Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

From Goodreads:
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until 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 religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her 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. 

There is so much to like about this book: a unique, humor-filled satire/dystopia that can spark lots of conversation about a controversial issue: teen pregnancy.

But there is so much that frustrated me (and many other readers) too. First of all, I'm not the first person to mention the difficulty in figuring out the vernacular of the world McCafferty created. Most of it was easy to figure out (pregg, breedy, neggy, bump) but what bothered me were the words and concepts that were difficult to pick up on due to the author's lack of explanation or context. What the heck is MiNet? MiChat? 2Vu? As part of McCafferty's world building, I thought it was her responsibility to fully bring us into that world. There wasn't enough context for the reader to completely figure these things out.

And don't get me started on the ridiculous ending. It wasn't even an ending. I couldn't even call it a cliffhanger. The book needed at least one to three more chapters to have ended in a way that would satisfy readers while still setting us up for the next book. It almost feels like authors are getting lazy because they know they have a three book deal so they can just can continue the story in an upcoming book. That really irritates me. Even though readers know there's another book coming, authors still should feel a sense of responsibility to end a book appropriately. This book did not end in such a way.

Does that mean I won't read the next book? Does it mean that I wasn't invested enough in the story to feel the need to keep going with the series? Not in the slightest. I did enjoy this story. I enjoyed the conversation it will spark. I enjoyed watching the development of the characters. My criticisms are more frustrations than feelings of outright anger. I don't have to love every book I read to appreciate its literary merit. I will definitely be adding the second book to my TBR pile when it comes out!

ETA: I had a day to think about it, and I feel bad for saying I think authors are getting lazy. I highly respect and admire the work that authors and publishers do and I don't want anyone to think I feel otherwise. I'm 100% positive Megan McCafferty and her editor and publisher had their reasons for ending this book the way they did. I'm only writing my feelings based on my frustration that the book felt incomplete. To me, even if a book is part of a series, it should still be able to stand on its own somewhat. I felt like this book was missing some sort of closure. Even when books end in cliffhangers, there is some tiny bit of closure (however small it might be) to let reader feel satisfied until the next book. I wasn't feeling any sort of closure happening here at the end of this book. If anything, even more conflicts arise at the end, while leaving old conflicts still up in the air.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Published: April 26, 2011 by Balzer & Bray
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopia
Audience: YA
Format: E-galley acquired through NetGalley


  1. I agree with quite a few of the things you pointed out even though I did enjoy it. I just finished it last night and am thinking it over a bit before writing up my review. :)

  2. I agree with a lot of your points. I definitely needed more closure. I for one, won't be getting book 2 a shot. I didn't enjoy this one enough to pick up the next one unfortunetely. I almost feel like the ending was left that way just to try to make me pick up the next even if I didn't like it. Too bad it didn't