Friday, July 22, 2011
BUMPED by Megan McCafferty: Sophia's Afterglow
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.
This is the only book of 2011 that I read in ONE NIGHT - during a head cold, to boot(ies). And it's one of the books I glow about as a writer, more than a reader.
There have been mixed reviews and I saw why instantly: BUMPED started as a riff of M.T. Anderson's FEED, a dystopian pregnant with future-teenslang. (yeah I had to throw that in there...won't be the last). But once I adjusted to the language, the pages just about turned themselves faster and faster - giving credence to the writing tip that a good ending can save an otherwise lacking inception.
The second writing lesson I gobbled up like pickles and ice cream (it's getting worse, but that's because I've been up all night reading this book): expert reversals. By the end, McCafferty hit a reversal with every chapter, reminding me of the Audrey Hepburn movie Charade, famous for an every-15-minute name-changing Cary Grant. By the end, you're left wondering, "So is it, or not?!?" Which means only one thing: must get sequel! THIS is a true example of plot craft.