cover image Bumped


Megan McCafferty, HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-196274-5

McCafferty proves that dystopias don't have to be dreary to be provocative. A virus has left everyone over the age of 18 unable to procreate, making teenagers the only viable "breeders" and spawning a pregnancy-obsessed future society. Chapters alternate between the perspectives of two 16-year-old twins, separated at birth: deeply religious Harmony, raised in god-fearing, vaguely Amish "Goodside," and Melody, whose adoptive parents have been crafting her into the perfect Reproduction Professional or RePro, sought by wealthy, barren couples. McCafferty (the Jessica Darling series) has enormous fun in her first YA novel: tweens, aka "nubie-pubies," try on Preggerz FunBumps, designed to mimic pregnancy; expectant teens munch on Folato Chips for folic acid boosts; and slang like "fertilicious," "terminal," and "barren" is used with abandon. Yet she also raises challenging questions about individuality and morality. There's a predictable though entertaining identity switch, and readers must wait until the next book to learn if these girls end up with the lives (and guys) they want. The book's carefree sexuality and exploitation makes it uncomfortable, scandalous, and not easily forgotten—there's little doubt that's exactly what McCafferty is going for. Ages 14–up. (May)