on 19 August 2011
Oh dear... I was so disappointed by this book. I had such high hopes after all the reviewer buzz in the US! On paper, it sounds like an interesting take on the current dystopian trend: the story of two very different twin sisters, set in a society in which a virus has rendered everyone over the age of 18 infertile, and teenagers are paid big bucks by prospective parents to deliver beautiful babies. Melody has been raised to become a 'Surrogette' - a professional baby machine - while Harmony has lived all her life in a conservative church community. When Harmony comes to find her sister to try and 'save' her from her sins, a case of mistaken identity turns their lives, their views - their whole worlds - upside down forever.
So far, so intriguing, right? The novel throws the reader head first into Melody's world from page one, with a deluge of baby chatter, futuristic jargon and an insight into the way this pregnancy-obsessed society works for genetically attractive young girls. For a while it was fascinating - but it didn't take long for it to start to feel just too alien to relate to. The incessant sex- and baby-related word play, in everything from the everyday slang to the pop music, began to feel like less of an amusing novelty and more like the kind of thing you'd expect to find being bandied about by teenage boys behind the bike sheds. It was just too much! I understand that this is the whole premise of the novel, but seriously, no one ever talked about anything but pregnancy (or 'bumping', as McCafferty calls it)!
As if that wasn't bad enough, the whole novel then flips on its head halfway through, and Harmony and her 'godfreaky' crisis of faith become the main focus. It's like McCafferty had pulled out a book called 'The Bible: Pro or Con?' and was rehashing every argument through Harmony's angst. As if to make up for this, the plot simultaneously becomes more and more disjointed and improbable, with horrendous coincidences and magic wand-waving going on left, right and centre to bring everything together. Then boom! I turned the page, and there were the acknowledgements! It felt like twenty pages were missing from the end.
At the end of the book, I walked away thinking, "What the hell was that?" A religious novel? An anti-religious novel? A fun read? A polemic on teen pregnancy? A thinly veiled jab at reproductive ethics? I'm not sure McCafferty herself knew, to be honest. Somewhere in there she lost the plot, lost her characters and - sorry - lost this reader.
Bumped was one of my highly anticipated books this year. So it is with regret I say I didn't like it.
Didn't like it/didn't get it...it was a bit of both. I honestly thought the idea was such a fantastic one that I felt I was missing something by reacting so strongly against it. Maybe I am, the book has very mixed reviews so clearly it's a marmite one. The problems I found with it was believability. I just could not believe that in twenty years in our future we'd be willing to glorify kids as young as 13/14 having sex. I could believe in the idea that only under eighteens could carry children, but I didn't really get why we (society) would have lost all morals and would pit young kids against each other as they fought to win the best surrogate deal from the actual book. And also, surely with the amount of technology that's present in this world it could be done without the actual act of sex. It honestly made my stomach heave.
I could see what the author was trying to say about our culture, but sadly I just don't think that message came across in the brash, in your face style it was written. I cringed my way through this book, at times feeling physically sick...but not in a thought provoking way, more in sheer disgust. I also really hated the new slang littered throughout this book, which was annoying to say the least. I wanted to vomit every time I read the word Fertilicious
I did like the contrast between Harmony's old-fashioned devout church puritan upbringing and Melody's bubblegum world, where pregnant teens are the new celebrities and reality TV stars. And I also thought some of the futuristic inventions were pretty clever, such as the internet contact lenses...now I can believe in a population who's eye's flicker gormlessly as they can't pull themselves away from the virtual world. I'm kind of like that now as I crash into stuff with my head gazing down at my phone!
Unfortunately I can't recommend this book, it just made me feel too uncomfortable but for all the wrong reasons. I felt the author had so much fun creating this world, she forgot to give it a sinister edge and the result is a book that appears to make teen pregnancy attractive rather than what I guess was the original goal. For me, it was just too weird. If you think you may be offended in anyway by the topics I've mentioned then I scream AVOID to you.
on 3 April 2014
This book was a lot better for the second time around. I am not sure why. I liked the idea of it the first time, but the writing did not grip me like some books do. But I read it the second time today. And I say today because I went through the whole thing in a day. Granted I was in a read’y mood, but still.
The whole issue this book deals with. It sort of mocks, but also makes you think about teenage pregnancy. It mocks it and you can’t help but think that this is ridiculous, but that is the point! It is completely insane but all I could think was that I could completely see how this would be happening. Give a few decades, a virus, and we will have girls selling off babies at the age of 14. I also liked the jabs on iEverything. It was more on the background, but still. And the issues with church/religion. This book deals with a lot of issues that are very present in today’s society.
Which is probably why it seems that it is not completely committed to any of the problems other than teenage pregnancy. It is what bothered me the first time around. That it wants to deal with very complex issues yet put in the regular teeage’y story. Second time around I knew what was going on and took in the extra details. Which made this book likeable to me. Sure it is a little flimsy at times and I sort of realize why a lot of people did not like it, but as a personal opinion, it was not half bad.
