I had ridiculously low expectations for Bumped, thanks to a number of reviews that absolutelytore this book apart and snarled at the ripped-up page-y mulch. But hey, I was after an easy read that I didn’t have to concentrate much on and so I ended up with it in my hand. I admit that my headache-y, lazy mood may have helped me to smile tolerantly at its faults, like the mother of a misbehaving toddler, but I still ended up having a good time regardless.
Plot summary – A virus has swept the world, making everyone over the age of eighteen infertile. Teenagers are now the most prized members of society and would-be-parents desperately bid for ‘conception contracts’ with the prettiest, healthiest and cleverest girls – cash, college tuition and liposuction in exchange for a baby.
Sixteen-year-old Melody has scored an amazing contract with a rich couple. And she’s been matched with one of the hottest ‘bumping’ partners in the world – the genetically flawless Jondoe. But her luck is about to run out.
She discovers she has a sister – an identical twin. Harmony has grown up in a strict religious community and believes her calling is to save Melody from her sinful intentions. All Melody wants is to meet Jondoe and seal the deal – but when a case of mistaken identity destroys everyone’s carefully laid plans, Melody and Harmony realise they have much more than DNA in common.
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.