There’s a land mine exploding outward from my stomach and lower spine. I’m not supposed to wake up in the middle of things. All of this is supposed to happen while I sleep. I shove my hand beneath the sheets, praying, hoping the transformation is nearly complete, but when I reach lower, there it is–limp, smooth and insistent.Lauren McLaughlin's new young adult novel Cycler is a teen comedy with a twist. Jill McTeague appears to be an ordinary high school student, but four days out of every month her body goes through a change: she turns into Jack, a biological boy. McLaughlin recently discussed her book's exploration of gender as part of The Big Idea series at Whatever.
He’s supposed to fade in the night and I’m supposed to wake up fully constructed. Instead, I have his thing to contend with and a deep ache that, now that I think of it, is not exploding outward but sucking inward like a vortex.
“I am all girl.”
~ Cycler, by Lauren McLaughlin
What I hope to accomplish with Cycler, other than telling a sexy, thrilling and hilarious story, is to poke holes into everyone’s conception of gender, including my own. I want to destabilize the notion of gender as a stable category. Because it isn’t stable. Whatever feels right to you now will seem quaint and ridiculous to your great grandchildren. And that is exactly as it should be.Cycler sounds like an interesting story. Read an excerpt.
My own favorite time-of-the-month tale is Suzy McKee Charnas' Hugo Award winning short story "Boobs", which captures some of the misery of puberty and adds the fantasy of being able to powerfully fight back against teasers and tormentors.
Tags:Lauren McLaughlin, Cycler