Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Title: Bumped
Author: Megan McCafferty
Length: 323 pages
Genre: YA; Dystopia; Science fiction
Format: Hard Cover
Why I read it: I kept seeing it at the library, so I decided to give it a shot

What it’s About: A virus has made it impossible for anyone over the age of 18 to conceive a child. In the year 2035 16 year old Melody is in a contract to get pregnant and give the baby to a couple. But before that can happen, the couple wants to find the perfect match. Meanwhile, Melody’s discovered that she has a twin sister, Harmony. One day Harmony runs away from her home in the religious community of Goodside, where she is supposed to get married. Harmony believes that she must convince Melody to come home with her and become a wife, mother, and live her life free from sin.

The Review: Where to start? The concept is interesting. In McCafferty’s world, a virus will have made it impossible to conceive a child after you turn 18. In the book, it is common place for anyone 20 and over to not only have to adopt, but they hire girls to be their surrogates. And Parents of these girls are not only okay with this, they pimp them out. Melody’s adoptive parents have spent years and who knows how much money to make her look perfect on paper so that she could get a contract to be someone’s surrogate. They’ve hired a publicist and everything. There is a couple who is interested, The Jaydens. But they don’t want just anyone “bumping” with Melody, they want their baby to come from the two most perfect parents possible. But when Melody discovers her twin, she will do whatever it takes to keep Harmony a secret. Because in this world, having a twin makes you not so special in the ultra competitive world of “Pregging”. I know I’m not explaining it very well, but honestly, I think in order to get it, you’d have to read it.
The Setting is also interesting. I mean, women only have a limited number of years to conceive as it is. But this book limits it even further with the help of a virus. Except in religious communities. Apparently Where Harmony grew up, women are still able to conceive after the age of 18. But it’s unknown why. And yet, girls are still getting married at the age of 16 to become mothers….yeah, that part confused me.

I felt, personally, that there wasn’t enough information. I know a virus caused this to happen, but where did this virus start? What kind of virus was it? Cold? Flu? STD? Why were the religous people not affected? Is it because the virus was an STD, and they don’t believe is sex before marriage? I don’t know. The there was the slang. I’m fine with how it was used. I’m fine with how often it was used. What I’d like is an explanation as to what some of these things mean. I can figure out “bumping” is sex, and “Pregging” is getting pregnant, but there were some that were just confusing as hell. And the technology was just weird. I’d love to look like I’m trying to get dirt out of my eye or have a weird eye tick every time I want to talk to someone.
I’m not going to say that this book is giving 16 year old girls permission to get pregnant. They were doing that long before this book came out, and they will continue to do so long after this generation is dead. I’m not saying I’d like it if my daughter (if I have a daughter) came home pregnant, but it happens , so why act like this book would be the cause?
As for the characters, I didn’t feel like I got to know them. The perspective jumped every chapter, which is fine, but The girls personalities didn’t shine through, and I know that they grew up separated, and the sibling bond wasn’t there, but it seemed like Melody didn’t want to try to get to know here twin, and Harmony was just using Melody as an excuse to not go home. I don’t know about you, but If I found out I had a sister, let alone a twin, I’d want to get to know her and learn everything about her life.

Did I like it? It was…different. I don’t know. I didn’t dislike it.
Would I reread it? Probably not.

Would I purchase it? No.

Would I recommend it? I have no idea.

Final rating: 2 out of 5 stars. Simply because I don’t know how I feel about it.

Advertisements

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Title: Dear Killer
Author: Katherine Ewell
Length: 359 pages
Genre: YA
Format: Hard cover
Why I read it: A number of reasons.

What it’s About: 17 year old Kit is one of London’s most famous serial killers. She was trained by her mother from the time she was nine years old to be a killer and one day take over for her mother. She has a secret post box hidden in a restroom where she gets letters requesting her services. Kit is clever and arrogant, and very good at what she does. But when she murders a classmate, it seems like her luck is running out. To keep the suspicion off of her, she “helps” the police by giving the inspector clues and insight.

The review: This book was not without it’s flaws. Firstly, I can believe a serial killer bing young. Statistically most serial killers start between (I think) 16-30. So that’s not so far fetched. Especially when you take into account that Kit has been trained since a young age and her mother was a serial killer herself, and that Kit’s mom would let her help in the early years of her training.

Secondly, the police. Again not so far fetched that the police would get clues and what not from suspects/witnesses. I mean, it happens all the time. That’s how their job works. They interrogate/interview, the suspect/interviewee says something, bam, there is a clue for the cop right there and the cop then uses that clue to find more clues and catch the person they are looking for. That’s fine. But are we really to believe that all these anonymous people all over London know about Kit’s killing service and hire her to kill people, but the cops know nothing about it? Come on. That shit ain’t right.