Apart from the world, the story itself sounds a little bit like a Latina soap opera. A lot of humping, people liking people they shouldn’t, mix ups between people and so on. All that was missing was someone having amnesia. It was not necessarily bad but it seemed a little much. I’d say that tone down the crazy, I mean the drama, and focus on the issue at hand.
I did like the characters though. Even though they were in such silly situations at times, they made a lot of progress through quite a short book.
Melody was my favourite twin. She was so pro-pregging. So up for what she was doing. It was great to see her evolve, doubt her way of life. And at one point, turn not only her world but the whole world around her, upside down. You go girl.
Same for Harmony. She started out completely different. The journey was similar, away with the old in with the new (bad side effect, after reading this book you read the phrase “in with something” and you already think kinky). I liked that she and Melody did not have identical reversed stories, Harmony actually kept a lot of her former beliefs.
Side guys, Jondoe was a little overdone with being the perfect match for his twin. I would have liked to see the more human side of him. Zen was adorable. He was a lot more on the sidelines at first, but I think that might change. He also gave insight to how the people who are not genetically built for this world might feel.
To wrap it up let me just say this, give this book a chance. You might not like it right away after you put it down. Put it just might grow on you. It gets 3.5 stars from me. It is not quite 4 worthy, but before I figured it around 2.5. So 12 months and a second read got it a whole star. Maybe I should pick it up again after next Christmas.
This review is also on my blog:
on 31 August 2012
So, this is a very accessible dystopian novel for teenagers about the rights and wrongs of teenage pregnancy and religious cults. Got it. It's a little twee, as identical twin books so very often are, but it's not too over-bearing. It's written well enough that the narrative doesn't 'clunk' in your head and the characters seem real enough. All in all, I actually quite liked it.
I'm struggling to work out who Bumped is actually aimed at though - it's too simple for older teenagers, but not really suitable for the younger ones. Quite obviously there's a fair bit of sex and teenage pregnancy, but it's the light-hearted, enthusiastic attitude towards sex ('bumping') that means you should be careful before giving it to your daughter for Christmas. There's meant to be a 'message' in there somewhere, but it did seem to get a little bit lost.
It also falls prey to the classic fall-down of dystopian novels - protagonists who suddenly feel disillusioned with their way of life, despite there being no turning event, thought process or explanation. It just happens. In Bumped, Melody has her perfect career all lined up and this is the only society she has ever known, but magically, obviously, she doesn't agree with it. Sigh. I know she has to have these feelings for the entire book to make sense, but a slightly more gradual process wouldn't have hurt.
Also, I wanted to smack Harmony in the face with a rounders bat. I liked her well enough, but my GOD she makes some nonsensical decisions. I just don't understand how anybody could possibly think what she did was a good idea, especially with the belief system that she's meant to have. Like I said up above somewhere, you really do have to just kind of roll with this book and accept some things, but that part really did stick out like a sore thumb.
I'm complaining again, I know. I did really enjoy Bumped though and I'll definitely be reading the next. It's one of those that are a joy to read as long
as you don't think about it too closely.
on 17 October 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.
on 28 September 2013
Bumped is a futuristic tale of how all the females over the age of 18 develop a virus rendering them infertile. Needless to say that fertile teenagers are the most sought after members of society and can strike lucrative contracts if they "bump" with a Repro ( a male genetically flawless teen) and hand the baby over to the couple who contract them. They are conditioned to believe that this is a huge honour they are doing their country and so in the majority of cases they conform.
The story is set around Melody and Harmony, identical twins separated at birth. Melody is being raised by her adoptive parents and has everything a girl could ask for. She is contracted to bump with Johndoe, a highly sought after Repro. Harmony is being brought up also by adoptive parents but in the Goodside, a religious cult who keep themselves away from worldly things in an effort to avoid the Virus. Harmony while loving God feels there is more to life than what she is experiencing and seeks out Melody , horrified at Melody's plans she attempts to convert her to religion but can she stay away from the temptation the other side has to offer?
A case of mistaken identity between the twins sets the story off in an opposite direction and suddenly both girls are questioning their lives.
A young adult book which surprisingly had a lot of sex in it for it's age group, the author's insight into what the future may hold was fresh and interesting to read. The tale is told a chapter apiece from the twins viewpoint. I enjoyed this read though not my usual genre but was very disappointed at the end and left wondering is there another book to follow?
on 24 March 2012
I did enjoy the story and took more to the characters as the story went on but the made up words were a bit confusing and sometimes grated on me a bit.
Ending was very open, maybe i lack imagination but i like to know whats happened to the characters not have to decide for my self!
Worth sticking with it.
on 11 January 2012
This is quite simply the most difficult review I think I've ever tried to write. Bumped has left me completely torn in two!!
