From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—"I am all girl." That's the mantra that Jill desperately chants to herself whenever she feels the inevitable approaching—her body transforming into Jack. Four days a month, prior to menstruation, Jill's body mysteriously morphs into a male body, complete with sex organs. Despite countless hospital visits and hours of research, there is no explanation for this frightening phenomenon. In order to deal with the situation, the teen has developed a "Plan B," consisting of visualization techniques and chanting. Despite missing school and the necessity of giving noncommittal answers about her absences to her friend Ramie, Jill has ordinary teenage worries. Prom date issues are her prime concern, including garnering the attention of an elusive male student. Jill's situation grows treacherous when Jack rebels against the restraints placed upon him. The family has managed to keep him under control, but now he desires life outside the four walls of Jill's bedroom. His resentful attitude toward Jill causes significant upheaval and damage to her social life and causes a startling development in her friendship with Ramie. Themes of bisexuality, porn addiction, and gender identity make this best suited for mature readers. The writing is witty without being overly precious or self-conscious. The nonjudgmental attitude of some of the teen characters may not be entirely realistic, and the ending is abrupt and inconclusive. Still, Jill's real-life secondary concerns will ring true for many readers.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
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For most of the month, Jill is a normal teenager who has best friends, Ramie and Daria; a crush, Tommy Knutson; and elaborate plans for wrangling an invitation to the prom. On four days during each month, though, Jill physically morphs into Jack, complete with the anatomy and fantasies of a 17-year-old boy. For three years, Jack has cooperated with his parents’ ultimatum of complete secrecy, but recently he has begun to slip out of the house to explore the neighborhood. Not everything is explained in this bizarre plot: Why is Jill/Jack’s dad banished to the basement, for example? McLaughlin handles each teen’s transformation with vivid, sexually explicit detail, and the discomfort the characters experience is well drawn, as are the supporting characters, including brazen Ramie and bisexual Tommy. This original, contemporary fantasy will circulate widely, leaving readers hoping that McLaughlin has many more such fresh, edgy books already in the editorial pipeline. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn