the lengths humanity will go to ensure its survival, and we read on in abject horror as we realize this world has grown to view the prostitution of its children as both normal and necessary. We laugh at the quirky sayings on t-shirts and the humorous rhyming lyrics of this world's popular music, but the smile quickly drops from our faces as we come to fully comprehend just what these catchy phrases are promoting and encouraging, and we find ourselves rubbing our arms to smooth the hairs that have stood on end at our realizations. Bumped is bothersome and intentionally uncomfortable, the disturbing nature of its society presented in a lighter way due to the aforementioned humor, but all the more unnerving as a result of this approach.

Melody is the character with whom it's easiest to relate, her six-figure contract to the Jaydens keeping her from getting tangled up in the sexual frenzy of her peers, and her innocence on that front is something we feel almost protective of as we will her to see herself as more than a purchasable baby incubator. She continues to earn our respect as the horrors of her reality begin to sink in, the absurdity of her classmates' and her parents' obsession with pregnancy becoming a recognizable problem to her as opposed to an acceptable way of life. By the end, Melody exercises some semblance of control over her life, leaving us with something in which to take comfort as we face the seemingly insurmountable flaws plaguing the way of thinking in this world.

Harmony, however, is a bit more problematic of a character. Her fanatical religious upbringing forces her to try to help others see the error of their sexual ways, resulting in mannerisms and phrases that are a bit much to deal with even though we know they are purposely over the top. While she, like Melody, seems predisposed to accepting that the expectations placed on her are perhaps not as much in her best interest as she originally thought, it's difficult to fully believe she is capable of having the profound effect on both Melody and Jondoe that she does. She leaves a memorable and lasting impression on both of them in a very short period of time though she speaks very little to either of them, and she succumbs to Jondoe's numerous physical talents with a little too much ease for a girl raised under the strict belief that intimacy outside of marriage is a sin. She may have a rebellious streak in her thought processes to match Melody's, but it seems she abandons what she's known all her life within just a few short days, managing to topple Jondoe and Melody into that churning sea of change with her though we as readers are left a little baffled as to how she accomplishes such a feat.

Bumped will certainly be a challenging read for many due to the discomfiting nature of a world where young girls sell the use of their bodies with the full support and encouragement of society, but for those who love the dystopian genre and don't mind the presentation of a haunting and horrifying future, it will be a quick and entertaining story. It's a book that will certainly inspire a wealth of differing opinions, ensuring that it will never be placed on a shelf and forgotten but will rather slither into our subconscious long after we've read it, raising new questions and eliciting new emotions with each remembrance.

Rating: 3/5


  1. I totally agree with your thoughts, Jenny. Also, glad I'm not the only one who thought Harmony changed her tune (oh GOSH, that wasn't supposed to be a pun) too quickly when it came to Jondoe and her beliefs. I was like "girl, what are you thinking?"

    This book was crazy, but I appreciated how it merely exaggerated what seem to be growing trends for teen pregnancies. It was horrifying, and yet it didn't seem too far off the mark (which made it even more horrifying in a way). It definitely takes talent to make something horrifying yet still funny enough to be satire.

  2. Great review Jenny. I think the whole disturbing plot line isn't for me. I really haven't fallen in love with any of the dystopia novels recently along the same lines.

  3. It's dystopian, but it has a wack-a-doodle, fast-paced, trippy kind of humor. I'll be reviewing this one soon.

  4. Great review Jenny! I got this one in the mail and am looking forward to reviewing it.

  5. Great review Jenny. It sounds like this is going to be one of those books that has reviews all over the place. I am not a big fan of main characters changing their tunes quickly.

  6. Everything I've heard about Bumped makes me want to read it even more. I like disturbing books which scare you and yet, make you think. I think I am overdosed on dystopian novels right now, so I will wait a few months before I read it.

  7. I just started reading this, Jenny, and I definitely agree that it is appalling and intriguing at the same time. I find myself laughing at parts and then feel bad for laughing because the situation at hand is horrible.

