Author: Megan McCafferty
Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, expected release date April 26, 2011
Pages: 244 p.
Source: Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher
Megan McCafferty's Bumped is a dystopian tale with a twist. There aren't zombies or natural disasters or government-sanctioned killing of children. But there's a lot of teen sex. A mysterious virus has wiped out the reproductive abilities of everyone over the age of 18. If our species is to survive, teenagers have to pick up the slack in the fertility business. This has caused a major rift in society. Half the population thinks teenagers should marry young and have babies young and fulfill "God's plans." The other half have taken baby-making to the flipside extreme and made it a profitable business. Teen girls are matched up with wealthy couples who want babies and are contracted to produce those babies ("deliveries" since the girls are dissuaded from using the word "baby"). The girls are then matched up with the most genetically attractive boys. Within this group there are the amateurs who have sex, get pregnant, and then look for a needy couple and the professionals who are contracted first and get paid lots of money. Getting pregnant is the coolest thing for teen girls to do but they have very little choice. Sex for pleasure is unheard of, protected sex is taboo if not downright outlawed, and girls who aren't interested in having babies are accused of being unpatriotic. At the heart of this story are two twin girls separated at birth. One belongs to the religious family camp and one is a professional surrogate. They are both secretly unhappy with the roles that were forced on them and looking for a way to break out.
McCafferty has written a funny, unique story of the control of teen sex taken to extremes. It's a quick light read on the surface, but so much more meaningful underneath. This is an excellent book discussion group selection. There are those out there that will totally miss the point and claim that McCafferty is glorifying or advocating teen sex. She's not. She's showing how dangerous it can be if we try to control too much and take choice entirely away from teenagers. They need to be a part of the decision making process too. Bumped is not about teen sex. The book barely even talks about the actual "act." It's all about the business and the outcome.
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