Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Cornucopia of Dystopia: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Imagine a world in which the future of the human race depends entirely upon teenagers. Imagine a world in which no one over the age of eighteen can have a child. Imagine what measures that world would go to in order to survive.

Melody has been groomed and polished into the perfect Surogette since the day she was adopted, and all the primping paid off when she was the first girl at her school to go pro. There's not a single blemish in her file -- except her twin sister Harmony. Surogettes are prized for their uniqueness, and if anyone finds out there's another girl in the world just like her, Melody can kiss her conception contract goodbye. Unfortunately, Harmony picks this perfect moment to show up at her door. Appearance aside, the two girls couldn't be more different. Harmony has grown up in Goodside, where the Church makes all the rules and girls marry at 13 rather than having premarital sex for money. But when a disastrous mix-up sends both their lives careening wildly out of control, the sisters may face the same fate after all.

Megan McCafferty is unflinching in her portrayal of an exploitative society run amok, thrusting readers headfirst into the thick of the tension. It is jarring to be dropped into this outrageous futuristic world, but before long readers will find themselves engrossed in the whirlwind of insanity. The novel alternates between two points-of-view: Melody and her twin sister Harmony. Their mental voices could not be more distinct, and yet the entire narration comes across in a quirky and robust voice.

Though the jargon is baffling for the first part of the novel, it serves to bring this world to life in an inescapable way. The connection between God and eroticism in Harmony's mind is disturbing, while the lingo of Melody's "breedy" world reflects the obsession with and vile economy of "bumping." It's hard to know which faction is the craziest. This world -- on both sides of the fence -- appears completely amoral, and there is something liberating about watching the chaotic "state of nature" take control. This kind of environment can only be sustained for so long before everything goes up in flames, and the climax of the novel is truly explosive. McCafferty never lets the reader be truly at ease, constantly reminding them of just how easily our own world could spin catastrophically out of control.

Bumped is a highly intelligent novel that takes a close psychological look at a culture of extremes, vividly illustrating the dangers of going too far in either direction. Though the answers may seem black and white, as the novel progresses readers will discover that neither heroine is quite that easily defined. McCafferty captures the gray area in this extreme world, and shows each sister's struggle with the rigid society in which she was raised.

This will undoubtedly be a controversial book, but it brings an original flavor to the dystopian market. Bumped will make readers uncomfortable, and it will make them think. McCafferty isn't afraid to take risks, and the result is something truly indescribable. Readers may love it or hate it, but they'll certainly never forget it.

Rating: 

Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way.

This novel will be released April 26, 2011. Click here to preorder Bumped by Megan McCafferty.




Come back this afternoon for my author interview with Megan McCafferty and giveaway of Bumped and Awaken!







18 comments:

The Lovely Getaway said...

uuu.... this is next on my netgalley tbr pile! thanks fr sharing your thoughts :) you can tell you really liked it, and that makes me want to read it that much more!

Diana

Lori said...

Fantastic review! I couldn't have said it better! This is definitely a love/hate book, but it seems like I see more people falling on the hate side =/ I loved it, though!

Lauren M said...

I definitely agree with you on the "original flavor" bit. Bumped was something totally new for the dystopian genre! I loved the humor and social commentary. Awesome review! :)

Rachel Cully said...

I have read several reviews for this book and they all have only made me want to read this book more and more. But until I read your review I wasn't totally sure what to expect. I love Megan McCafferty and her Jessica Darling series and I wanted to see how she handles a different genre. Im very excited now, this book seems very promising.

ArtsyBookishGal said...

This is the best review of BUMPED I've read so far. I like that you mention the psychological aspects of this book. I am anxious to read it!

Amy // amyismyfriend at aol dot com

JellyBear7 said...

Excellent review! I agree with your comment on the originality of the novel to the dystopian genre. I have read several reviews of Bumped and it was mostly positive. I wouldn't want to live this type of society and it would be really out of control (like you said in the review).

I can't wait to read this book soon, I hope.

Zareen said...

This review makes me even more excited to read Bumped! Dystopians are a new favorite genre of mine, and it's refreshing to see how many different paths an author can take with their novel.

Tiffany said...

I have been looking forward to this book for a while now. Every new review I read makes me want to read it more. I haven't done too much research on the book so I wouldn't get any spoilers, so I had no idea that it was such a controversial book. But knowing that now makes me want to read it even more! Thank you for the great review :)

dani_nguyen said...

You've got me really interested. Thanks for the thoughtful review. I can't wait to read this one.

Jennifer said...

I am really into dystopia these days. I have heard so much about BUMPED. I can't wait to read it.

What an interesting idea to have a world where the future depends on teenagers. And nobody over 18 can have a child.

I'm really looking forward to reading this and glad you loved it.

earlynerdspecial said...

Everything I'm reading about this book is very positive, but when I read it I didn't connect with it the way so many other bloggers are. I feel like I need to read it again and see if I'm missing something, or if it was maybe my own frame of mind at the time that influenced my reaction to the story.

Either way, though, your review is very good--well-structured and articulate.

TheGirlOnFire said...

Almost every review I have read about this book said sex basically. I had no idea it was about a society going off the wall. Thanks for a fresh perspective.

Vivien said...

I love reading controversial books. It's interesting to find out what side I choose. I can't wait to read this book to see where I stand.

Angela said...

Thanks for the review! I have read many and was not sure I wanted to read it but this review gave me a new perspective and I think I will definetely pick it up.

Gabrielle said...

I already wanted to read this book, but now I want to read it even more! You cleared up some of the questions that I had, and revealed some of the background information that makes the concept even more fascinating. Thanks!

Leila @ Within Pages said...

I actually saw this book available through the Goodreads First Reads and I entered to win to no avail; I was snagged by the synopsis and even more so from this review. And not to judge a book by its cover, but it scream unique.

Linda @ Most Important Letter said...

From what you say of this novel, it definitely will be a controversial book, like you said. I'm not completely sure if this book is for me, but I'll definitely keep it on my TBR list.

Mrs. V said...

I saw your last paragraph excerpted on McCafferty's site. I think it encompasses the book well.

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