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Book Club Kits: Bumped

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents must pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children. Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common. New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty presents Bumped, a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood –– in a future that is eerily believable.

Discussion Questions

  • The media’s recent fascination with teen pregnancy inspired Megan McCafferty to write Bumped. Why do you think the media has fixated on teen pregnancy? Has it been glorified, vilified, or both?

  • Which parents –– biological or adoptive –– have more influence on Harmony? Melody? What effects do you think the widespread adoption that characterizes Bumped will have on that generation?

  • In a world where adoptive parents can negotiate for the traits they prefer in a child, how does parenting change?

  • Ventura Vida claims that “teenage girls are the most important people on the planet” (p. 142), while Zen says “old people control everything” (p. 150). Which group do you think has more power in the Bumped society? How do the two populations interact? In your experience, which group has more power in today’s society?

  • What does Megan McCafferty accomplish by shifting between Melody and Harmony’s perspectives? Which sister do you relate to more, and why?

  • Many of Melody’s friends pregg for profit to pay for college. Does this practical result justify the decision to sign a conception contract? When she nearly dies, what does Shoko’s reaction illustrate about the power of the societal order? What does it mean that this economic system is based on prices put on newborns?

  • When Melody sees a pregnant eleven-year-old girl at the hospital, she wonders, “Will there be a time when there will be no such thing as too young to pregg?” (p. 266) What does this race illustrate about the nature of competition, both on a societal and economic level?

  • Do you think today’s society is more or less focused on sex than the society in Bumped? How do the two differ in their views and attitudes toward it?

  • Do you think the society that Harmony and Melody live in could one day become reality? Why or why not? In what ways does our current society resemble the world of Bumped?

  • How do mood-altering drugs play a large role in the novel? What common purpose do drugs like Tocin and Obliterall share? What types of behaviors and actions, then, do these chemical substances condone?

  • How do Malia and Shoko’s reactions after delivery differ? What questions do these differing reactions beg, if any? What thoughts about motherhood does Bumped raise?

  • What does Zen mean when he says, “You can turn away from the Church orders without turning away from faith” (p. 304). What do you think the book suggests about religion as a whole?

  • What role does patriotism play in pregging, and how does it benefit America as a country? What causes today are justified by patriotism? Do you agree or disagree with these justifications?

  • What do you think is next for Harmony and Melody? What must they face now that they know the way of life prescribed to them is not what they want? When have you “bumped expectations” and made a surprising choice for yourself?