  8. Ashley - Harmony was a little much for me, but I thought the exaggeration of the other elements worked well. I will definitely still be picking up the next one.

    Nic - It certainly leaves you with a kind of ick feeling when your done, but it's intentional. Certainly not a light, fluffy read even if it's written in a light way!

    Madigan - Exactly. Looking forward to your review!

    Savy - I'll be interested to see what you think:)

    Felicia - The reviews for this one will definitely be all over the place. I kind of like that about it though, it's fun to see how everyone reacts to the same book. Kind of like Wither:)

    Misha - Disturbing is a good world. You can't stop yourself from reading because you just have to see if things even out at all or if they just get more horrifying:)

    Rummanah - That is exactly how I reacted! I would laugh and then be like "wait, this is not funny." Made for an interesting read!

  9. Great review, Jenny! You captured some of my issues with this book and stated them quite eloquently. I had a hard time with this one, but I could see how it others could view it as a satire. It was definitely entertaining to say the least.

  10. I think the contradicting view points certainly sound like it creates an interesting world to explore. Societies are forced to evolve in which ever means necessary for survival, and I think that is a key component that is easy to misunderstand if you are looking at it from only one standpoint.

    Bumped sounds very thought provoking. And the truth is that we never know how we'd react unless we were living under those circumstances. To be filed under things that make you say hmmm!

  11. I really loved the Jessica Darling books, so I was quite looking forward to this book. However, I've heard several reviews along the lines of yours. I will most likely still read it, but I will enter with caution. It usually turns out for the better if I'm not hyped up too much anyway. :D

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  12. Christina - It was entertaining, and reading everyone's different reactions to it has been fun:)

    Missie - I can't imagine living in a world where infertility affects everyone at 18 so it's definitely easy to be appalled at their decisions when we ourselves don't have to make them. It's a disturbing book and though provoking and worth a read:)

    Jen - Entering with caution is a good idea, I do like how much it makes you think, I just wasn't fully on board with Harmony.

  13. The premise reminds me a little of the Handmaiden's Tale.

  14. I'm a big Megan McCafferty fan and devoured her Jessica Darling books so I can't wait to read this.

  15. Jenny-

    I saw another video review of this book and was shocked at the language and content of this book and wondered if it should even be YA. Your review makes it seem much more tasteful. This must have taken a lot of thought to write. Very nicely done!


  16. Nice review. Sounds disturbing but then it's dystopian and that works best like that . Still, dunno, it feels like something is missing

  17. I didnt like this book- it actually took me a few times picking it up to finally get through it. It was that future slang that I couldnt get into and the story was I agree- disturbing and the cheerleaders and all that sex talk.... I find nothing glamorious about exploited minors.

  18. Tori - I haven't read that one, I'll have to go look it up:)

    Jenny - This is the first I've read of her work and I like her writing style, but this world is truly something else. That's part of it's appeal though, it's uncomfortable and makes you squirm a bit.

    Heather - Thank you! I would recommend this to older YA readers due to the sexual references and overall prevalence of sexual content even though the act itself is never mentioned in any detail.

    Blodeuedd - Disturbing is a perfect word for it:)

    Tina - I think a lot of people won't like this one - it was hard to read and often made my skin crawl. But it was supposed to so I can appreciate it in that respect:)

  19. I have not had read a lot of really positive reviews of this one so far and like your rating, I have not seen it receive more than a three. Think I may just pass this one by. Great review as always

  20. Great review as always! When I first heard of Bumped, I found the premise very intriguing. I admit that I find the fact that Harmony is a religious fanatic a bit of a turn off, but it would be interesting to see her character arc.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

  21. Nice review. I've seen a lot of mixed opinions on this one; it seems like no one has loved it. But if it's a book that really will generate discussion I might have to look into it. :)

  22. Jan - It's a difficult one, that's for sure. It's bothersome and leaves you feeling just a little dirty, but it's intentional.

