Monday, August 29, 2011

Megan McCafferty

rating: 5 out of 10 "books"

I loved Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series so when I heard she was finally coming out with a new book I was thrilled. The only problem is that when you love a series so much, it’s always a little hard to get into anything completely different by an author. Bumped is exactly that. While the writing style and voice of the characters in Bumped is the same as that of the series I know and love, the storyline couldn’t be any more different. Harmony and Melody are twin sisters, separated at birth and completely unaware of each other until their sixteenth birthdays. Adopted by different parents, both girls grow up in completely different environments; Melody in a society where becoming a RePro (professional birther) is a smart move, and Harmony in a church settlement where girls are matched with their future husbands by the church council before they may even think about having intimate relations. In a world where a virus has caused men and women over the age of 18 to become infertile, it is up to teenage boys and girls to produce offspring for aspiring parents. While babies have long been sold off by amateurs (teen couples actually IN a relationship), the newest trend is to go pro and sign a contract with an infertile couple through an agent. This couple in turn has the right to find a partner for the teenage boy or girl to reproduce with, oftentimes to try to find matches that represent the infertile man or woman in appearance. This way, the offspring could actually pass as their own. When Harmony ditches the farm to unite with her long lost sister, Melody is hardly ecstatic. Things go even more south when a case of mistaken identity lands Melody’s gorgeous contracted RePro match in the company of Harmony. But as the story looms close to an end, what each sister may have thought they always wanted may not be so. While not exactly a twist ending, things do not turn out the way Bumped has you thinking it will at the start. Each character goes through some major revelations and as different as Melody and Harmony may seem (to the reader as well as each other), by the end of the book they do not seem so different (again to the reader as well as each other). The events in the story end up bringing the sisters closer than they ever could have imagined.

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this book. While I do love the writing (and the premise of the story is kind of cool), I feel like there are some holes in the plot. If people are unable to have children after a certain age, why don’t they just have them younger when they are still able to? It’s not like it hasn’t been done before. Back in early times sixteen/seventeen wasn’t too early for girls to have children. Even thirteen wasn’t too early. People were married as early as that age. So what’s to stop this futuristic society from simply reverting back to some of those early day practices? At least that way, the mother’s children would be her biological children. And I know that McCafferty was trying to be futuristic with her use of slang in the book, but I found it somewhat annoying. Half the time I didn’t understand what the slang was meant to imply, especially when it was then used in a different context. As much as I love Megan McCafferty, overall I was a bit disappointed with Bumped. Apparently there is supposed to be a sequel to this book. Maybe the next one will be a bit better.

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