I loved Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series, so I was excited to hear she had begun a new series, Bumped. Then I went on Amazon and read some advance reviews. Although some liked it, people were disappointed; they had trouble connecting to the characters and the slang. A lot of reviewers compared it to Handmaid’s Tale.
Since I had never read Handmaid’s Tale I decided to tackle it first. And I can now say there are definitely some similarities. Both novels are about young women who must reproduce soon or risk being shunned by society. These women are in situations where they can’t be with the man they love, and were they to have a baby it would immediately be taken away to be parented by someone else. Both novels question both the nature of motherhood and freedom itself.
But that’s where the similarity ends. Bumped is marketed as a young adult novel, and rightly so. There are no adult characters for the reader to relate to; all the adult characters are superficial baby-snatchers who encourage teens to procreate at an early age, without regard for their safety or emotional well-being. The story takes places some time after 2025, and a virus has spread which has made anyone over the age of eighteen unable to have kids.
Because of this teenagers must shoulder the burden of propagating the human race and everything from their slang to their clothing is designed to put them in this mindset. One thing I had trouble with is how completely the teens in the novel had bought into this. Sure, the future of the human race is dependent upon them, but most teenagers are naturally rebellious. If adults wanted them to have sex and babies, wouldn’t they just naturally be against doing so? Also, I’m not sure what sort of statement this book is making about adoptive parents; it almost seems to imply that the bond isn’t as strong if the parents aren’t a blood relative.
Whatever. These are picky and perhaps unfair points. Overall, I liked the book and I thought the Amazon reviews were a little harsh. McCafferty created an intricate new society in this book and I marvel at her creativity. The action snowballs towards the end, and I was definitely kept guessing. Yet I thought the two main characters, Harmony and Melody, stayed true to how established them to be while still giving them the ability to grow. I wish the perspective of people who were trying to adopt had been represented in the book as well, but that’s not where the author decided to go with the story.
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