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Literature / Bumped

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Bumped is a 2011 novel by Megan McCafferty. When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents must pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, 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 from which she seeks to escape.

A sequel titled Thumped was released in 2012.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Ventura Vida, Melody's rival for president of their school club, who often makes snide comments about Melody's being the only non-pregnant girl in the club.
  • Ambiguously Brown: A security guard at the hospital, who has slanted green eyes, brown skin, and a blond Afro. This is said to be very common among older people.
  • Arranged Marriage: In Goodside, girls are married off at thirteen. Harmony broke off her first engagement; at sixteen, marrying Ram is considered her last chance at a respectable life.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Harmony often quotes Bible verses.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted with cases like Melody's friend Malia, who had a mental breakdown after her child was taken away, or with Harmony, whose pregnancy by Jondoe opens up a whole new can of worms - hopefully to be addressed in the sequel.
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  • Baby Factory: Teenage girls are encouraged to have as many babies as possible.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: At twelve years old, Melody and her best friend Zen promised that if no one else turn up, they would conceive a child together. Zen still takes the promise seriously, but Melody laughs it off.
  • Cult: Harmony is part of the Goodside cult, which is more or less like future Amish.
  • Death by Childbirth: Melody's friend Shoko narrowly escapes this fate. Melody is horrified, not only by almost losing her friend, but by Shoko's complete indifference afterward.
  • Everyone Can See It: Melody and Zen. Shoko teases her about making him her "everythingbut"; Harmony mistakes him for Melody's sperm donor, and even her parents are suspicious.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: Harmony answers the video phone for a sleeping Melody and is mistaken for her by Lib, Melody's Large Ham of an agent, who called to hook up his client with sperm donor Jondoe. Harmony, a sheltered country girl overwhelmed by Lib's pushiness and Jondoe's beauty, ends up impersonating Melody almost despite herself.
  • Future Slang: All slang relates to pregnancy or reproduction, like "ectopic" meaning "lame", "terminated" meaning annoyed, and "pregg" meaning baby. Teenage girls who get pregnant for profit are called "Surrogettes," a portmanteau of surrogate and (presumably) nymphettenote .
  • Hidden Depths: Jondoe reveals to Harmony that he has his own Christian beliefs, and that he chose his profession out of a genuine wish to help would-be parents. Those depths get even deeper when Harmony eavesdrops on a conversion which implies Jondoe may have been lying all along.
  • Holier Than Thou: Harmony, though it is revealed that she is seen as a sinner in Goodside for not wanting to consummate her marriage.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Zen, an expert debater, first made friends with Melody because she argued back to him instead of giving in to his persuasion like everybody else.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Harmony and Ram, which made it extremely awkward when they became engaged.
  • Mandatory Motherhood: Most teenagers are paid top dollar to have children for wealthy couples after the virus makes anyone over the age of 18 infertile. In fact, any form of birth control is illegal. Motherhood is celebrated by everyone, with girls being told that they are born to breed and are even able to wear "practice" bumps as accessories.
  • Mirror Character
    • Harmony and Melody discover this gradually throughout the book, as the "innocent Church girl" gets pregnant by her sister's intended sperm donor and the "perfect Surrogette" decides to remain a virgin, both trying to follow their hearts and make their own choices instead of following orders.
    • In a broader view, Goodside and Otherside - they seem like polar opposites (religion vs. science, arranged marriage vs. free love), but the scary thing is that neither of them takes individual choices much into account.
  • Multi-Ethnic Name: Almost everybody. Zen Chen-Chavez, Shoko Weiss, the Ruiz-Lees.
  • Runaway Bride: Harmony escapes Goodside on the morning after her wedding, hoping that converting Melody will make up for the fact that she cannot face living with Ram.
  • Their First Time: Harmony blissfully gives it up to Jondoe.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Melody scoffs that their birth mother must have been insane.
    "No, it's the third sister, Symphony. And I've got two others at home called Rhythm and Tempo."
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Melody's adopted parents have raised her to be the "perfect" Surrogette: athletic, creative, intelligent and ambitious. She finds the pressure difficult to endure.


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