In a world where only teenagers can get pregnant pregnancy is a big business. High profile pregnancies make people celebrities, brands are created, perfumes are made, everything is commercialized. It’s as if everyone has a right to the life developing within a certain girl.
Melody and Harmony have had to come up with a daring plan. Harmony is pregnant with twins, while Melody is not, but she’s telling everyone that she is. She wants to help her sister, but she’s also tired of how things work. She’s tired of teenagers being exploited for their ability to reproduce. She wants teenagers to be able to be teenagers.
Harmony is increasingly uncertain about her return to her religious life. Ram, her husband, is not really a husband to her, but it turns out he is a pretty good friend. Harmony finds out that the church elders want to take away her babies and that she will be shunned, she knows she must leave right away.
Not everyone is on the ruse though. Lib, Melody’s agent, doesn’t know that she’s not actually pregnant. She’s using a highly technological fake pregnancy device to look pregnant. It attaches to her body and she can’t tell where she ends and it begins; it even moves like babies really would. The plan is to bring a big dose of reality to the country.
Other countries apparently don’t have the same restrictions and pressures on teenagers and their birthrates are just fine. The United States has gotten much too commercial with the whole thing. When Harmony goes into labor five weeks early, everyone has to carry their plan into action much sooner than they ever expected. Several teenagers will help the country realize that things have gotten out of hand.
What I liked
I liked the direction that Megan turned the book to. I liked how she came out and said that this whole thing was too commercial. There was too much pressure on teenagers. This process was tearing society apart. All of this is true in the society that Megan creates. Society would most definitely turn towards this pattern of events, or something like it, if something like this happened. People would be clamoring for a dwindling resource, in this case the resource of fertility. People would go crazy about the whole thing; people would take it overboard. It’s also something P.D. James addressed quite well in Children of Men.
In the end some the adults realized they were a large part of the problem. They are the adults after all, they’re not supposed to be putting teenagers in this type of danger and basically trafficking babies. They’re supposed to be protecting the upcoming generation.
The religion Megan creates in this story sounds like a mixture of Amish, Mormon, and Catholic beliefs. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a little extreme when you combine elements of three religions that have been known to have a bit of extremity to them. I think it’s plausible that a religion would spring up to accommodate the way in which the world has changed. It actually reminds me of the book The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Teachings and scripture are bent to match the circumstances.
I think it was clever of Megan to make religion a driving force in how some people act. In times of crisis many people do turn to a higher power, whatever that may mean to them, and sometimes it can be a little out-there.
What I didn’t like
I honestly don’t think Megan allowed enough time to lapse before the world changed so drastically. We’re really looking at about twenty to twenty-five years for things to have gone from normal to bat-crap insane, but then again, that was roughly the same time frame P.D. James used in Children of Men. The Alphas in that book were about twenty-five years old, the Alphas being the last people ever born. I have a difficult time comprehending that society would change so much in just twenty-five years, but I’m probably wrong.
Society can go to Hell in hand-basket in a matter of hours. We’ve seen it happen in small pockets recently, but also in history. In recent years we have New Orleans and hurricane Katrina as an example. Things went to crap in a matter of hours, hours, not days, not weeks, not months, or years, but hours. People lost it. Society as people knew it changed for a while.
Although I think it’s too soon for things to change so much, it’s probably not. We humans have the tendency to freak the heck out when something changes.
I agree and disagree with the final consensus of this book. I agree that teenagers should be able to make their own choices and have sex if they want to. I used to be more of the mind that teenagers shouldn’t be going around having sex. They should put it off for more important things, but you know what, teenagers are going to have sex anyway, and we need to make sure they’re educated properly. Teenagers are mini-adults and need to be treated as such to an extent.
Look, this whole thing is screwed up, teenagers shouldn’t be encouraged to have sex with people just to keep the population up, but they kind of have to in this world of Megan’s otherwise humanity is doomed. I think they should be able to have sex with people they have feelings for if they’re going to do it anyway. As Megan never explains exactly how this made-up virus of hers operates, I say do this scientifically. Gather viable genetic materials from teenagers, give them free college or something in return, then use adults to surrogate the babies. Megan never specified if this whole thing was a conception problem or carrying problem. If it’s only conception we’re worried about here, invitro is the way for everyone in this society to go. Teenagers donate viable genetic material and people buy that material for themselves, or better-freaking-yet, people as teenagers freeze their genetic material and put it in a bank for a time when they want to have children using IVF.
Like I said, I agree and disagree, let teenagers have their tether to an extent, but for goodness sake don’t encourage them to do stupid crap. Is no one in this society at all concerned about STDs or how about incest because well-known men are going around fathering the heck out of all kinds of babies? Is anyone going to track Johndoe’s kids and say, “Hey, you two can’t make a baby, you’re brother and sister”? It seems like it should be a concern, both the STDs and the possibility of incest.
Let us be thankful that the fate of the world does not depend upon teenagers having babies.
Do you think it’s a possibility that the virus that causes infertility in this dystopian future could have in and of itself be a STD? Is the world combating one sexual problem with another?
In this book people fake pregnancies to appeal to the masses; considering the things people fake today to appeal to the masses, do you think being “mocked up” is something that people would actually do?
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Family dynamics, Finding Your Self, McCafferty-Megan, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if, Young Adult