My rating: (3 / 5)
This interesting YA novel contemplates the lives of two twins in a society where almost no one who is over the age of 18 can become pregnant. When young wombs are marketable, and a baby can be traded for college tuition or plastic surgery (or cold hard cash by the parents of the womb-owner), what young woman wouldn’t make the choice to “bump” and carry a baby as a paid surrogate? Melody, the adopted child of college professors has known for much of her life that she would be a paid surrogate, and her college professor parents have spent a majority of that time pushing her into pursuits that would raise her commodity – the price of her brand, or the fee she could command as a surrogate. Until one day, she recieves a message from a girl who is her identical twin sister.
Harmony has been raised in a religious compound which is a perversion of Amish and Hudderite groups. While they dress simply and work the land by hand, they also believe in marrying young girls by 13 so they can produce as many babies as possible for their community at large. The marriages are arranged by a council of church elders, and the girls step into their husband’s bedrooms ill prepared – to say the least – for their new lives as wives.
There are some problems with this book, not the least of which is the lack of explanation for the disappearance of artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Why do the teens have to have sex together in order to procreate? They are even encouraged to take drugs to loosen up to have sex with strangers. This seems very odd to me and not like a natural progression of society at large.
I can buy the new technologies. I can accept that advertising campaigns and product placement have made it “cool” to be pregnant as a teen. I can even accept parents pushing their kids into it for money, after seeing parents push their kids into uniform to get Army recruitment bonuses, even during a bloody war in the Middle East, but I just can’t believe that this new society which has so advanced the use of computers and messaging would completely abandon the science of reproduction when they’ve been struck with a virus that affects fertility. Maybe the YA audience the book is inteded for won’t scratch their head at this one as much, but it really bothered me and dropped my rating stars because of it.