The winners of yesterday’s JESSICA Z Giveaway are:
Leslie of cuteonthecheap.com
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!