Bumped. McCafferty, Megan. 336 p. Balzer + Bray. 2011. Hardcover $16.99. ISBN 9780061962745.
Okay, this is one addictive read. Let me tell you, I've never been so psyched about my baby waking up in the middle of the night. Baby wants to nurse at 3am? SWEET! Time to read more Bumped!
The plot takes a while to really pick up steam, as McCafferty devotes the first third of the book to worldbuilding. Set a few decades from now, the world she's created is sort of dystopian lite. It isn't so different from our own, but a virus has rendered most people infertile after the age of 18, making the fertility of teen girls crucial for the human race's survival-- which, in turn, makes teen pregnancy the ultimate commodity and the ultimate fashion statement.
McCafferty's imagined future society is a smart, tongue-in-cheek commentary on contemporary pop culture taken to an extreme. With shows like MTV's "Sixteen and Pregnant" and our endless obsession with celebrity baby bumps in magazines, it's not so hard to believe society could someday be fueled by teen pregnancy. The introduction of futuristic slang is a bit heavy-handed, but once the setting and the lingo are firmly established, the story's pace takes off and doesn't stop.
I've seen some mixed opinions on the character development in this book, and maybe the characters do fall seemingly pre-defined roles. There's the everygirl overachiever, her religious fundamentalist sister, the handsome celebrity love interest, and the best friend who would make the perfect boyfriend... but you know, I really and truly like them all! Each character has an endearing quality that makes me want to keep reading and go along for the ride with them. The dual narration between the two main characters, a pair of long-lost twins suddenly reunited, is appealing, and McCafferty handles the two distinct voices effortlessly.
This book ends on quite a cliffhanger, and I'll definitely be eager to pick up the second book in the planned trilogy.
Look for Bumped on bookstore shelves next week, on April 26th. ARC for review provided by the publisher via NetGalley.