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(Cycler #1)

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  951 ratings  ·  181 reviews
AS FAR AS anyone at her high school knows, Jill McTeague is an average smart girl trying to get her dream date to ask her to the prom.

What no one knows, except for Jill?s mom and dad, is that for the four days Jill is out of school each month, she is not Jill at all. She is Jack, a genuine boy?complete with all the parts. Jack lives his four days per month in the solitude
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published August 25th 2007)
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Average rating 3.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  951 ratings  ·  181 reviews

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Start your review of Cycler (Cycler, #1)
Mar 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who like gender in neat little boxes but think they're open-minded
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Once a month, teenager Jill McTeague turns into a boy for three days. Whereas I would be like, “OMG! Best period alternative ever!”—especially since Jill is lucky enough to have a cute bisexual boy fall in love with her—Jill is less than psyched by this little bit of genderfuckery. In fact, thanks to the influence of her cartoonishly evil mother, Jill has totally sublimated her male side, causing him to split into a separate personality called Jack. And Jack’s starting to get pissed.

Frankly, I d
Nov 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Four days a month, Jill's female body turns into a male one, and Jill becomes Jack.

I was excited about this book because genderfuck! Then I started to read it. Jill is a twit. Her sections feel like Seventeen Magazine wrote them, right down to the preoccupation with the prom, the awkward slang, and the bad relationship advice.

But I stuck with it because genderfuck! I still had hope that Jack could be my buddy. He thinks Jill is a twit, too. Then he sneaks out of the house, climbs onto Jill's be
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
First of all, I will credit this book for its premise. I think I first read about it on Jezebel or something and thought it might be interesting, even for a young adult novel.

But it was absolutely maddening. Harder to read than Twilight, even if possible. I know that teenage girls can sometimes be unbearable (I was one at one point!) but wow. For being such a gender-bending premise it was incredibly stereotypical. It was as if to say, "look at how with the times we are! There are characters in t
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

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 of
Natalie Lundberg
Dec 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
I'm not really sure what I think about this book. It took a lot of odd turns that... are just that.. odd. I can't really describe a whole lot of the book with out giving away a good chunk of the plot. However i'll try to.

Jill is a 17 year old girl with a unique condition. Every month about the time "aunt flow" would come to visit she would turn into a 17 year old boy named Jack. Jack was hated by Jill's mother, and as a result was forced to live in her room the four days a month he existed (thus
YA Reads Book Reviews
Dec 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nikki
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
Carrie Rolph
Dec 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Jill's "terrible" secret is that four days out of every month, she turns into a boy. It's a clever idea that could have been a good book for teens interested in bi-sexuality or queer gender. Unfortunately, the attitudes towards queerness and gender are so stereotyped and/or offensive that I can't actually see it appealing to queer teens.

(It's okay though, the phrase "not homophobic" was used so many times it couldn't possibly *be* homophobic. Everyone knows if you say it, that makes it true.)
Lacey Louwagie
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in social constructs of gender, people looking for bisexual-positive YA Lit
Shelves: youngadult
I fell for this book based entirely on the premise: that the main character goes through a 4-day "cycle" of being male every month the way other girls go through their period. I expected this to be a pretty gimmicky book, and it looked as if it were going to start out that way: both Jill and Jack (her 4-day male alter-ego) start out reduced to the lowest common denominator of their genders. Jill is obsessed with getting the boy she's crushing on to ask her out to the prom, and Jack spends his 4- ...more
Four days out of each month, biologically-female Jill "cycles" and becomes biologically-male Jack. Jill has always managed to keep her mind separate from Jack...until Jack falls for Jill's best friend. Wackiness ensues.

A strange combination of fluffy romantic comedy and serious object lesson about human gender and sexuality. At first I was incredibly annoyed by Jill's femme-y shallowness and repetitive slang, as well as Jack's obnoxious extreme guyness. But eventually I was sucked into the fast-
Heidi Cullinan
I don't feel I can accurately rate this book because I didn't finish it. I got about a third or so of the way in, started to get nervous, and did research. So glad I did.

What I wanted from this book was an exploration of gender. I wanted to read about the complexity and wonder of it, and right or wrong, the back of the book and even the intro made me think we were going to learn in the end, that we're all the same.

The more I read, the more worried I got. So I came here to check reviews. I have
Oct 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
I picked this one up because the cover blurb intrigued me, and I wanted to see how the author handled the "cycling".

Sadly, the book failed to live up to the promise of its premise. The build up, establishing Jill as a normal high school student with a secret, went on for far too long and contributed little to the overall story. Jack's sections were far more amusing, if rather insulting to males in general.

So what saved it? The last third of the book, where tension actually began to build. The in
While extremely far-fetched in its premise, this is an interesting look at gender and gender identity, and one of the rare books for teens dealing with bisexual characters. Every month, for four days, Jill's alter-ego Jack comes to the fore, complete with teenage male body and desires. Jill has learned to block out all memories of his takeover of her body, and until this year he has agreed to stay hidden at home. But now he has a crush on her best friend, and even window bars and a keypad lock s ...more
Nov 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Wow, I could hardly wait for this book to be over. I had first read it in 2009 and had really liked it. I was a very different person back then, and society allowed a lot of stuff that they don't now. Eleven years after I first read the book, I was dismayed to discover that it was sexist towards both men and women, didn't mention anyone outside the binary, was incredibly homophobic and biphobic, was incredibly ableist and the author had never met anyone tall in her -life.-

Everyone in this book i
Sean Benson
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alphabet-soup
This is one serious weird book.
I picked the twist but still wanted to keep reading to see it happen.
Jill annoyed the hell out of me but it was ok because Jack felt the same way about her and said what I was thinking, offsetting her prissiness with vulgarity.
It was written as a narrative, even interacting with the reader at times which was great, especially after Jack had sex for the first time and kept insulting the reader then reminding them of his wonderful night like he had ADD.

