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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

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Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci
Bumped - Megan McCafferty Hey, didja know I'm deconstructing this for the Lantern? You can find my posts here . This is a CD cover for one of Korn's albums. I'm putting it up here because it adequately describes the feelings this book brought up for me.Disclaimer: I love Megan McCafferty's books. This review may be biased.You have been warned.I won't deny it - I've been waiting to get my hands on this piece for ages. I've been reading about it for months now, the good and the bad, (more of the former, less of the latter for obvious reasons) and knew perfectly well what to expect. Made up language. Weird themes. And yet...Yet this book caught me completely off guard.Another disclaimer: This is not a YA book. I'm sick and tired of having all sorts of books shelved as YA when they're obviously not. Does Jane Austen write YA? Or Charlotte Bronte? Is [b:Genesis|6171892|Genesis|Bernard Beckett|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328955315s/6171892.jpg|6351510] YA? How about [b:Wintergirls|5152478|Wintergirls|Laurie Halse Anderson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1346343878s/5152478.jpg|5219477]? Just because the protagonists are under the age of 18 does not automatically restrict the book to the 13-18 crowd. In fact, I think that this is a book aimed much more towards adults than it is for teens, if only because the themes in it are so complex and varied.Megan McCafferty exceeds in world building. Some readers may think it impossible that twenty years from now we'll have access to the technology described, but I think that takes a backseat to the premise. An infertility virus that makes anyone over eighteen infertile (by the way, in spite of what you hear, it is NOT a set timeframe thing. It is mentioned that some people manage to have children up until their early twenties, and some - even in their thirties), and teenagers suddenly become responsible for the survival of the species. And suddenly, society is all about encouraging them to 'bump'.Speaking of bumping, I know people may find the future-speak in this novel frustrating and annoying, but to me it's one of the highlights of the novel. Language, after all, has played a turning point in human evolution, and it's no surprise that it reflects our society and airs our dirty laundry in ways which we may not have thought possible. As George Carlin says, "Language always gives you away". And, coincidentially, Foz Meadows wrote a blogpost about feminism and language just recently that covers a lot of themes, feminism and meritocracy amongst other things. In the same respect, the language used both by Melody and Harmony reflects things about their society and their own personal demons, and says a lot more about them than their thoughts. If you're about to tell me I'm sucking up to the author or acting out on my fangirl urges (a surely repressed thing, that), let me remind you of [b:1984|5470|1984|George Orwell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348990566s/5470.jpg|153313]. When George Orwell wrote it in 1945, people were probably sceptical as well. However, I once had a bulgarian author talk in my old high school, about a book she'd written about communism. She remembered how, in 1984, she read smuggled copies of the book (why YES, we did have censure), and was shocked how much he'd gotten right.I'm not saying that twenty-five years from now we'll be having mini-tracking devices planted in our eyeballs. But if teenagers were the only ones who could reproduce, if they were the only thing keeping the human race from extinction, you damn well bet that our society will rearrange itself to promote teen pregnancy. Imagine a 13 year old girl, any thirteen year old girl. She'd be pressurized to 'bump', not have sex, not make love, and certainly not make a baby, but 'bump', a chore, an obligation, and sometimes, a show of power and status. Society would put her in that position, and it would do it with gusto.And if that mental image doesn't give you chills... well, there's a good chance we won't agree on something else as well. For me, that's the marker of a good book - not the believability of the premise, per se, but how the author plays with our deep, sometimes unrealized fears, and how they manage to shock and terrify us even when we're laughing our heads off.So yeah, I REALLY liked this book. Knowing McCafferty, I'll be waiting for a while for the sequel... and it'll probably be worth the wait.Edit: Here's the back cover for that CD.