Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 26, 2008
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Swapped through Paperbackswap.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
“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 of Jill’s room.
But his personality has been building since the cycling began. He is less and less content with his confinement and his cycles are becoming more frequent. Now Jill’s question about the prom isn’t who she’ll go with, but who she’ll be when the big night arrives.”
This was an okay book. The premise is pretty unbelievable but it’s interesting. Basically Jill is a girl most of the time but for four days a month she literally and physically turns into a boy named Jack.
The premise is pretty far-fetched. There is mention of Jill going to tons of doctors to figure this out without an results; I am surprised that everyone would just leave her alone with such an outstanding condition. I think Jill’s family’s response (which is to suppress Jack) is a strange one that I had trouble understanding.
The story would have been much more interesting if it had focused on Jill/Jack figuring out why this happens to them. Instead the story focuses on Jill’s efforts to get a boy at school to ask her to the prom and Jack’s efforts to become more independent and seek out a girl he has a crush on.
There are a lot of GLBT dynamics to the story. For example Jill and Jack are completely straight but they obviously both have to deal with some complex boy/girl identity issues. Jill’s boyfriend ends up being bisexual; which actually didn’t have a ton of impact to the story other than Jill’s strange reaction to the information.
The story pretty much just stops as the book is getting interesting. I was frustrated that, just as things come to a head and Jack/Jill are actually going to have to start actually dealing with their coexistence in an active way, the book just ends. Very disappointing; it looks like there is a sequel to this book called Re(Cycler) that might address some of the unfinished issues, but given how this book ended I won’t be reading the second one.
The book itself flows well and has some fun snappy dialogue. Some of the slang included throughout gets a bit old. McLaughlin has her teens using the term “mal” and “deeply” to describe a lot of things; I am not sure if this was an effort to sound hip and teenish…but it mainly is just annoying.
Overall an okay book with an interesting, if far-fetched, premise. I felt like the story focused on the wrong things and then once it finally started to focusing on the “right” and more interesting topics the book just ended with absolutely no resolution…very frustrating. I don’t plan on reading the sequel.