Friday, September 9, 2011

My Ramblings on Bumped by Megan McCafferty

By: Megan McCafferty
Release Date: April 2011
Author Website

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

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

My Ramblings:
Well, this is going to be one of those rare moments when I don't have a whole heck of a lot of nice stuff to  say about a book. This book, while it has received several great reviews and I heard good things about it from others, just really didn't do it for me. 

It started off bad when during the first several chapters I kept getting confused as to which sister was which. I was constantly checking back to the beginning of the chapter and even then I couldn't remember which one was Harmony- the Bible thumper or the professional humper? (bad joke) This was an issue that carried over to other parts of the story, I felt like everything was on the surface without a lot of explanation and therefore I didn't connect with the characters or plot. Both Melody and Harmony seemed like stereotypes instead of fully formed individuals and I just couldn't get invested in their journey or their struggles. Even the world around them seemed to suffer from a lack of explanation. Acronyms were thrown out without definition, slang was tossed out in conversation left and right and without any context and it was hard to follow. The intentional spelling changes were irritating instead of lending insight into the world these girls live in. For instance- seeing the word really repeatedly spelled "rilly" was frankly really annoying. 

I suspect that the author was trying to show the superficial world these girls are living in. That they have been reduced to breeding for profit and how horrifying that is, but I found myself unable to envision a world where this could be the reality, and therefore it wasn't horrifying at all, just laughable. I wish that there had been more context to it all. Where had the virus come from, what had been done to try and stop it, how did it get to the point where girls were treated like breeding stock? Without that background to back up the story I felt a bit lost. 

Lastly, this book falls into the trap that a lot of books seem to fall into- that of the cliff hanger ending. They are written and set up for sequels and trilogies and there is the risk of the book not being able to stand on it's own. That is how I felt when I hit the last page. There is no resolution. A spectacularly written first book in the series will do two things in my opinion: 

1. Come to a conclusion of some sort. It will have a satisfying ending that is enough all on it's own without needing the next book to finish the story. Of course there will be some loose ends to tie up, a promise of a next adventure, or some greater story that is waiting (for example- Harry Potter). 

2. That anticipation of what could possibly happen next will leave the reader wanting more. 

Bumped did neither of these things for me. There was no satisfaction to be found in the final pages of this book, it's all left for the sequel (or trilogy), Worse then that, I didn't even care about what was going to happen next. I have suspicions as to what choices Melody and Harmony will make next, but I'm not invested in their journeys in a way that when I closed the book I was instantly wanting more. 

Is there a possibility that I've totally missed the entire point of this book? Absolutely. Maybe there is some greater message that I missed out on, or maybe I'm trying to read too much into a book that is just supposed to be fun. Either one of those scenarios could be spot on. So if you've read Bumped and you are reading my ramblings on it and thinking "WTF? Did we even read the same book? This girl is crazy!" let me hear it in the comments. 

Until next time~ Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you. Bumped was the first (and so far only) 1 star review I have written. I also got them confused through most of the book. I think the world needed some more explanation too. It is probably my least favorite book of the year.