Hiya folks! Welcome to this month’s reading recap. I read some excellent stuff this month. Now that I’m done with school, I have some extra time for reading and I definitely took advantage of it. Because I read more, I decided to split up the recap into two parts. So without further ado, here is Part 1:
1. Thumped – Megan McCafferty
Thumped is the sequel to Bumped, Megan McCafferty’s dystopian novel which she describes as Heathers meets The Handmaid’s Tale. The conceit is basically that in the future, everyone over the age of 18 is rendered infertile by a virus. As a result, teens become the most valuable members of society, and girls are groomed to be surrogates for infertile couples and are paid large sums to “bump” with the most desirable teen boys and become pregnant. The story focuses on two twins, Melody and Harmony who were separated at birth. Melody has been hired as a surrogate, while Harmony who lives in “Goodside” (a highly religious part of the country that disapproves of the whole “bumping” business) believes she needs to find Melody and save her soul.
I read Bumped last year when it first came out and wasn’t thrilled with it. I was super absorbed in the plot and read the book quickly, and I appreciated it’s satirical elements; however I disliked both main characters which made it hard for me to really enjoy the book. Because the book was so plot-oriented, and switched back and forth very quickly between Melody and Harmony’s perspectives, it was difficult to connect with either of them and they became more like caractatures than fleshed out people.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of Bumped, but lets just say that there’s some classic twin switcharoo business, and though I didn’t love Bumped, when I saw Thumped at my library, I decided to give it a shot because I wanted to find out how the story ended.
Thumped was another fast read, and I thought that Melody and Harmony were a lot more likeable in this book and that McCafferty did a better job of giving the girls dimension. There was a much better sense of their friend/family dynamics which made them more realized characters. I actually thought the boys (Melody’s bff Zen and Jondoe, famous for his mad impregnation skillz) were actually the most interesting characters in the book and I think it would have been interesting to have heard things from their POV. The world of the book was more fleshed out here too, as details are provided about how other cultures view sexuality and bumping.
Overall, still didn’t love it but it was a much more enjoyable read than Bumped. However, if you want to read Thumped, you’ll definitely need to read Bumped first if you don’t want to be completely lost!
2,3,4. Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play – Yu Watase
One of my goals this summer is to read more widely, and to read outside of my comfort zone. I want to try to read more of the things that I see actual teens reading to help me become a better librarian. Teens read Manga like CRAZY at the library where I volunteer. I often see kids come in and take a stack of Manga books of the shelf, sit down in a comfy chair and get crackin.
I had never read any Manga before, and I knew that I needed to learn more about it. Jeff’s sister recommended Fushigi Yugi as an excellent one to start with. The series stars Miaka, a ditzy, boy-crazy teen girl. (She totally reminds me of Serena from Sailor Moon). One day, at the library Miaka and her friend Yui find a mysterious ancient Chinese book called The Universe of the Four Gods. When they begin to read it, they are literally drawn into the book and into ancient China. The people believe that Miaka is the Priestess of Suzaku, destined to help protect them from a rival kingdom.
I read the first three volumes this month and am really enjoying the story. It appeals to both my love of timey-wimeyness, and book-within-a-book metafiction. I just checked out the next 2 volumes and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next!
5. Higglety Pigglety Pop!: or There Must be More to Life – Maurice Sendak
When I learned about Maurice Sendak’s passing I had the urge to read this book, one of my absolute favorites.
Jennie, a Sealyham terrier, is “discontented” with her life. “There must be more to life than having everything!” she says as she packs up her things and decides to see what’s out there. She sees an advertisement for the Mother Goose World Theatre, but Jennie is told that the position requires someone with experience. So, she sets out to gets some.
This book is hilarious, whimsical, dark (in that very Sendak way), and ultimately, quite moving. The illustrations are absolute perfection. This is a must read!
Happy Friday, and stay tuned for Part 2!