As you can probably tell from my previous review history, I’m not one to pass up a YA dystopian. In fact, I actively seek them out. Today I’m going to talk about a series I particularly enjoy, the Bumped series, by Megan McCafferty. I read Bumped, the first book in the series, around the time Bookmarks began, actually, and recently came across the news of a sequel. I was intrigued . . . Bumped had seemed like a standalone novel to me. I immediately called my favorite indie bookstore and had them put it on hold for me, then realized that their holds room would be closed by the time I could get there. Long story short, it was very dramatic, but I eventually procured a lovely hardcover copy of Thumped, an excellent sequel with one of the best follow-up covers I’ve ever seen. Also those titles.
Anyway. The world of Bumped isn’t that far from our own: a dystopian society in which teenagers are aggressively encouraged to ‘bump,’ aka have as many babies as they can and then sell them to adoptive adults. This practice is necessitated by a worldwide plague that causes sterilization sometime between ages 18 and 21. America’s solution to the problem was simply to glorify sex and reward pregnancy from the earliest age possible. Twins Melody and Harmony grew up separated in this world, Melody being prepped for the highest profile of clients and Harmony being raised to marry at thirteen and live in her religious settlement, Goodside.
Melody and Harmony meet and explore the culture each could’ve been raised in, and neither of them is sure they like what they see. Though neither of them had thought to seriously question the worlds they grew up in, they show each other some of the ostentatious problems they hadn’t noticed before.
I loved Bumped, and even though Thumped could’ve had a less bland ending (not really a spoiler, right?), it was also a worthwhile book. I really like books that have obviously been written to get a message across, as was the case with Bumped and Thumped. They’re almost a political statement rather than an actual series, considering such issues as [kinda spoiler] contraception and reproductive rights and religious corruption. [end kinda spoiler] They were very thoughtful books and, in my opinion, fantastic for school projects (my independent reading unit centered around Thumped this year) because they deal with a wide range of current issues and are also a good read. If you’re looking for a dark dystopian like Divergent or The Hunger Games you might be a little bit disappointed, but if you’re happy to sit back and wade through some girl talk and futuristic pregnancy dialect (the language of the book is “for seriously janked,” as they’d say in the book), it’ll most likely be worth your time.
I’ve heard Megan McCafferty has other great books out there, and I’m definitely looking forward to searching through her entry in my library’s catalogue.