Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jackie says, "This book is funny, but also alarmingly plausible. A lot of great discussions will come from reading this book!"

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. 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.
From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.

Jackie says:

"McCafferty's dystopian world is not as big of a stretch as I would like it to be for my own comfort level.  In this world, a virus renders most people sterile between the age of 18 and 20.  Teenage girls have become the most prized members of society, and they can either "go pro", which is to get an agent to help broker a deal as a surrogate for a couple (the best one's get multiple baby contracts for a single couple, generally starting at the age of 14!), or be amateur, getting pregnant and then selling the baby on the open market auction style.  Teenage male "studs" are superstars, as well (see what I
mean about not being all that different from NOW?).  Money, college placement, stardom all come from "bumping". and the society is more than crazed about it all.  Teens are fed pills to "loosen" them up, the middle and high school cafeterias serve folic rich foods, pre-teen girls wear fake "bumps" and carry "first curse purses".  It's a mania.  There is another, apparently smaller, religious side to the society who keeps to themselves and arrange marriages at the age of 13 for their children so that their babies are born in the sanctity of marriage and raised by their very young birth parents with guidance from the Church.

The book focuses on a set of identical twin girls, separated at birth, who are from
opposite sides of these cultures.  Harmony flees Goodside (the name of the religious community) to meet her sister, Melody, but has other reasons as well.  Melody is in the middle of a drama of being under a"bumping" contract where the would-be parents can't decide on the sperm donor (by the way, things are NOT done in the lab anymore--babies are made the old fashioned way).  She's the only girl in her school who hasn't bumped yet, and the pressure is intense, especially since she was the first in the school to "go pro".  Especially since she's got feelings for her best guy friend Zen, who is too short to ever be considered a donor for a pro.  The girls learn more about each other, and their options, leading the book to some extremely unexpected plot twists.

This book will enrage some parents, but I think it could well lead to some very strong
and meaningful conversations among teen girls as they explore their sexuality and their self worth.  There is, in fact, an adult crossover promotion planned for the book.  It will certainly be interesting to see what happens when this book is out and about."

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