24 May 2012

Bumped - Megan McCafferty

The issues of sex and love are never too far from our thoughts, and are maybe more of an issue for teens in modern day than ever before. As the number of teen pregnancies rise in our won world, McCafferty creates a world where it is not only expected, but encouraged. It gives a completely balanced view, but in the end, you know what she thinks of the idea.

In this world, the virus ensures that at some time between a person's 18th and 20th birthday, they become infertile. Now, there are teenagers that make money out of this by donating their sperms and becoming surrogates, and the prettiest, cleverest and healthiest girls make the most money and have the most contracts. Melody is one such girl, and she has scored the jackpot; she is contracted to bump with Jondoe, the best in the business. But there is one thing she hasn't taken into consideration; her identical twin, Harmony, who is bent on converting her sister to her Christian religion.

The premise of the book is intriguing. Could you imagine what our world would be like if we had to rely on teenagers for children? And this book delivers this in an extremely interesting and appealing way. There was one thing I didn't expect, though. Instead of one voice telling the story, it has two - the first person narratives of two extremely differently minded twins. This means you get to see each of them in a much more intimate way, and you can see their growth and thoughts in the story as it progresses.

The plot has a couple of twists which are unexpected. Coming from me, that's high praise - normally I see the twists coming for miles. It has a nicely flowing narrative and was quick to read. And there is a really great cliffhanger at the end. The characters are interesting and exactly teenage enough to be realistic. While they are not the multifaceted beings I have come to expect in adult works, they are definitely not one-dimensional.

One thing that lets the story down is the beginning. The amount of slang that the characters use tends to confuse you, and makes the conversations difficult to understand. It also bursts straight into the story, which is good normally, but for me it felt like we were playing catch-up for far too long.

Overall though, the book is a thoughtful look at pregnancy, surrogacy and teenage angst. Young adults will love it, but adults might not due to the immaturity of the voices. Despite this, I do want to read the second one anyway, possibly thanks to the giant cliffhanger.
It gets a 7 out of 10.

The second book, Thumped, is out now.