    Carissa - Harmony is my least favorite element, but I'm still interested in the world as a whole to be curious as to what is going to happen to her:)

    Kathy - I think people's opinions will be all over the place on this one, makes the book more interesting if you ask me:)

  23. I have gone back and forth on this one. On one hand I like the switch in what people have seen as the teenagers plight, on the other I don't want to be in a book that gets too preachy. Might have to pick it up and see for myself. Great review. Got me thinking about this one again.

  24. I think the world is just a little too disturbing for me. Just not my idea of pleasure reading. I've heard others mention the same thing you said here about the character changing her opinion so quickly. It's so frustrating when that happens.

  25. Great review Jenny! :) I want to LOVE this book because I've wanted to read it since I saw it. I read the first page and the slang already annoyed me, lol. I'm going to give it a shot after it comes out. I don't think the storyline about pregnancy and teenagers and such will bother me, probably just the slang.

  26. I have yet to see a really positive review for this one. I got it from Netgalley, but I think I'll be giving it a miss. Thanks for the great review - you and a couple other of my fave bloggers have made me think this one just isn't for me. :)

  27. I have Bump up next in line on my Netgalley TBR list. After reading your fantastically detailed review, I'm a little bit more inspired to read the book.

    Initially, I was really excited to read this book, but not many reviews have had positive things to say. Many think the world was down right confusing.

    Well, I'm diving in... I hope I enjoy it.

  28. Melissa - For me it didn't come across as preachy, it just sort of made my jaw drop now and again:) You'll have to let me know what you think if you pick it up!

    Small - I wouldn't recommend this one just looking for a "fun" read, it's a bit unnerving for that, but for readers who love dystopians I think it would be interesting to them at the very least.

    Jacinda - Thanks! The slang is a lot to deal with in the beginning, but once you get used to it I didn't notice it as much.

    Leanna - Definitely not for everyone!

    Gina - I enjoyed it even with the problems I had with it. Any book that gets people talking is interesting to me:)

  29. I've decided that I pretty much don't like dystopian because the worlds are so often really miserable. Why would I want to spend my time in a discomforting world? Ours has angst enough for me. I have nothing against the category itself, just the all pervading misery that is so common in this genre. Oh for a Dystopian novel that moves outside this kind of world view!

  30. Glad you liked this one well enough. I was concerned after Melissa gave it a poor review. I'm quite interested in it. I'm really not a dystopia fan, but the idea of this book just seems fascinating. I'm quite curious about the slang, confusing or not.

  31. I started reading this and quite enjoyed what I had read (maybe the first seventy pages or so), but then my eyes hated me for reading on my computer so I stopped. It seems like people are really divided when it comes to this, either you love it or you hate it. I think that it is a quite unique story but I can see how it could make some people uncomfortable...

  32. Nice review. I still have no idea how I felt about this one. I didn't really like it but yet I'm still pondering it and I think I will read the sequel. I think this is one of those books that no two readers are going to get the same reading experience from it.

  33. I read this one today and I am so with you! Despite being written in a lighter manner than most Dystopian, this is such a horrifying future that i flinched more than once while reading.

    I didnt really like Harmony that much and I agree that relating to Melody was def easier.

    I am very curious as how the sequel will be... I am torn about my feelings... i feel that there was a bit of a lack of setting the context and an overuse of slang of a world we dont know much about, which left me confused a lot of the time =/

    Great review!

  34. I've read mixed reviews on this one. Kind of like Matched. Some people love it. For others the book is just meh. I'm a big fan of dystopian books. I'm not sure how I feel about this world. Larissa said it's a horrifying future. Hmmmm...because it's so discomforting, as you said because of the sexual nature of the world I will definitely check it out. Fab review as always!

  35. Great insight. The premise of this book is brilliant and I love authors that bring sociopolitical issues to light. However, I'm currently reading it and I'm having a hard time getting through it. 25% in and I could give a crap about either character, and they both annoy me. I will trudge through, and hope it gets better.