Last November, while at NCTE, I was ecstatic when I checked the program and realized I would have the opportunity to meet Megan McCafferty. I’ve been a huge fan ever since I read Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, Book 1). Jessica and I are kindred spirits. I also read and reviewed Bumped when it was released. Megan doesn’t live to far from me but I’ve never been able to make it to any of her local signings. Needless to say, I was very happy that I would get a chance to meet her, even if it was in Chicago instead of NJ!
I waited on the long line for Megan (one of the only lines I waited on at NCTE!) and I was looking forward to getting a copy of Bumped signed (which I reviewed here). When I got closer to the table where they were selling the paperbacks, I almost fainted. They had ARCs of Thumped on the table! Thumped was scheduled for an April release, so I was not expecting to see ARCs at NCTE, in November. My day was pretty much made. The only thing that made it better was getting my ARC signed by Megan, who was a complete sweetheart. She even recognized me from blogging and Twitter. :)
I read Thumped as soon as I got home because I had a waiting list for it. My colleague, who teaches Biology, had really enjoyed the first book in the series, so I wanted to pass it on to him. I read Thumped in one sitting and absolutely loved it.
Thumped is awesome. Absolutely awesome. I recommend the series to upper-YA readers and adults. In a culture where millions of people watch sixteen-year old girls give birth and raise their babies on TV, McCafferty has crafted a speculative dystopian world that resembles our own a little too much. You know the saying “too close for comfort”? That’s what McCafferty has crafted in these books.
Thumped picks up about eight months after the first volume left off. Harmony is back with her church family and Melody is the pregnant girl. Think Beyonce’s pregnancy times a million. Her every move is calculated and tracked by her fans. Both girls are about to give birth, but it’s not as simple as it seems. Before either girl gives birth, they are brought together once again and some tough decisions are made. I can’t tell you much more because it will give it away. Just know that this is a book you won’t be able to put down once you start it.
The best part of McCafferty’s writing in these books is the world building. The slang she uses is intense but you quickly slip into the world she has created and the language becomes your language. I know the word choice made it difficult for some readers to get through the first volume, but it’s really the best part of the book for me.
And you know what else I love? The sarcasm in these books. People, I am sarcastic. Seriously. All. the.time. It’s a problem. And I know that there were some people who took issue with the premise of these books and seemed to miss the whole point- it’s a satire. But it’s the best kind of satire; the type that makes the reader really think. You will close this book and you will wonder how we can ensure this doesn’t happen in our world. I think teens will read this pair of books and think about the repercussions of having babies when they are still a child themselves. These aren’t books you can finish and file away in the back of your mind. These books are intended to make you think and think you will!
Highly recommended for mature readers. As with the first volume, I’d recommend reading it yourself before placing it in a classroom library, but I think it is a valuable addition to any library. Definitely a high school book (and even college!), but I wouldn’t recommend it for middle school readers.