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:
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.
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. 🙂
- “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.”