This book was crazy good. The writing is just stunning at times. BUMPED is the story of twins-separated at birth, Melody and Harmony, in a near-future where a sterility virus makes it impossible to get pregnant past 18 years of age. Most of the novel hinges on a single day of mistaken identity, a day that changes both twins' lives. A premise like that sounds unmanageable. But everything was so well-written, so perfectly plotted and paced that I just found myself saying YES! That is exactly what would happen there, and, of course! The transformation of each of the girls is believable and the reader is along for the ride at each momentous point on the journey leading to each of the girls’ varying revelations and final destinations. A lot of dystopias coming out recently have been compared to Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale, but this is the only one that earns the comparison in my book, both in it’s complexity of theme and quality of writing. There’s this luminescence to Harmony’s voice as she experiences things in the world for the first time, especially after the reader has seen her so on-script for her religion at the start of the book.
On a side note: this book made me ache. While Harmony, the super-Jesus sister at the beginning probably sounds like a humorous stereotype to many not familiar with religious subculture, she rang all too true for me with my fundamentalist Christian background. Being in her head as she spouts verses at her sister was almost painful to read, painful to embody in my head for the space of the book. At the same time, it also made her transition all the more believable. Let me tell you (and I went to a Super Holy Bible College), Christians are thinking the most about sex. The thing which we were commanded NOT to have (though most found secret ways to get it anyway) becomes the thing we were most obsessed with.
It’s why I got married at 19 years old to my first ever boyfriend, why the first kiss of my entire life was on my wedding day, up there at the altar in front of everyone after saying our vows. So yes, the scriptures that come to Harmony’s mind throughout the book, even as circumstances change and she begins to see those scriptures in new light, felt very, very real. Because of this bias probably, I was far more moved by her story than Melody’s, which was interesting enough in its own right—-the girls just have such different things at stake, at least in this first book. I can't wait to see what comes next for each of the sisters. This book was everything I’d hoped it would be, and that's rare, usually I get anticipation-itis and then the book disappoints. Not so here. Five stars.
Thanks to NetGalley and Balzer + Bray for this ARC for review!
BUMPED releases April 26th!