Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cycler, by Lauren McLaughlin

Jill has a terrible problem that comes around once a month -- she turns into a boy named Jack. And only after spending four days in a boy's body does she get her period (talk about nasty PMS!). But beyond that catchy premise, there's a story about identity as Jill and Jack struggle to find their place in the life of a single body -- a problem only complicated by adolescence, love, and the Senior Prom.

The plot probably sounds gimmicky, but in fact does not disappoint as McLaughlin quickly transcends the novelty and humor to develop a truly interesting story about gender identity and acceptance. I found Jack a bit too stereotypical (although I suspect that women have the same complaints about the heroines that male writers create!) as a teen horndog, but he grows on you. And the story, while carrying a strong message, never sacrifices its entertainment value. Recommended, yet strangely overlooked by most of my peers. Seek it out!

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