Saturday, November 12, 2011
Book Review: Bumped
Bumped is the first entry in Megan McCafferty’s teen book series set in the not-too-distant future. The novel reads like a cross between A Clockwork Orange and the script from Juno, although such a description is probably misleadingly flattering. Surely enough, McCafferty bombards readers with enough futuristic borderline-valley girl jargon to isolate a majority of those who fall outside of the book’s target demographic. But the real problem is the variation in voice. It’s not that the book bounces (bumps?) back and forth between Melody and Harmony on a chapter-by-chapter basis. It’s that the main characters seem to elude McCafferty herself, who is perhaps more worried about bringing her invented slang to life than she is the characters who speak it. This is especially true of Harmony, who reads very inconsistently and whose development throughout the story lacks authenticity. Melody fares much better, jelling into a solid character by the book’s genuinely interesting final third. In fact, given that the cliffhanger ending is less than tantalizing, the promise of enriched characters is the primary reason I remain open to reading the yet-to-be published sequel.