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Their Troublesome Crush

(Kink & Showtunes #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  45 reviews
In this queer polyamorous m/f romance novella, two metamours realize they have crushes on each other while planning their shared partner's birthday party together.

Ernest, a Jewish autistic demiromantic queer fat trans man submissive, and Nora, a Jewish disabled queer fat femme cis woman switch, have to contend with an age gap, a desire not to mess up their lovely polyamor
Kindle Edition, 143 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Xan West
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  135 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Claudie Arseneault
I love Xan West's books. They always feel like being invited in a space of warmth, understanding, and kindness, where everyone gets to be their amazing fat, disabled, autistic, queer polyamorous & kinky selves fully, without compromises but not without erasing the struggles that come with such things.

THEIR TROUBLESOME CRUSH has a demiromantic MC dealing with the realisation that he has a new romantic crush, and the upheaval and possibilities this open, and I absolutely adored Ernest's evolution
I've been reading romance novels to distract me from my anxiety surrounding this pandemic, and it's been working pretty well for me, especially with this book! I started it before going to sleep, and I absolutely had to read it in one sitting, just because it made me feel so much better.

This book was chock-full of representation, and it was honestly such a treat. I'm personally not kinky or polyamorous, so if you are, this book will likely work even better for you than it did for me. But I am qu
Charlie Marie
Just the softest, most lovely, non-monogamous romance, complete with queer chosen family, non-sexual kink, own-voices autistic rep, and lots of trans joy! SWOON!
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Boy how I wished this was longer and that I could spend more time in the world of these characters. I wish I hadn't finished it so quickly, but it was really, really hard to put down because every scene was a delight.

I also wish I could give a book over 5 stars. Maybe even 7 or 8. Their Troublesome Crush was just that singular in the way fat characters were described, how deeply the POV character's autism informed the narrative, and how attraction was described and approached.

I loved that Ernest
RoAnna Sylver
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gems
Absolutely loved this. <3 Would absolutely love it even if I hadn't had the pleasure of editing it! So freaking sweet and validating, really funny in parts, wonderfully vulnerable and real and intensely relatable (especially to autistic readers, who definitely need more books like this). ...more
Xan West
Hi there, this is the author. I wanted to note that you can find content warnings for this book here:
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
When I first joined the Romance community Corey Alexander (who wrote as Xan West) was one of the first people to greet me and make me welcome. I’ve waited far too long to read one of their stories, because I wish I could tell them how much I found joy and pleasure in Their Troublesome Crush. The story of the crush between metamours Ernest, a trans man and service submissive, and Nora, a cis woman switch, was just lovely. The care and attention paid to to their needs and feelings was a place of s ...more
Virginia Rounds
Jun 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Not your usual romance, but a thoroughly enjoyable one! It has left me thinking about so many things, and I just love that.

A quick summary: Ernest and Nora's crush is “troublesome” because it would mean a major shift in their dynamic, and both are nervous about it.
This book has a lot of thoughts and insight into attraction and aromanticism, two things that have been on my mind lately.
Here, Ernest parses the different kinds of attraction he has for Nora.
Romantic – yes he wants to date her
I love this book so much! <3
I bought it for a friend even before I finished reading it :D

During the story I kept going from 'finally, a book that's about (certain parts of) my life' to 'I wish this was my life'.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic read. I really appreciated reading how Ernest stimmed and thought through his feelings and what he focused on when he needed to feel better. The same day I finished it, I was able to use some of the strategies Ernest uses to get me through a tough situation. I'm also planning to use some of the models of him conversing with others, to talk about my concerns about how I act in a situation.

I really liked the ways that Ernest knew things to do based on how he felt, and that he was
Daire Faust
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, bdsm
I highly recommend Their Troublesome Crush to anyone interested in BDSM Romance that gives you the Warm-n-Fuzzies.

I fell in love with Their Troublesome Crush when I saw the cover art. It depicted beautiful art and colors that caught the eye in general but seeing a romance novel that proudly showed not just one but two fat characters, right there on the cover! I squealed in delight and didn’t care who saw me wiggling with happiness. At that point I absolutely had to read this story.

From the very
Penelope Peters
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This story read like comfort reading for me - you know, the books you pick up when you just want to wallow in a happy, soft story where nothing truly awful is going to happen and you're more or less assured that things will end up okay? Yeah, this was totally that. Not that there aren't stakes - there are definitely stakes and the characters are stressed and worried and hesitant and there's existing and potential relationships on the line, etc and so forth.