Thirdly, why did the cops not suspect Kit? Or her mother for that matter? Kit’s mom retired because she almost got caught (at least that’s what I remember, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), so why not look at her or her daughter as possible suspects? It was one of Kit’s classmates that fueled the investigation after all, and cops generally look at the people closest to the victim first. And why did Alex not get fired for 1: Letting Kit in on a crime scene, and 2: Giving Kit information on a case that was so high profile.

Although, this book for all the flaws pointed out above was so freaking good. True, the writing and situations were lacking in places, but it was a highly entertaining read. I loved Kit. She was arrogant, she was over confident, she was a know-it-all, but she was a good leading character. I loved the idea of a jilted husband/wife writing a letter to have “The Perfect Killer” murder their spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend for cheating or lying or what have you, not knowing that they’ve hired a 17 year old girl. It’s a perfect stand alone book, but I wouldn’t mind if it was a series or a trilogy. And with the Author being so young herself, I can’t wait to see how her writing improves.

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? Almost.
Would I reread it? If I ever get through my current reading list, yes.
Would I purchase it? I’m not sure.
Would I recommend it? Already have, to many people.

The Essence by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Essence
Author: Kimberly Derting
Length: 352 pages
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Format: Hard cover
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: Checked out of the library at the same time as the first one.

What it’s About: Charlie has been crowned Queen of Ludania, and she is trying to right the wrongs of former Queen Sabara. Unfortunately, Sarbara’s essence is living inside Charlie, trying to undermine her and raising Charlie’s self doubt. Meanwhile Charlie is going on a journey to other kingdoms to reconnect ties that Sarbara has severed. And while she does that, there is a trator in her company and an assassination attempt on her life.

The Good: I love the idea that Sarbara wasn’t so easy to defeat. Not only is she essentially still there, but the damage she caused throughout other kingdoms is a factor in her tyranny as well. I do love the fact that there is no love triangle, and the secret crush on the best friend angle comes from two secondary characters.

The Bad: The predictability. I hated it. Of course there was a traitor, why else would someone know Charlie’s every move on a secret mission? And can we just address the fact that her head of defense is an 18 year old? I’m all for young people making an impression and doing well at their jobs, but when you take someone who is so young, and has no experience leading an army and give them the authority to lead said army, there will be trouble. Especially when said eighteen year old is in the mist of forming a romance with her best friend. Thirdly, the journey to the summit was boring. And why would they choose to stop in a place that everyone, including the queen, has deemed dangerous? I know you’ve got to rest, but I think that if there was already an assassination attempt on the sole ruler of your country, you would refrain from stopping to make camp somewhere that you think is dangerous.

Final Thoughts: Unrealistic book is unrealistic. I kind of can’t wait for the underage ruler/king/queen trope to just go away.

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Length: 323 pages
Genre: YA; Dystopia
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: Caught my eye at the Library

What it’s About: Ludania is a country divided by language. No two classes speak the same language except for the common Englaise, and if a member of the higher class speaks to you in their language, you can not look them in the eye. You are not even allowed to understand what they are saying to you. What happens if you do otherwise? You are executed. This is especially hard for Charlaina because she does understand all the other languages around her.

The Good: I really want to say something nice about this book. Especially since I couldn’t find anything nice about the last two books I reviewed. But the truth is, while I finished this book fairly quickly, the only really good thing about it was the packaging. When I saw it at the library, I was pulled in by the cover. Then I read the inside flap, and the story sounded intriguing. Unfortunately Derting’s book quickly escalated into a WTF senario. I think the one redeeming quality of the book was the characters. They were fairly complex. and you wanted to get to know them.

The Bad: As with most Dystopians, there wasn’t a lot of information of HOW the wold came to be what it was in the book. I’d love to read about that. Not info overload, but maybe a little something. Like what happened that the queen is a blood thursty bully? Why has it taken this long to try to fight against her? Why are the classes defined so specifically by language? I for one did not understand why the queen was feared so much. Honestly. I got that she had a decree saying that if you did something she didn’t like, she’d have you hanged, but except for a few times that the gallows were mentioned (in passing), or there was actually a hanging happening, which I’m not even sure there was, or maybe it was also mentioned in passing, I never really got the sense of danger that I think Derting intended. I think (and correct me if I’m wrong) she was going for the “always keep an eye out” vibe that fell just shy of the mark.

Final Thoughts: In all honesty, I remembered liking the book a lot more than I apparently did. It wasn’t until I sat and thought about it to review it that I actually realized that it wasn’t as good as I remembered. I like the premise of the book. It’s simple. Language is as a barrier. That’s not so far of a stretch. It does happen in everyday life. But I think it just wasn’t executed correctly. It was clear that Derting’s queen was going to be a tyrant from the start, but Derting didn’t understand the character herself, which is disappointing and sad.

The One by Kiera Cass

Title: The One
Author: Kiera Cass
Length: 323 Pages
Genre: YA
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: I read the first two. Or maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment.

What it’s About: The continuing saga of America’s tug of war with the hearts and minds of two men, and Maxon’s continuing stupidity. Meanwhile, death and rebels.