On the one hand, its dystopian, which I love and it has an original story line, which I also loved. But on the other hand the way it is written bothered me. And I spent half of the book confused and completely bewildered as to what on earth was happening!!
I'm not going to even attempt to explain the story line in too greater detail because I think the synopsis does a perfect job of that, but basically the story is told from the point of views of both Melody and Harmony (our 2 protagonists) the twins who were separated at birth.
The story starts when Harmony has turned up on Melody's door step to visit her. Harmony is the religious one and has been brought up to believe that having children before marraige is a sin. Whereas Melody has been brought up to breed for money - serious money. And all she cares about is 'bumping' as soon as possible!! And so basically Harmony thinks that she can convert Melody into giving up her 'preggie contract' and turning to God.
Now the main problem I had with this story was that, as I mentioned, for half the book I had no idea what was happening. The main reason for this is becuase we are thrown head first straight into the story with no explanation of anything. I was completely lost. Also, the author has invented a kind of futuristic slang speak that was sooooo difficult to follow. We as the reader are just expected to pick this up as we go along and this really annoyed me. I would often find myself reading a sentence containing 3 or 4 weird 'slang' words and thus - the sentense held no meaning as I didn't undertand those words!! Obviously this affected my experience of the story which was a great shame.
Anyway, after I finally came to grips with most of the lauguage (some of which I actually still don't understand even after finishing) I was just over half way through the book. And from this point on I really enjoyed the rest of the story.
As I said, the idea of the story is really intersting. And the journey that both girls go on is intreaguing and reminded me of a coming of age tale. As both girls start to realise that the way they were both brought up is not perfect and start to grow close together I came to really like them both as characters. This and the ending is what earned this book the 3 stars I gave it. The ending held lots of promise for the sequel 'Thumped' and I'm crossing my fingers that it will be a bit better 'put together' than Bumped is!
on 8 December 2011
As soon as you start to read this book you are thrown into Melody and Harmony's world. This is a world where teens live to and are paid to "preg". You are thrown directly in to the new speech patterns and technology with no explanation as to what anything is. I found this a little off putting as it felt like being left out of an in-joke that your friends keep telling over and over again. Also I was very thrown off as one of the slang words used has quite a different meaning in the UK and every time I read it I did a double take and it threw me off.
I thought the premise of the story was really interesting. All diseases have been cured but the result is that women have the inability to become pregnant after their late teens. This results in couples paying teens to be surrogates. This story is told from the point of view of identical twins who had been separated at birth. One twin was raised to be the perfect surrogate and the other was raised in a religious commune where marriage must come before a child. Harmony leaves her religious confines to find her twin and tell her of the word of god so that she may come home.
The book alters chapter about between Harmony and Melody. Personally I preferred the Harmony chapters as I related to her the most. Like her we had not grown in this world and the surroundings were unfamiliar. I think this made it easier to relate to her. This book was interesting and I am a huge fan of Megan McCafferty (Jessica Darling is amazing) but this book did not captivate my attention in the way I hoped it would.
on 6 November 2011
I'm honestly having such a hard time trying to word my feelings toward this book. It's a book that covers so many difficult issues but falls short in executing them. The concept is fantastic - a world where everyone over eighteen becomes infertile, so people 'hire' teens to have their kids but we never learn why people above this age are infertile. In fact, there are a lot of parts in this book where we don't actually know what is going on, for example, the slang. There is a lot of slang but no explanation into what each word means leaving you very confused basically all the way through the book.
I also had difficulty believing the characters. Melody is a girl who is getting ready for her first 'bump' with professional 'bumper' Jondoe, her personality was okay, she was slightly relatable if only for the fact that she is like teens these days - trying to keep up with the new fashions. Harmony, on the other hand is unpenetrable and so pretty unlikeable as well. Harmony comes from 'Goodside', where all religions seem to have united and formed some sort of religious 'sect' like a very extreme Amish kind of thing - where all girls wear big dresses and veils and all boys are farmers. So Harmony comes over to Otherside, where condoms are illegal (yeah, that's right), to preach to her sister and ends up having sex with a guy just because he tells her that he is also religious.
But the worst thing of all is how extreme these beliefs are. Otherside are so baby mad that they have banned condoms and basically have pictures of pregnant teens all over with slogans saying things like "Get pregnant or you'll never be this pretty". While this is a possibility and does make you think about the future, it doesn't seem real enough and comes across as a sort of political statement. Now I'm not a hater of satire, but it has to be done well and McCafferty doesn't pull it off for me.
Harmony's religious sect seems like a generalization of religion and seems pretty stereotypical. I couldn't believe that this type of lifestyle could actually exist and so I didn't really like this area.
The one okay thing about this book is Zen, Melody's best friend and possible love interest. In a book with boring, one dimensional characters Zen's charismatic and friendly, but also wise personality really did something into the book,be he was just mediocre, I don't know, he was just the only good part of the book.
Overall, I finished it, but only just. I personally wouldn't recommend this, but I leave it up to you.