Married to Ram and living in religious Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once loved and believed in. But she can't seem to forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell in love with under the strangest of circumstances.
To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything she always wanted: a big, fat contract and a coupling with Jondoe, the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.
Cursed by their own popularity, the girls are obsessively tracked by their millions of fans, who have been eagerly counting down the days to their "Double Double Due Date." Without a doubt, they are two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and there's only one thing they could do that would make them more famous than they already are:
Tell the truth.
It took me a few pages to get back into Megan McCafferty's world where pregnant teens reign. Once I remembered the slang: "pregg", "dose," and "FunBumps," I settled in to enjoy the end of the twins' story. As always, McCafferty's humor is a highlight. In referring to her school bus, Melody says, "The Bumpmobile's horn is notoriously obnoxious. We call it the waterbreaker." The author has considered every detail and how it contributes to the atmosphere.
Surprisingly, Harmony became my favorite character. She spent much of the first novel speaking only in Biblical verse, but her time on the Otherside has changed her. She has begun to question the rules of the devout community she lives in. While she never loses her belief in God, she wonders if the rigid rules are necessary. She says, "I thought maybe, just maybe, I could find someone else here who sought a different relationship with God. I've only recently begun to accept that I'm the sole doubter among us." Her progress throughout the series feels like a realistic (if slightly exaggerated because of circumstances) development of faith.
Thumped is a book you will read in one sitting, urged along by the short chapters and rapidly unfolding plot.
All the loose ends get tied up. Hooray for series that wrap up in two books!
I really didn't understand the meaning of Melody faking her pregnancy. It just made it difficult, to be able to get out of the problem that they got themselves into. But deeper into the book, as the mission is revealed to the reader, you begin to realize how smart they have been. I thought that this was such a clever thing done by Megan MacCafferty. I really hope that she uses this talent in future books she will hopefully write.
I still think that it is an issue with Zen and Melody's love. Because they grew up in a world where intercourse was encouraged, they probably didn't realize that it isn't all about sex. But the author did, and she should of changed the relationship so it was more real, if you know what I mean.
I think that Thumped was an amazing book, that is truly eye-opening to what some people deal with now, and may in the future. I really hope that in the near-future, that Megan MacCafferty writes another book, whether it is about this or something else, she is a brilliant writer.
Thumped picks up eight and a half months after Bumped ended. Harmony has returned to Goodside, the religious compound that she called home prior to decamping to Otherside to find her identical twin sister, Melody. Harmony didn't leave alone, however; she is pregnant with twin girls. Meanwhile, back in Otherside, Melody, thanks to ALTERR (Artificial Living Tissue Engineered for Reproducing Reproduction), is "mocked up." ALTERR is a fake womb that simulates pregnancy so realistically that it fools even doctors. Babies show up on an ultrasound, even though Melody isn't pregnant. But she's pretending to be, and helping her out is Jondoe, the true Baby Daddy of Harmony's twins and the faux Baby Daddy of Melody's.
With me so far? It really isn't as confusing as it sounds.
Also along is Zen, Melody's soulmate, who wants to wage war against in what he calls The Mission: "protesting against the culture of reproductive profiteering." Zen, for all of his zealotry, is a likable boy, and Melody struggles with the intensity of her feelings for him. They are both virgins, in Melody's case not for a lack of trying and heavy marketing of her womb, and Zen more due to a dogged determination that his sperm not be used against him.
The message of Thumped echoes that of Bumped. We are in danger of living in a world where teen pregnancy, which already elevates some girls to celebrity status, will consume us to the point that we, like Melody's parents, Ash and Ty, are willing to whore out our children to procreate. As Melody observes, "Our whole world has gone ... baby crazy. ... That's what we're dealing with here. Not bumps or pregs or deliveries. Or whatever other euphemism you want to use to distance yourself from the truth. We're making babies. We're creating people. And we're having meaningless sex to do it! And yet we pretend like it's no big deal. We pretend we aren't in the business of buying and selling human beings."
Part of Melody's enlightenment as to the terrible nature of "pregging" is due to the Jaydens, the couple paying for the twins she supposedly is carrying. Melody is drawn to them. Her gut instinct is that they would make great parents, and she truly would like to help them out in that regard. But Melody is not the one who is pregnant, and Harmony is back with her husband, Ram, in Goodside.
This is a fantastic satire of what we have become and the potential of what we could be, if we continue to prize celebrity over actual accomplishment. Parts of this are guffawingly funny, and parts might meld your cold hard heart just a little. When Ram makes a life changing announcement, I admit that I didn't know whether to applaud him or laugh at the silliness of the reactions he received. Again, we buy into a celebrity culture based on nothing but toothpicks in the sand.
My biggest complaint about Thumped is its ease. What made Bumped so intriguing is that it asked us to examine that side of us that buys People magazine and reads articles about Jamie Lynn Spears' teen pregnancy (color me guilty) or watches reality television about teen mothers. As a high school teacher, I see so many girls get pregnant during the very years they should be free from that enormous responsibility, so Bumped gave me a lot to think about and consider. Thumped is not as challenging. The "bad guys" are much easier to spot, and the debate is more clear cut. There isn't a lot of controversy or conflict here as far as the book's message. Oh, sure, Melody and Harmony find themselves in a pickle, and the men in their lives alternately assist and provoke them, but there is no mystery as to what Megan McCafferty wants us to take away from her novel. I think I miss that.
Still, though, Thumped is a good follow-up to its predecessor. Melody and Harmony's voices are strong. We can see the confused teenaged girls in them. What is the right thing to do? What do we owe our parents? What do we owe God? And what do we owe ourselves? Melody confronts this with poignancy. She knows she's too young to be a mother, but this is her last chance before the virus renders her infertile.
And that is why I want a third book. Part of me would like the romance of a happy ending. There is a cure! Melody can have a baby when she's older! The Jaydens can have a baby! Harmony can have a baby! Teenage girls can go back to being teenage girls! Teenage boys no longer have to compete against each other for Most Desirable Sperm!
But McCafferty has said that this is it. She always envisioned two books, Bumped and Thumped, and the story is over. Even so, she leaves us with a topic worth of thought and discussion. Let's not disappoint her, shall we?