The Good: Nope. Sorry. Nothing good found.

The Bad: Is it really possible to hate a main character more as you progress through the books? Yes. Yes it is. As if I needed anything more to make me hate her, America proved to be even more of a let down than before. I had been waiting for her character to develop over the course of the three books, but sadly she was just selfish, immature, idiotic, indecisive, and shallow. I gave her a lot of slack too. I mean she was very upfront about only being at the palace to get money, and Maxon did seem to, if not understand, at least go with it and cater to her (for lack of a better phrase) gold-digging, but by book three I was hoping she would have at least grown a little. The love triangle, while overused in the YA genre, usually serves a purpose, but in this story, I think the purpose was to make America look even worse. In fact, there were a lot of things that didn’t make any sense. Like the rebels. One group who is vicious and kills for power, and the other who…break into the palace and steal books…What? Why? I know knowledge is power, and I know history is important, but why did these people have to steal the books? Why not, I don’t know, appeal to the king (or Queen or even Maxon) to set up a lending system? Or something. As for the world building, well there wasn’t any. Really none. In dystopias it’s understood that the world went to hell. But there is little to explain how it went to hell. But In Cass’s books, there is NOTHING to explain just what happened to make the Caste system. And why couldn’t the country afford to have soldiers? Why not take a bunch of the poorest castes and make them soldiers? Is it a lack of money to pay them? Is it because the king didn’t think to do it? Is there nowhere to build a barracks to house them? Cass, please we, as readers, need these things to be explained!!!!

Final Thoughts: I really just can’t fathom why this was a series. I can’t fathom how it was a series that has 5 (!) novella and two more sequels to come out! I’ll be honest, I am going to read the last two books, but only for two reasons 1. to see how it ends, 2. to see if America becomes the queen Maxon evidentially thinks she deserves to be (doubtful).

The Elite by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite
Author: Kiera Cass
Length: 336 Pages
Genre: YA
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: Sequel

What it’s About: The continuing story of America’s time at the palace competing to become queen. Only this time around, Guess who shows up at the palace as a royal guard! Yep, Aspen.

The Good: I can’t. There was nothing. It failed.

The Bad: The whole time I was thinking “Please don’t let America be this stupid.” but no, she was. She and Aspen broke up so she could enter into the competition. I get that her feelings for someone she dated and was in love with for two years will not magically go away. I understand that the only initial reason she entered was to get money for her family. I can even applaud her being so up front about it that she told Maxon. But that’s where my understanding ran out. America, sweetie, a little word of advice, if you want to go as far as you can in the competition, don’t plan secret rendevues with your ex. Especially not when you could get thrown out of, if not killed, for NOT BEING A VIRGIN! maxon, I know you “don’t have much experiance with girls” but that it no damn reason for you to let America take advantage of you. You are going to be king one day. It will be your job to take care of your kingdom. Grow up and grow a pair. And while you are at it, try to learn a bit about what the fuck is happening in said kingdom. And you might want to either up the palace security if you are going to announce that there are regular raids on the palace. Just saying.

Final Thoughts: While I was reading this book, I got banned from the living room. I was not allowed to read it anywhere except my office. Not because my husband wanted to be a tyrant or anything, but because I was yelling at the book so much.

Divergent By Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Length: 487 Pages
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Format: ePUB
Rating: 3/4
Why I read it: Wanted to read it before I saw the movie

What it’s About: Once a year, every sixteen year old must take an aptitude test of sorts and from there choose which faction (Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite) he/she will become part of. It is no different for Beatrice Prior. Except that after her test, she learns that she is part of the dangerous and rare Divergent group.

The Good: I liked Tris. She wasn’t bad-ass, as such, but she wouldn’t let herself give up, and she looked for answers at any given opportunity. She wasn’t afraid to stand up and question things, and when she was she faked otherwise pretty damn well. The story itself, while somewhat predictable was fun. There were definitely some “woah, I did not see that coming” moments, and there were some moments that made me laugh out loud, and cringe. It was an emotional book, but in a good way. I found it fascinating that, Once the new initiates chose a new faction they had to pass, or be factionless. This book made me think and question so much about how their world worked.

The Bad: I would have loved it if Roth had put a bit more history into it. I kept asking myself “how did life get this way,?” and ” Why are these people so content to be known by only one trait?” or, most importantly ” Why are these people not allowed to have more to them than what their faction dictates?” I find that to be a common problem with the Dystopian genre. Why are people so content to let things get so bad, but unwilling to try to make them better? That is a discussion for another day though. Back to the book. I could have done without the romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance in my stories, but in Divergent, it just seemed so out of place. Tris was really just getting to know herself, she should have been focusing on that, not boys.

Final Thoughts: I’m glad that I read this book. I’m glad that I ignored the negativity that surrounds this book and decided to give it a shot. I don’t know when, but I will be reading the next two installments. while the book does have its flaws, it was quite enjoyable, and I hope others who have all the bad hype will give it a chance.