Last week, I read a book that I could not put down. Even when I paused to gasp or to ponder what I’d just read, I only stopped long enough to process my thoughts, and then I immediately went back to turning pages as fast as I could. I was stunned and excited, and it was fantastic.
I was not reading a Harry Potter book. I was reading Bumped, the latest novel by Megan McCafferty of Jessica Darling series YA fame. She sucked me in, took me on an incredible ride, and stopped at the edge of a cliff. But then she promised me a sequel, so we’re cool now.
Bumped is based on the premise that, sometime in the near future, HIV has been cured, but 75% of the world’s population suffers from the Human Progressive Sterility Virus (HPSV). Effectively, no one over the age of eighteen can conceive a child. Human fertility spans from puberty to the beginning of legal adulthood. For sixteen-year-old New Jerseyian Melody and her friends, life consists of school, activities, and the high-stakes teenage surrogate market. Wealthy adults pay big bucks in college tuition, cars, and six-figure signing bonuses to convince teen girls to conceive with hand-picked teen boys, carry the children to term, and turn them over immediately after birth. Melody has an enviable contract lined up and is just waiting for the parents to pick the boy she’ll “bump” with when the twin sister she never knew she had shows up on her doorstep. Harmony has grown up in a strict religious community, awaiting the day when she can fulfill her feminine promise of motherhood, but when she finds out about Melody, she finds an escape from her own secrets in the chance to save her sister from the sin of “pregging for profit.” Chaos ensues.