So-so sequel mines more sex topics, adds more teen drinking.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Mildly positive messaging on what defines sexuality and gender and how one should treat their friends.

Positive role models

The main characters do some stupid things in the process of learning more about themselves -- including drinking and trying to have sex with people to escape their problems -- but ultimately they show progress working through their problems. Teens can learn from their experiences.


A mild fight between two guys and some threats of violence.


Lots of sexual banter, sexual encounters, and one girl repeatedly talks about and tries to lose her virginity. Also talk of some pictures a couple took while having sex and a group of guys who trade girls after they've had sex with them, then rate them according to a chart.


Usage of "s--t" and "damn" throughout the novel.


Most name-brand use like Vivienne Westwood and Converse are used descriptively particularly when one of the characters is talking about her stylist/fashion designer training.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Several under-21 characters drink alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that like the first book in this series, Cycler, this novel deals with themes of sexuality, gender, and relationships. There are sexual situations with descriptions (including mentions of teens trading partners and rating them and a girl trying to lose her virginity), lots of teen drinking, some swearing ("s--t" and "damn"), and very mild violence by way of a fist fight.

What's the story?

Jack and Jill inhabit the same body, well Jill gets it for most of the month and for four days a month Jack has a turn. This can make for some pretty sticky situations as most people aren't willing to accept a girl that turns into a guy when most girls just get their period. Jill had a "Jack episode" at prom and decided it was best to leave her small town for the Big Apple with her best friend Ramie, who happens to be Jack's girlfriend. Trying to find her way in a big city, coping with Jack's needs, and missing Tommy, her bisexual boyfriend, Jill has a lot on her plate. Will she ever find a way to be true to both sides of herself, her friendship, and her relationship with Tommy?

Is it any good?


After the action-packed, brain-twisting first novel, Cycler fans may be disappointed in (RE)CYCLER. Author Lauren McLaughlin still incorporates a wicked, witty voice to the piece as seen through the eyes of both Jack and Jill, but some of the sheen has rubbed off of this one. The book mainly centers around Jill's dating issues and mundane existence. Jack is struggling to find a place in a world he only exists for four days a month, while trying to maintain his relationship with Ramie. There are some intriguing characters and events that do perk the novel up in places, but the majority of this book feels like it's just a segue to the next one in the series.

The ending is open with plenty of possibilities of the next book, however, many readers will likely wish McLaughlin had finished this one first. True fans will hang on in hopes of a third book while those new to the series might want to start with the first one -- or they'll be as gender-confused as Jack and Jill.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about gender. What traits are attributed to each gender? Are these absolutes? Which ones are stereotypes?

  • How do you feel about Jill's journey to losing her virginity? How do feel about the advice her friends have given her? What advice would you give?

  • Jane and Ramie's friendship changes throughout the novel. How do you deal with changes in your friendships? What mistakes have you made? How have you learned from them?

Book details

Author:Lauren McLaughlin
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date:August 25, 2009
Number of pages:288
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17
Read aloud:15
Read alone:15

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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bySilvermist1977E June 9, 2012

Too see the truth before becoming even more confused about themself

Wel, my 15 year old daughter read this book and told me it was interesting but at the same time confusing "There's too many things happening at once. mom,You really don't begin understanding the story until about the middle of the book." She said to me. I'm not saying the condition of the character isn't important for a teenager or the family of that teenager.to understand. However the condition Jack/Jill is struggling with throughout the story,just isn't very common. Today in the 20th century, You hear more stories about Homosexuality, Teenagers who deal with eating disorders,drugs and violence.than Hermaphrodites So in my opinion your teenager would be better off learning about those.Maybe if the author skipped over the Hermaphrodite part and went right into the Bisexuality of Tommy,or the characters trying to lose their virginity.This book would attract your teenager more.Help him/her understand how to deal with those situationsOtherwise I would have to agree with my daughter. There are too many things happening in the story at the same time,making it difficult to follow.For a teenager between 15-18 at least. I think the situation of Jill dating a bisexual boy,or being attracted to her best friend Ramie,is much more common within the generation of teenagers today. I'm not saying the author isn't talented, or that this story is important,but she should look through the eyes of a teenage girl or boy,explaining the situations our teenagers deal with every day
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Adult Written bymsc August 3, 2011

So many questions!

This is an interesting book that will definitely create questions about gender and sexuality in readers, regardless of their age. Younger teens (and probably a number of parents, too!) will need some help and discussion to understand exactly what is going on. I liked that Jack and Jill had allies who understood and supported them in a mostly realistic way, and that the complicated relationship between Jack and Jill and his/her parents rang very true. This book is an excellent platform for starting a dialogue about transgender and transsexual issues.
Teen, 14 years old Written byBabyBri84 June 20, 2010


Honestly i hate books that have anything to do with Bisexuality and Homosexuality. When they right these things in books, younger kids can read them and be a little curious. I mean thats a good thing but you will no if your attracted to the same sex. You wont need an influence. Like i know im straight. If you feel attracted to someone of the same sex, then go 4 it. But dont read a book that has to do with the subject and be like "Hmmm mabye i should try dating a girl/boy." I hate that it could influence kids like that


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