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Book Reviews
November 27, 2008 posted by Nikki

Cycler – Lauren McLaughlin

Meet Jill – she’s on a mission. Prom is coming up and she is determined to bag herself the perfect date. But Jill is harbouring a big secret that could not only destroy her chances of showing up to prom on the arm of a hottie, but could also ruin her entire life.

Meet Jack – his parents don’t like him much, but he’s misunderstood. They keep him locked up in his bedroom so he can’t cause any trouble, but Jack is tired of being their prisoner. And anyway, he has his sights set on a girl, and he can’t very well capture her attention sitting in his bedroom, can he?

But Jack and Jill share a common problem that might stop them both from achieving their goals. Unbeknownst to all, they actually share the same body. For four days out of every month, Jill sprouts man bits and transforms into Jack. And Jack is all boy.

The concept is original. How many novels have you read where the female protagonist turns into a boy when she should be having her period? For me, this is the first. The story is narrated through both Jack and Jill’s perspectives, so readers get a chance to get inside both their heads. While they’re both so different, essentially they want the same thing: love. Will their gender mutation problem hinder their individual quests?

If you’re into the whole girl-meets-boy, girl-gets-boy type of story then Cycler is definitely a novel you’ll enjoy. Jill is awkward in her pursuits for love and is a character that I’m sure many teenagers all around the world will relate to. You’ll laugh with her, you’ll feel her pain, and mortification too. She’s a very real, three-dimensional character. Interestingly enough, even though he’s the cause of most of Jill’s problems, readers will undoubtedly also fall hopelessly in love with Jack. He’s a victim of circumstance and forgiving his poor behavior is an easy task.

As the novel closes, Jack and Jill appear no closer to a resolution than they were at the beginning of the novel. I can’t help but wonder (and hope) that McLaughlin is planning a sequel. Jack and Jill’s adventures seem far from over.

Cycler is quirky, funny and highly creative. Cycler is a standout debut novel that Lauren McLaughlin should be proud

Rating: : ★★★½☆

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