Jan 26, 2014

Review: Bumped

Before I get into my feelings on Megan McCafferty's dystopia Bumped, I'm working at the library right now and the teens here just taught me a neat trick. If you smash your phone's touchscreen, something many people are prone to do, you can put tape over the crack and the touchscreen will still function.  As someone who fears breaking touchscreens, this is fantastic information.

Moving along.

Bumped. A dystopia where teen pregnancy is a blessing, even encouraged by the adult population.  Why? Because due to a virus, practically no one over the age of 18 can procreate. As soon as a teen girl becomes fertile, she is to get pregnant ASAP and hand over the baby to the highest bidder. Teens are even hired as "pros" and essentially pimped out for their highly esteemed genetic qualities. Within this universe, there lies a religious community who is against this way of life, preferring their infants to be born into families. Identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth, each living in a different area.  When they meet, the entire "bumping" system is set to come crashing down around them.

If I didn't already know this before, I certainly know it now. I am officially tired of the dystopia trend.  Having thoroughly enjoyed McCafferty's Jessica Darling series, I assumed that I would enjoy her dystopia.  I was wrong.

There's a chance that my overexposure to dystopias is what caused me to dislike this novel so much, especially because there are positives to consider.  For instance, the reader is immediately thrown into the universe. There's no long explanation of how the nation got to this point (as evident in dystopias like The Hunger Games and Divergent - where it's even more out of place as their first person narration should deem the background unnecessary).  Instead, the Bumped reader dives right into the strange lingo and new concepts and must fill in the blanks as they progress through the story.

Unfortunately, the plot not only tends to run in place to fill up pages, but also relies on cliche characterizations of religious people to forward the action. It was a struggle for me to get through the entire novel and I think I may just read a summary of the sequel (because even when I dislike a series book, I still need to know what happens).

If you're interested in a dystopia that focuses on reproductive rights, I would suggest that you instead try Neal Shusterman's Unwind or Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

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