book thoughts: Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin


Lauren Mclaughlin

Jill is just like every other high school senior: she’s stressing over her social life and counting down the days until prom.  If only she had more time to woo Tommy and convince him to ask her out.  Her friend Ramie tells her that she needs to just act like herself but that is impossible.  Because for one week out of each month, Jill is not herself: she’s Jack.  Luckily, when she changes back into Jill a week later, she does a quick bit of meditation and completely wipes her “Jack-time” from her memory, so she doesn’t have to remember all those nasty boy thoughts.

Jack, on the other hand, remembers everything.  All of Jill’s triumphs and failures.  And he’s sick of watching from the inside.  He wants to get out of the house.  He’s a 16 year old boy with needs! 

That is the basic set-up of Cycler.  And while the first half of the book is amusing enough, it starts to get old halfway through when you realize that Jill is not going to learn her lesson.  Jack, on the other hand, is a sarcastic bastard, but at least he’s fun to hang out with. 

I was also bothered by the weird bit about Tommy.  Jill spends a large amount of time trying to get his attention, only to discover that he’s bisexual.  This big reveal is more confusing than anything, and I think it is when I really stopped caring about Jill’s opinions.  I guess the whole idea was to have her worry that Jack’s “manliness” was showing in her female side.

The “climax” of the story, if you could call it that, is a real let down with absolutely nothing being resolved.  I felt cheated by the end. 

Good idea, poor execution.  Here’s hoping someone rips it off and gives us a more thought provoking story about what it means to be a teenage girl/boy in today’s world.

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