Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin

High school senior Jill is “all girl”–except for 4 days out of the month, when she turns into Jack, who happens to be in love with her best friend.

Cycler has quite the premise, with Jill literally transforming from girl to boy once a month, right after her period ends. Girly girl Jill wants nothing to do with horny boy’s boy Jack, and has an elaborate ritual to keep memories of his four days at bay. Her mom loathes Jack as well, and basically keeps him locked up in Jill’s bedroom, sated by pornography.

Jill is fine with this arrangement, but Jack is growing increasingly impatient with his life of isolation, especially because he’s realizing that he’s in love with Ramie, Jill’s best friend. The stronger his passions grow, the less able Jill is to keep Jack from intruding into her day to day life. She wishes he would just go away and leave her alone. He wishes she would let him out of his cage.

Cycler does a fine job exploring gender, but I wish the book had gone a little deeper into the emotional side of things. It’s as if having sex is the answer to all of Jill/Jack’s problems, but they’re both pretty unlikable, Jill more than Jack. I just feel like the book could’ve done a lot more with the premise than just hookups. The book ends on a maddeningly ambiguous note that made it seem lke the author didn’t want to engage with the provocative ideas she raised.

3 thoughts on “Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin”

  1. Is it about a kid who has a mental illness? like schizophrenia? or is this some kind of sci fi? Or is it just weird speculative fiction?

  2. This book is AMAZING!
    Great Great story..!
    It combines ordinary teen life with an amazing taste of sexuality. I loved the Jack parts!
    It’s a must read!

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