Monday, April 04, 2011

Bumped--Megan McCafferty

Title: Bumped
Author: Megan McCafferty
Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, expected release date April 26, 2011
Pages: 244 p.
Source: Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher
Compensation: None

Megan McCafferty's Bumped is a dystopian tale with a twist. There aren't zombies or natural disasters or government-sanctioned killing of children. But there's a lot of teen sex. A mysterious virus has wiped out the reproductive abilities of everyone over the age of 18. If our species is to survive, teenagers have to pick up the slack in the fertility business. This has caused a major rift in society. Half the population thinks teenagers should marry young and have babies young and fulfill "God's plans." The other half have taken baby-making to the flipside extreme and made it a profitable business. Teen girls are matched up with wealthy couples who want babies and are contracted to produce those babies ("deliveries" since the girls are dissuaded from using the word "baby"). The girls are then matched up with the most genetically attractive boys. Within this group there are the amateurs who have sex, get pregnant, and then look for a needy couple and the professionals who are contracted first and get paid lots of money. Getting pregnant is the coolest thing for teen girls to do but they have very little choice. Sex for pleasure is unheard of, protected sex is taboo if not downright outlawed, and girls who aren't interested in having babies are accused of being unpatriotic. At the heart of this story are two twin girls separated at birth. One belongs to the religious family camp and one is a professional surrogate. They are both secretly unhappy with the roles that were forced on them and looking for a way to break out.

McCafferty has written a funny, unique story of the control of teen sex taken to extremes. It's a quick light read on the surface, but so much more meaningful underneath. This is an excellent book discussion group selection. There are those out there that will totally miss the point and claim that McCafferty is glorifying or advocating teen sex. She's not. She's showing how dangerous it can be if we try to control too much and take choice entirely away from teenagers. They need to be a part of the decision making process too. Bumped is not about teen sex. The book barely even talks about the actual "act." It's all about the business and the outcome.

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Grace at Feeding My Book Addiction said...

Great review. I'm excited to get my hands on a copy of this book!

Liddy said...

Awesome review! This one looks really cool, I really am not a fan of the cover though. For me it's too plain and a little weird, however maybe it goes with the story.

Perhaps if you have time, would you mind checking out my blog?

We Heart YA said...

Thanks for the helpful review. Definitely my concern with a book like this would be whether or not it's exploiting sex simply to sell -- but it sounds like the author was very thoughtful in her treatment of teenage sex.

Btw, we are four YA writers and avid readers, and we just started a new blog to talk about YA literature. It's not so much book reviews as talking about different issues, trends, etc. We would love to see you there!

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