Title: A Boy Called Cin
Author Name & Publisher: Cecil Wilde (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 8th, 2015 – 169 pages
On the search for a cup of coffee before the guest lecture he’s giving, Tom spies a tired, half-frozen young man who looks even more need of coffee than him. On impulse, he buys the man a cup—but an attempt to strike up conversation ends in the young man walking off, seemingly put off by Tom Walford—the tabloids’ favourite billionaire—buying him coffee. But when he reappears in Tom’s lecture, all Tom knows is that he doesn’t want the man slipping away a second time.
Agreeing to dinner with a man he only knows from internet gossip columns isn’t the wisest decision Cin’s ever made, but he wants to like the infamous Tom Walford and he can’t do that if he doesn’t give the man a fair chance to be likeable. Which he is, almost frustratingly so, to the point Cin wishes maybe he hadn’t been so fair because he never had any intention of getting attached to Tom, who seems to come from a world far too different from his own for anything between them to last. Little does Cin know, they’ve got a lot more in common than he imagines—including their shared discomfort with their assigned genders, and all the complications that go with it.
This is proof for me that disliking a character’s personality–even a main romantic lead–does not prevent enjoyment of the story. I didn’t like Cin pretty much at all, other than his patience with helping Tom learn new things about himself. Cin was pretty much just not a particularly nice or likable person. However, I could see what Tom appreciated, and that’s why my personal feelings mattered less in this case. Their relationship was loving and sweet.
There are two reasons this doesn’t get 5 stars from me even though it was good. First, I really don’t need a trans primer myself. It felt at times like info-dump and training on “how to have sex with a trans person,” which is really not universal. I’d rather read a story where being trans is only one part of the story, not the entire thing. Second, I got really, really tired of hearing about Tom’s age and how “old” he was. This is not actually how 40-year-old people think of themselves or how we behave, and we are not all one heart attack away from death after vigorous sex, so it was incredibly off-putting. I would not tolerate a lover or partner who kept negatively referencing my age, and I had no idea why Tom was willing to do so. I’m a bit weary of the “young kid schools much older person” trope.