Novel Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

This book had my interest years ago when it first came out in 2011. However, I had a list a thousand books deep. When I got back into reading again, I decided to look for some of the older books on my list that I’d yet to get to. Lucky for me, I happened to find the Kindle edition of this book at my local library. As usual, the blurb before the review:

Bumped Cover - Megan McCaffertyWhen 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.

_____________________

I just come out and say it. Overall, it was an interesting read. I started it not too long after finishing Christine Feehan’s novel. Since I wrote the review 3 days ago, I have to say I cruised through this book fairly quickly. I didn’t stop my life to finish it, as I did with my Kresley Cole reads, but I didn’t let this book linger either.

I found the premise compelling. It reminded me a lot of the Handmaiden’s Tale that’s on Hulu. Society is plagued by infertility with only a few individuals able to keep humankind going. In this case, it’s teenagers. Everything that is held as taboo when it comes to teen sex and pregnancy today is glorified in McCafferty’s book. I imagine quite a few individuals may take offense to this. In a dystopian world, I can see how values change. What would we do as a society if we knew that no other babies would be introduced into our lives if not for teens? Throughout history, select individuals have been exploited and here it’s no different. This book takes an opportunity to challenges what is right and wrong.

One critique I find common is in regards to starting a book in the place. It’s often encouraged to start it right in the middle of the action. I think McCafferty did that. However, she wasn’t as successful in doing it as she could have been. Her book started sometime after the twins met. In doing so, there was a lot of backtracking to catch us up with the story. There was also backtracking when it came to other parts of the story. For me, it was an organizational nightmare. I’ll give you an example, and this is a bit of a spoiler.

The first words in the book are “I’M SIXTEEN. PREGNANT. AND THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON on the planet.” It takes 5 chapters to find out that she’s not pregnant. Instead, she’s just trying out padding that makes her look pregnant. To me, it’s a cheap trick to create a fake and extremely forced surprise. There were also vague references to significant events that happened in the past. I know one reference was reviewed early in the book and mentioned a few times. I didn’t get the details of whatever it was until the book was probably 75% or more finished. To be honest, the reveal wasn’t that spectacular. The author could have just come out with the details when it was first mentioned. Another reference was mentioned maybe about mid-point and near the end, but I never got the details. I imagine it’ll be revealed in the next book. I don’t expect it to be worth the wait.

One aspect of the book I found weird and a bit annoying was the lingo. I know the author tried to be fresh with the talk, but it came off as forced. I’d even say unoriginal and maybe even cliche, which seems a bit of an oxymoron when trying to develop a new way of saying something. For example, she has MiTunes in lieu of iTunes. In fact, everything technology base began with a Mi instead of an i, which isn’t exactly original at all, just a cheap ripoff.

For the most part, I’ll say the storyline was good, but the presentation could have used a bit of work.

Character-wise. Both Melody and Harmony were seriously flawed, but isn’t that what makes great characters? Each had their own sense of righteousness and naivety. Melody was wrapped up in this grand idea of becoming a pro breeder. Her whole life revolved around boosting her credentials. Yet deep down, she seemed a bit appalled by the idea. Harmony was a bible thumper set on saving the world… but mostly her sister. Even as she’s condemning and spouting righteousness, she rebels against the life chosen for her. I can’t say either character was endearing. However, they were fascinating. I’m curious to follow their stories further. Not just the twins, but also Jondoe, Zen, and Ram (who had more of a cameo appearance than anything).

I give this book a 3.5/5. My library has a digital copy of Thumped. So I’m off to read the Kindle version now. 🙂

Favorite Lines:

  • “Her egg was blasted by the fastest sperm ever recorded!”
  • “And we just want to give our thanks once more for returning our potent son home to us, even if it’s just a short while.”
  • “I’m starting to agree with the ranters who think the world is overpopulated with the wrong people.”
  • “Hey, there’s nothing wrong with umping when you’re bumping. Raimundo and I went at it like crazy for the full forty-two and my first pregg didn’t come out all cock-knocked in the head.”

Children’s Review: Trapped in a Video Game By Dustin Brady

This is definitely one of the coolest books that I’ve read. If you’ve ever played a first-person shooter, you could probably relate to this game. Before I get into the details, how about we start with the blurb.

Trapped in a Video Game Cover-minKids who love video games will love this first installment of the new 5-book series about 12-year old Jesse Rigsby and his wild adventures inside different video games.

Jesse Rigsby hates video games – and for good reason. You see, a video game character is trying to kill him. After getting sucked in the new game Full Blast with his friend Eric, Jesse starts to see the appeal of vaporizing man-size praying mantis while cruising around by jet pack. But pretty soon, a mysterious figure begins following Eric and Jesse, and they discover they can’t leave the game. If they don’t figure out what’s going on fast, they’ll be trapped for good!

Fun, relevant, and action-packed Trapped in a Video Game is the perfect book to get kids off screens and into books! Included in this edition is a bonus More to Explore section that teaches computer programming concepts through a fun game.

______________________

Reena’s Review

The book gets into the video game right away, starting with the Tutorial. Like all tutorials, it’s a bit slow. After the tutorial the action really starts and Jesse gets thrown into a real video game.

The contrast between the main character and his sidekick, Eric, were awesome. You had main character, Jesse, who was a real stick in the mud. He was all work and no play, for the most part. Jesse had to be dragged into doing anything new or exciting. Then you have the sidekick Eric. He was ready for an adventure. I really liked Eric. Life is meant to be experienced, and he definitely wasn’t afraid to hop into the fun and games.

About halfway through the book, it started to remind me of Jumanji. I haven’t seen the old Jumanji, but I’d say this is similar to what Jumanij would be if it were a video game instead of a board game, like the first movie. Only this time, the game is set in cities around the United States instead of in some jungle. It had a nice feel to it and gave kids a little bit of American geography. Not a lot… just enough to identify some main landmarks around the US.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is it had no real conclusion. I read that this book is meant to be a 5-book series, which might explain why. As for this book, it closed out the main character’s dilemma, sure. The main character also experienced growth. However, the book definitely had an unfinished feel to it. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but rather a “to be continued.”

Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. It was full of laughs. I give it a 5/5. I’m off to read book two, which I hope will wrap up everything a bit more nicer.

Corban’s Review

This is my opinion. I like the book because it has adventure, action, and it’s funny. The characters are very interesting and strange. I think it was cool and interesting. The setting was so nice, and it wasn’t like others books. I don’t know books like this one, like getting sucked up in to a game.

The characters were Mark, Jesse, and Erik. Mark was mysterious and strange like how did he survive 20 years with out food. Jesse was a usual kid. He went over to kids houses and usual things. Erik was fun and mean at the same time, like the time he pushed Jesse off a cliff. They were a team, so getting pushed wasn’t so bad.

The setting was in a game. So, it made sense. Like the giant praying mantis and giant crocodile. I also kinda want to be in it to. I rate this book 3 out of 5. I suggest this book if you like action, adventure, and funny things.

*This book was provided to us through Netgalley.