Bibliographic information: Bumped. Megan McCafferty. Balzer + Bray, 2011. $16.99. 323p. ISBN-13: 9780061962745.
Summary: It is the year 2036 and a widespread virus has made anybody over the age of eighteen infertile. Sixteen year old Melody and Harmony are twins who live very different lives. Melody has one of the most talked about bumped contracts there is, but she is reluctant to fall through with it. Whereas Harmony lives in Goodside, an incredibly religious community who have assigned marriages and does not believe in selling your body for profit. Melody has just landed her contract with the hottest bumping agent around, but her sister shows up and tries to talk Melody out of it and to side with God instead. While Melody is at school she leaves Harmony at her home. A call comes through for Melody about meeting with the hot bumping agent, but Harmony takes the call and acts as Melody taking her place. Harmony intends to ruin the contract, however, when she meets the hot bumping agent, her plan falls through and everything starts to fall apart for both Melody and Harmony.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 13 and up IL: 11 and up
Review: I never knew there were so many words for getting or being pregnant, but this book has enlightened me and improved my vocabulary on the subject, as well as, added a few words that McCafferty has created just for this story. This dystopian novel takes you to a society where people over the age of 18 become infertile, so children start young at trying to populate the world and thus the entire population made up of children under 18 years of age are fascinated with getting pregnant, or bumped as they like to call it. There are a lot of debatable questions that pop up within this story. The one that seems to pop out to me the most is the question of whether it acceptable or not to basically prostitute your children to keep the world populated? Are there not better ways to go about this? On this world it is like a competition among children to see who can have the most babies, which would be every parent’s nightmare. This is a story about love and the right to choose for yourself and not to be forced into conforming with society and what they believe is the right thing to do.
Readers’ annotation: It’s a world were only people under the age of 18 can have children and Melody just landed a contract with the hottest bumping agent out there. Then her ultra-religious twin sister shows up. Now what is Melody going to do?
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: Teens feel a lot of pressure from friends and family to do the right things, but sometimes the right thing for them is not always the same as with somebody else and they may end up doing something they did not want to do because of this peer pressure. One big issue that seems to be ever-present in high schools is sex. After reading this book I think teens would have a better understanding that they do not have to do what their peers tell them to do just because it may be the “cool thing to do.” We all want to be excepted, but sometimes it is okay to deviate from the norm and make our own choices, just like Melody and Harmony did.
Issues present: There are children as young as nine years old getting pregnant and receiving praise for her multiple births. Also, youngsters are forced into reproducing in order to upheld their societal dues. These can be objectionable topics that adults do not want their children reading about and getting poor ideas or choices from, however, the highlight of the story is Melody being able to choose her future and deciding she doesn’t have to have a child at such a young age when she is not ready.
Booktalk ideas: Compare Melody and Harmony – one lives in the city and another in the country with a ultra-religious family.
What is bumping and why is it important? – talk about bumping, it will attract attention.
Genre or subject: Science fiction: dystopian, pregnancy
Readalikes: Possession, Matched, The Giver, Wither (Chemical Garden)
Author’s website: http://www.meganmccafferty.com/
Awards: honors from the ALA and the NYPL, New York Best Selling Author
Reviews: Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-196274-5 ; Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/Bumped-Megan-McCafferty/pid=4587727
Why I chose it: I chose this book because it is incredibly strange, yet good. I read straight through it in one night and can’t wait to read the sequel, but the whole time I kept asking, “Really?!” A must read.