They didn't ju
Mars R
I... did not read the description for this book carefully enough. I thought it was gonna be a YA book exploring gender identity and also bicycles. Like, I pictured some nice young queer trying to cover themselves up in normal school, and then going to sleepaway cycling camp once a month to really be themselves. Maybe with the world's most confusing supportive parents. I WAS WRONG.

This book contains:
-No bicycles
-No exploration of gender identity
-No awareness of gender identity
-No supportive paren
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A real surprise of a book. Okay, it's difficult to walk around in public reading a book with this cover, but there are always folders you could hide it in, or bigger books. Trust me, it's worth the hassle. This is a bizarre Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde / Cinderella / Frankenstein story for 21st century teens. It deals with identity and sexuality in an entirely unique way. The only negative comment I have is that some of the slang was used way too often and took away from a few scenes. Other than that . ...more
Merrie Haskell
I had a slightly difficult time approaching this book as it seemed to occasionally dart from some rather serious subject matter, rather seriously addressed, into high comedy. In spite of that, the book was compulsively readable, supplied a sophisticated and refreshing take on gender politics, and when I handed the book off to my 16-year-old stepdaughter, she devoured it in about 24 hours.
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
It's hard to describe, since it is a speculative light fantasy about gender identity and sexual orientation, but it manages to talk about these things in a realistic setting that speaks to universal teen themes. Also I was extremely excited to see an openly bisexual guy in this book. All the characters were strong and well developed, particularly her parents, Tommy, and Ramie. ...more
Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: The smart and under 12-13 set
Great premise with lackluster follow through. One dimensional characters and flat plot left me disappointed. The ending was an interesting take on sex, gender, attraction and relationships though. I'd recommend to a voracious reader under 13 who'd probably love it. Everyone else, skip. ...more
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting premise but I can only recommend it as a sleep aid. I'd read 3 pages of this at night and it's was lights out. ...more
Kara Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
McLaughlin, Lauren. 2008. Cycler.

This book is blurbed by Scott Westerfeld, one of my favorite authors, "Artfully fractured and wickedly smart. A brilliant screwball comedy about love, self-knowledge, and the secret identities inside all of us." Part of me is curious what book he read, because that sure wasn't my take on Cycler. Proof yet again that reading is subjective.

I have mixed feelings on this one. I'll try to explain the pros and cons as I see them throughout my review.

First sentence: "I
Robert Hudder
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm not going to go over the synopsis. This is an LGBT+ novel. You will find queerness in the form of bi-erasure, somewhat trans, homosexual and heterosexual sex. It is a funny book with some raunch. I find that the male character rings true, and I am not qualified to talk about the female character.

A charming feature is the multiple layers of outing. It is the main character(s) that has to come out and clean both to themselves and their friends.

I read this a while back. This is a reread to se
A couple of days after Jill's period she turns into a boy named Jack.

Jill likes to pretend Jack never existed and Jack just wants a life. Due to being locked up and lacking anything else to do, Jack is not exactly a progressive boy, but who could blame him? He's been locked up his entire existence.

Jill treats Jack like shit, her parents barely speak to him and Jack is getting restless, also he thinks Jill's best friend is cute, so Jack wants to escape.

A new boy causes Jill to reassess some thing
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea St. Clair
I love this book. I couldn't put it down.
Anyone struggling with acceptance (or looking for ways to accept yourself even more) must read this.
I will say, I am beyond pissed at the main character(s) mom. I must read the second book NOW.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
What the hell did I just read?

This book took me very little time to finish, it was not challenging and the writing was decent enough.

But don't let that fool you. Normally, I am one to read a book on whim. I won't go into an extensive search of reviews/ratings, I'll just see a book with a pretty cover* and think, "hey, let's read this!"

*Yes, I judge books by cover. BUT I KNOW YOU DO TOO!*

The actual content of the story included a lot of graphic sex talk and teenage drama and damned stereotypes!
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Jill is one of those kids everyone envies. She is a good kid. She gets good grades. Her friend Ramie is the type she can tell anything to ... or is she? You see, Jill has a secret. Once a month, she has to go into hiding for four days. Everyone at school, include Ramie, thinks she has a rare blood disease and that she takes the time out of school for blood transfusions. The reality is that for those four days, she is locked up in her bedroom.

You see, she was born a hermaphrodite, one of those pe
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Cycler can’t be read alone. You have to read it with the follow-up, Re-cycler; in my opinion they are one book, and if you only read one, you might leave with a bad taste in your mouth. More on this in a moment; first a brief synopsis:

Since she was 14, Jill spends 4 days every month as Jack. Yep, every month she undergoes a painful transformation into someone completely different-- a boy, complete with boy parts, and boy desires. During those four days, Jill/Jack stays home under the pretense of
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LAUREN MCLAUGHLIN is the author of five novels, Send Pics, Cycler, (Re)Cycler, Scored, and The Free. She has also written the children’s pictures books Wonderful You and Mitzi Tulane Preschool Detective, both of which feature adoptive families. She is an adoptive mother herself. Prior to her career in fiction, she spent ten years in the film business. She produced commercials and music videos for ...more

Other books in the series

Cycler (2 books)
  • (Re)cycler (Cycler, #2)

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