Bumped & Thumped by Megan McCafferty
3 out of 5 stars
I saw these books in a "What to Read After The Handmaid's Tale" post on Bookriot and since that was my classic for September, I decided it'd be interesting to read these and compare it. There is a definite similarity and I'd be comfortable calling these a contemporary remake of Handmaid's. I would at least recommend them as a companion read for it. When I checked them out at the library, my 13 year old sister was with me and after reading the summary, she said that she would want to read them as well.
I'd almost call this a utopian series as opposed to dystopian. Or at least, it's trying to be. There's a strong sense of hope and "we're doing good things" instead of doom & gloom and "everybody is going to diiiieeee". ;) Bumped is set in 2036 America and like Handmaid's, a virus has caused the majority of the population to be infertile. In this case, most women over 18 years. Why is it always women? Why can't men have a problem for once? So this means the world must rely on teenagers to have babies. Controversial for sure but McCafferty did a really great job with it, in my opinion. I have to admit I've never read any of her other books, but I really enjoyed the writing in these two.
Melody and Harmony are 16 year old twins separated at birth. Melody has grown up to become a Professional Breeder (although she hasn't gotten a contract yet to actually procreate) and Harmony was raised in an incredibly strict Church life in "Goodside". Harmony's story is very old-fashioned-no technology, communal raising of the children, etc. Where Melody's story is all about the new slang and electronics of the future-MiVu's, contacts that you put in to connect to the Net and things like that. The lingo was a little annoying at first, she was trying a little too hard to push it.
Ventura Vida has the pee stick. "The Pro/Am has an image problem," she says. "We're just not sexy enough. I mean, rilly!"
But there are some interesting comparisons to present-day as well, just like Handmaid's. In the United States, deliveries of every color and creed are valued. It's shocking to think that the government would try to stick its nose in our ladyparts. I know a lot of people believe this story is meant to be a satire, but it had its serious moments to me. When the twins reunite, they are each carrying secrets and they must come to terms with them before their relationship can grow. The struggles they face are real even if the world isn't. Their confusion about what is right and wrong is heartfelt. And of course, there are boys and romance...it is a young adult novel after all. Melody's best friend, Zen, was a lot of fun and his interactions with Harmony were particularly nice to read. Ram, a "brother" in Goodside, has a major secret that he struggles with throughout.
And then there is Jondoe. The breediest man brand you could possibly ever want to bump with. This dude is a true pro and he loves every minute of it. And I know what you're thinking: "ew gross" right? Well, yeah at first. But this guy has more depth than his stud-for-hire commercials show. So give him a chance. But be sure to wear protection haha! (Sorry, I just had to go there!)
Moving on. Bumped focuses more on Melody's side of the story and you may feel like Harmony is getting the short end of the pee stick, but Thumped brings it more into balance and you really end up liking both girls quite a bit. Be sure to get both books at once though, because the first ends on a cliffhanger (someone gets pregged!) and you will want to know what happens. I don't know if I would want my 13 year old sister reading these, even though she read Twilight ages ago, but I think an older teen would have no problems with it. Just from the reviews, you might think the books are encouraging teen pregnancy, but after reading them I think you'll change your mind. It would absolutely be a good companion to The Handmaid's Tale, as I said above. In any case, they will get you talking.