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Bumped by Megan McCafferty says that a virus made everyone older than 18 infertile. The book though opens with Melody explaining that the virus infected 75% of the population. Regardless, it's enough of a problem that teenagers are valuable commodities being the only ones who can keep the human population going.
Bumped is told in alternating voices by twin sisters Melody and Harmony who were separated at birth and adopted by very different families. Melody has gone pro and will "bump" with a specially selected Johndoe for enough money to see her through college and probably beyond. Harmony, though, was raised on the "Goodside" a hyper conservative, Bible thumping commune where teens are married young so they can have their child and raise it together before it's too late. Harmony though has left the compound to bring her sister to God before it's too late.
Bumped is a dystopian in the style of A Clockwork Orange and has two parallel slangs, those used by mainline society teens and that used by the Goodside teens. I didn't find either slang particularly hard to follow but Harmony's seemed better developed and more natural.
With two protagonists carrying the story, each telling her story in first person, both need distinct, believable voices. Here is where Bumped falls short. Melody though self described as smart, beautiful and responsible never demonstrates any of these attributes. At a time when she's expecting the call she neglects to check her messages and doesn't take her phone with her. The last two thirds of the book are only possible because of her laziness and stupidity.
Harmony, though, does manage to carry her half of Bumped. Though presented as the villain or foil of the book, she evolves into a well rounded (no pun intended) and sympathetic character.
Although there is talk of sex and teenagers being paid to have sex I think Bumped could be used in a high school English class. It has themes and talking points that would work well at the same time that Lord of the Flies and The Scarlet Letter are being taught.
eGalley received from NetGalley.
Comment #1: Tuesday, June, 28, 2011 at 22:00:52
GASP! How did you get this from NetGalley??? I would love to read this. Nice review.
Comment #2: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 22:25:20
I'm as surprised as you are. I heard that Bumped was up for review at NetGalley from Pam of Bookalicious and Laura of I'm Booking It. They sort of double dog dared me to request it. So I did and to my surprise I was allowed to download a copy. I'm surprised because I don't specialize in YA and usually get rejected for the popular YA titles.
I'm glad you enjoyed my review.