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Cycler Hardcover – August 26, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375851917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375851919
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,287,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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

More About the Author

Lauren McLaughlin grew up in the small town of Wenham, Massachusetts. After college, she spent ten years as a screenwriter and producer before abandoning her screen ambitions to write fiction full time. She lives in New York and London with her husband and daughter and is currently at work on her fourth novel. When not writing, Lauren can be found at the piano, in a dance studio, or in the kitchen inventing new desserts.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Pitter Pat on August 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found Lauren McLaughlin's Cycler to be a truly enjoyable read. It will provide a challenge to the reader as it delves into gender and sexuality, topics that need to be probed if you are a teenager. The book is a "must read" for those young adults who are questioning their persona. The characters are funny, as are many of the situations they find themselves in.
Ms. McLaughlin is a quality storyteller, The book may invoke some controversy, but that is what makes it interesting. Young adults will relate to the characters. It is thought provoking. That makes it an enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Enchanting Reviews on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
CYCLER
LAUREN McLAUGHLIN
Young Adult
Random House
ISBN# 978-0-375-85191-9
256 Pages
$17.99
Hardcover--Available Now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

CYCLER has a really intriguing premise that had me hooked from the jacket blurb. Four days out of every month Jill becomes Jack, in every single way possible. With the help of self hypnosis, Jill's been able to block out those four days, but Jack on the other hand, well he's been able to find a way to view Jill's days to keep up with what's happening in the world. Now he's no longer happy having to spend his four days cooped up in Jill's room. He wants out and he wants out for one reason: Ramie.

I loved this book. Aside from a really unique premise, Jill and Jack have their own voices that drew me straight in and made me like each of them almost instantly. Jack is your typical guy, except he only exists four days each month, but he's growing desperate to escape his prison, one that becomes even more solitary when Jill and her mother find out about Jack's first escape. Jill's your typical teenage girl, obsessed with prom and going with the guy of her dreams, who also just happens to have Jack to deal with. I loved how different Jack and Jill were, and how the black moment brought them together in one horrifying moment that actually had me cringing as I read the last few pages.

CYCLER has one of the best scenes I've ever read, when poor Jill in an effort to attract her crush goes to the ski hill with her best friend Ramie. What happens with her and the J-Bar is absolutely hysterical and mortifying.

Ms. McLaughlin creates a very vivid, at times hilarious page turner with CYCLER.
I was so glad to read in the author bio at the back of the book that Ms.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura Herbertson on November 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Once I started reading, I didn't put the book down. The characters were well developed and distinctly different. The story had personality. It reads like a young adult novel, but there are a few sex scenes. The sexiness really added to the story, because, after all, it IS a book about gender lines.

Clever, witty, well-written...definitely read this.
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Format: Hardcover
CYCLER is one of those rare storiess that can transcend one genre of book. Touted as a science fiction story, it can easily pass for a contemporary teen novel, with a little bit of mystery and even horror (if the concept of the story creeps you out!) thrown in.

Jill McTeague is a normal high school girl. She's got good friends who are helping her to snag a date to the prom. Not any date, though. She's been asked by her science lab partner but brushed him off saying it was too early to plan for the prom. She'd rather go with Tommy Knutson. They have Calculus together and she catches him looking at her throughout class.

There's only one small glitch in her plans. As long as her cycle stays on course, she can attend the prom as Jill. But if there is even a slight miscalculation on her part, she may be Jack at the time.

Jack is the person she becomes for four days prior to her period each month. The cycling from female to male started three years ago. She and her mom have been to all the doctors and had all the tests done, but no one can explain it or give her any help. So the McTeague family has taken matters into their own hands. When Jill becomes Jack, he is forced to stay home from school (they've created an ongoing need for blood transfusions each month for Jill by way of explanation) and denied access to the outside world. Jack has no access to the Internet, or a cell phone. His only stimulation comes from the piles of books, DVDs and porn Jill or her mother procures for him (thanks to the sticky notes he leaves for Jill when he's visiting).

Things are going along smoothly for Jill and her crush, Tommy, has started noticing her, no thanks to the crazy J-bar incident at the local ski slope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tam Nguyen on December 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i picked up the book yesterday, thinking i was just gonna read this over the week, slowly. i ended finishing it in a day. i couldnt help but keep reading it.
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Format: Hardcover
I am an adult who loves to read a great YA novel. When I first read the back of this book, I was a little weary - this kind of sounded a little off to me - reminded me a bit of the whole "I was a teenager werewolf".

As I got introduced to Jill AND Jack (clever little twist there) - I really started getting into this storyline. While on the surface, this book takes us through very funny situations as well as the all encompassing "will I go to the prom? and with whom?" - I realized that behind the words on the page is a message to all young adults out there today. So many are confused about their sexuality - am I? should I? I don't understand my own body? - how I remember those days well!!!! but the beauty of this book is that it sends the message that its OKAY to wonder about your body and about who you are - that things are not always what they seem and questions are encouraged!

So beyond the great storyline is also one of depth, compassion and acceptance. As for the prom! trust me! you will wonder what the big deal was - when you look back on it 20 years later!A great read for all ages.
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