Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Posted October 11, 2014 by Tara in Review /// 1 Comment

Review: Bumped by Megan McCaffertyBumped by Megan McCafferty
Series: Bumped #1
Published by Harper Collins on 2011-04-26
Genres: Dystopian, YA, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased from the Nook store

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job. Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.

This was an interesting book. It brings the smart, sassy voice of Megan McCafferty (author of the Jessica Darling quintet) to the dystopian genre, resulting in a novel that reads like a futuristic take on realistic fiction.

In Melody’s world, fertile teenage girls are a commodity. Melody is caught up in the popular world of bumping and pregging so that teens can provide children to infertile, childless couples. Her parents have basically raised her to be the perfect surrogate so she can take a big payout and afford college. The world McCafferty crafts is dystopian, but it’s a lighthearted one full of colorful slang, powerful pop culture, and lots of sarcasm.

Harmony, on the other hand, is also a unique character. Raise on a religious commune, she is forced to marry young to have her own children early. She is focused on being Godly and doing her duty, but she is understandably naive. When she learns of her twin sister, Harmony seeks Melody so she can saver her soul — at least, that’s how she presents the case at first. Harmony’s exposure to the wider world has a significant effect of her and I think this was the most interesting part of the novel.

I bought this book on my Nook years ago and never read it, so I picked it up for my 2014 Cleaning Out My E-Reader challenge. Bumped came out before the the dystopian phase hit full-force, so it feels different from a lot of the novels in the genre. Different doesn’t necessarily mean better or worse, just different. To borrow from 10 Things I Hate About You: I wasn’t overwhelmed, I wasn’t underwhelmed, I was just whelmed. There was some interesting material here, certainly in terms of body politics, the policing of girls’ sexuality, the effects of consumerism, and religious values, but the overall story was not entirely memorable once I put the book down.


I probably won’t be reading the sequel, Thumped, because I’m just so busy with school. By the time I could pick up the next book I’m sure I will have have completely forgotten Bumped. It was an enjoyable read with a strong voice and interesting themes, but I wish I had picked it up three years earlier before reading more memorable novels. If you like McCafferty’s books and biopolitics, it might be a worthy read. Otherwise, you might want to pass in favor of something like The Handmaid’s Tale or Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. 


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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One response to “Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

  1. I’m glad to see your review. I wasn’t completely enamoured with the book either, although it gave me some interesting thoughts. Frankly, I thought Thumped was marginally better, but I can hardly remember any details about the books so I guess I’m in the same boat as you.

    I was quite shocked, though, when I read a review the other day when someone said she couldn’t stand “reading about so many pregnant teens, gross!” – I was just dumbstruck that someone could miss the point so vastly…

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