Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped is another YA sci-fi, and I found it much more satisfying than the last one I read ("Delirium"), if still falling far short of books like Feed or The Hunger Games.
In "Bumped", everyone over the age of 18-20 is infertile, which leaves the entire burden of propagating the human race on the shoulders of . . . the teenagers. Talk about your nightmare scenarios.
Its creative premise is the first thing that "Bumped" has going for it, and the second thing is all the interesting details that McCafferty uses to fill out her near-future world - most of it slightly advanced versions of technology like smart phones and social networking sites.
The third thing that really makes this novel work is that McCafferty chooses an interesting person for her heroine: the first girl to go pro as a surrogate. Making her heroine one of the leaders of social change (even though it's her parents who push their entrepreneurial vision on her) is what pushes the plot forward and allows for an ending that both feels like an ending and that promises interesting developments in the next book. Throw in an estranged identical twin who was raised in a repressive religious compound and you've got a story that ticks over nicely from chapter to chapter.
The religious twin is probably my least favorite part of the novel: at one point she ends up equating the physical perfection of the prize stud (teenage boys as well as girls are caught up in the reproduction-for-profit business) with her vision of Jesus, and I wasn't able to get any useful social commentary from that; it seemed like the author was just having fun with the girl's naiveté in a way that struck me as irreverent.
But overall this was a good read that followed through on its fascinating "what-if" speculative premise, and I'm curious to see where the series goes from here.
Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell


kate said...

Haven't read much from this genre but this brought to mind a recent NPR "summer reads" post, which features Matched (by Ally Condie) as a worthy follow-up to The Hunger Games.

Again, haven't read it myself, but thought I'd pass along the recommendation.

Jessica said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Kate!

I actually had "Matched" checked out from the library recently, but it didn't really grab me in the first few pages, so I returned it. (This might not have been the fault of the book; my request for it came through when I was in the middle of a few other books, so I probably didn't give it the chance it deserved.)