Is it so hard to imagine? The celebrity “bump watch,” has made obstetrics a spectator sport. Now any young starlet who has indulged at In-N-Out Burger can find her bloated midsection driving major pageviews on the gossip blogs. If controversial announcements by Jamie Lyn Spears and Bristol Palin pushed teen motherhood to the top of the news feed, Juno’s four Academy Award nominations kept it there. And young mothers don’t even need to be famous to attract attention anymore. In recent months the real girls-turned-reality stars from MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” have graced the covers of all the glossies.
The media loves wringing its hands over the sex lives of teenagers. Whether young mothers are glorified (for keeping the baby!) or vilified (for having sex in the first place!) all depends on where the talking heads fall on the socio-political spectrum. What troubles me most about these defiantly opposing attitudes and approaches—Life versus Choice, purity pledges versus condoms in vending machines—is that these extremes leave little room for compromise. I can’t help but think that the girls at the very center of these culture wars are the ones who will lose out in the end.
Bumped takes all-or-nothing thinking to its most literal conclusion: either teen girls have babies or humans become extinct. In my work, I always aspire to make readers laugh and to provoke thoughtful conversations about tricky subjects including teen sexuality, social class, sibling rivalry, gender roles, and religious tolerance, to name a few. Bumped is futuristic fiction, but its truths are rooted right here, right now.
I hope you’re as excited about my debut as an “official” Young Adult author as I am.