Gender Identity and Giveaways

The winners of yesterday’s JESSICA Z Giveaway are:

Leslie of


Maureen McGowan

You know the drill!

In passing, if you are one of the winners of previous days’ giveaways and you do not contact me by Monday, I’ll draw new names. I’m totally hard core like that.

So if I’d been on my game, I’d be having a fun guest blog with the author of today’s giveaway right about now. Unfortunately, between deadlines, the new house, Rio, and family emergencies, it kind of got away from me. Bad, Diana.

Today’s giveaway is two copies of the debut novel CYCLER, by Lauren McLaughlin. The book has one of the highest-concept premises I’ve heard in a while (unsurprising, given McLaughlin’s screenwriting creds): Once a month, teen Jill McTeague becomes a boy for four days.

Talk about a bad period.

Her family’s horror at their daughter’s “condition” has led them to take extreme measures. Jill’s “boy self” is imprisoned in her room during his cycle, and Jill is instructed to repress all memories of her time spent as a boy. But their actions backfire, creating in Jill a split “boy” personality named Jack who is not only interested in Jill’s portion of their shared life, but doesn’t want to be imprisoned anymore.

Sailor Boy and I both devoured this novel, and I was fascinated with its exploration of gender identity. From the description above, you might imagine that this is a very dark book. Not at all! But there are some chilling underpinnings to the story. In an effort to make sure that Jack doesn’t “bleed” into her portion, Jill — in concert with her anti-feminist mother — has ruthlessly excised any aspect of her life or personality that may be viewed as “unfeminine.” Stuff like sports. Yeah, you read that right. Scary.

I was regularly reminded of the activities in those “scared straight” camps, where the instructors are under the delusion that men who act like men and women who act like women are no longer homosexual, as if forcing traditional gender roles will have an impact on sexual orientation? If Jill acts “like a girl” will the boy inside her disappear? As the first in a series. many of these question are not fully answered by the end of the book.

As my books regular deal with issues of the intersection of feminism, femininity, and cultural expectations of the same, I was fascinated by this exploration. (More on that when I talk about RAMPANT. RIght now we talk about CYCLER.)

It’s a great book for discussion, and we definitely had a lot in my living room after we finished!

Read more about Cycler and the story behind it on Scott Westerfeld’s blog, and at John Scalzi’s Whatever, and leave your comment here to be entered into the giveaway.

Posted in bookaholic, chick lit, giveaway winners, giveaways, other writers, SB, Scott, series

24 Responses to Gender Identity and Giveaways

  1. Elizabeth M. says:

    This sounds completely fascinating. Thank you for choosing this selection and for having the giveaway!

  2. Rhiannon says:

    Wow! Sounds so interesting!

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  4. Ellen says:

    I just saw Lauren read from the book, and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to read the whole thing!

  5. Liza says:

    This book sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to give it a shot!

  6. Jennifer says:

    ooh, I would love a shot at a copy.

  7. Phyllis Towzey says:

    What a cool idea — you’re right, VERY high concept. Can’t wait to read it — pls enter me in your drawing.

  8. Ruby says:

    Please enter me into this hat. I think it sounds interesting.

  9. Annie says:

    That sounds super interesting—I took a class on homosexuality and christian ethics, we talked a lot about gender identity in it, so I’m always interested in reading more

  10. Teresa W. says:

    Thanks for introducing me to yet another new author!

  11. Yan says:

    Sounds amazing and bizarre at the same time. Love to win a copy!

  12. Elaine R says:

    Sounds like a totally different book! Please enter me.

  13. Beth says:

    that sounds like a really interesting book!

  14. Tez Miller says:

    Would love to be in the running, please.

    Have a lovely day! 🙂

  15. I might as well enter! Please consider me!

  16. Lauren says:

    Thanks, Diana! I love your take on the book. One of the really great things I’ve discovered since my book came out is how thoughtful and creative so many readers are. I feel like, now that it’s out there, I can sit back and listen to this fascinating conversation as people engage with the book. Thanks!

  17. Yippee about the win and boy does Cycler sound like a great book.

  18. Oh yeah. Been wanting to read that one ever since I heard about it!

  19. It’s Monday. I’m contacting by Monday, because of your hard core comment. Although I’m not sure if I was one of the ones that was supposed to contact. Just happy to have my lol puppy posted after my lol cat lost/late entry over at Smart B’s last year. 😉

  20. Jess says:

    have wanted to check this book out for a while; been hearing great things all over the place. 🙂

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  22. Jen says:

    Wow, another terrific premise!

  23. PurpleRanger says:

    I’m having a flashback to Suzy McKee Charnas’s short story “Boobs.” In that story, the girl became a werewolf during her period. Talk about PMS . . .

  24. Erica R says:

    Holy crap. I *must* read this book. /dashes to amazon