What I mean is, though, that it's clear
This was a really charming book!! Just soft, low angst queers falling in love🥰

Content Warnings: pulled these from the author's website! Detailed description of gender dysphoria, References to: being misgendered by family, familial estrangement, depression, being a survivor & managing PTSD, fat oppression, trans oppression and ableism. Brief reference to familial pressure to mask autism, Use of the term “queer” as a reclaimed slur, reference to the lesbian sex wars.Many references to BDSM, inclu
Oct 12, 2020 is currently reading it
This book contains:

- a description of the cover *throws Thai noodles down and has a f*ing moment*
- content warnings
- brief note about trans and nb terms
- brief note about bdsm and polyamory terms

Traditional publishing could never!

If you've read the synopsis, you know this book has a ton of rep. But the best part, for me, was seeing more than max 2 labels attached to a character. In the real world, many of us aren't just gay, just aspec, just black, just a walking study specimen for a rare hered
Genesee Rickel
Dec 21, 2019 added it
Shelves: novella
Didn’t actually start this one, but I WILL someday.
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lovely, wonderful, heartening. Such a vision of consent, care, communication.

I hate that there will be no more - I miss Corey greatly.
Like a warm hug!

[content notes can be found in front matter and on author’s website here:]

Reading Their Troublesome Crush felt like a warm hug. I loved how noticeably autistic Ernest is and getting to see him stim and flap felt so lovely. I loved all the chosen family and the ways all the characters interacted and supported one another. I’d love to see more of Ernest with Gideon and Gideon with Nora, but I adored the slow transition of Ernest and Nora’s m
Sage Agee
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This rewrote my expectations for erotica/romance. The representation, constant communication and kink negotiations. I learned so many terms I didn’t even know I could apply to myself!

Rep: disability, autism, trans masc, trans nonbinary, queer, bisexual, Jewish, anxiety, depression, fat, arospec, diabetes, touch-aversion, D/s dynamic, probably more??
Nicole Field
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: polyamory, autism-rep
I read an earlier version of this novella, but this is my first time reading it as a finished and published piece. A little over a year or so ago, I asked the author if they would possibly write a polyamorous story about metamours--one that doesn't end in a triad--because they were (and still are) difficult to find.

The end result was this novella.

Ernest is a gorgeous trans man who doesn't pass all the time and has the same problem with not being able to breath when wearing binders that I do. T
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
2021 Read Harder: Fat-Positive Romance, Romance by Trans or Nonbinary Author, & Own Voices Book About Disability

So I should say that this book, since it was about metamours in a polyamorous relationship, definitely felt a very out of my normal romance (and knowledge) zone when I started reading it but then once I got settled I LOVED it. **Small complaint, I wish the Kindle book hadn't automatically skipped over the front matter which had the list of trans and non-binary terms because then I woul
Mar 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
(I read this for Book Riot’s 2021 Read Harder Challenge: #7 Read a fat-positive romance). This was a pure delight of a book, and exceedingly destigmatizing of kink and polyamory communities. And a fat-positive romance, too. Was it "Great Literature"? No, but who cares. For what the non-binary author Xan West has set out to do, they did it well. I was invested in these characters. Fascinated by the scenes---I learned so much. I'm kind of dumbfounded by what I do not know about kink and polyamory, ...more
Alex (Pucksandpaperbacks)
CW: Detailed description of gender dysphoria, References to being misgendered by family, reference to familial estrangement, References to fat oppression, trans oppression, and ableism, references to being a survivor and managing PTSD, references to depression, brief reference to familial pressure to mask autism, use of the term “queer” as a reclaimed slur, reference to the lesbian sex wars, many references to BDSM, including Daddy/boy dynamic, D/s, service, bondage, and pain play, depiction of ...more
Megan Stolz
May 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2021
I picked this up as a suggestion from the Book Riot 2021 Read Harder Challenge for the category of "read a fat-positive romance."

Overall I enjoyed the book, and it's a novella, so it's a quick read. I'm not well-versed in kink or polyamorous culture, so there was a lot of learning on my part as a reader, even just in thinking about those in terms of culture. The main thing I got from this novel, really, was to spent some time inhabiting a character who is very unlike me. The protagonist is also
Marianne | Petite.BumbleBeeBooks
Review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Their Troublesome Crush by Xan West
Ernest and Nora are metamours, their first steps to form a bond between them by organizing their dominant's birthday party goes smoothly, but soon romantic feeling starts to bubble up. They're both surprise by this attraction, Navigating these waters won't be easy, but sometimes change can prove to be the best way forward.
This book left my heart glowing. I loved how slowly and organically their relationship progressed. This book was so beaut
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, 2021
West writes confidently and well, and I loved these characters and their journey together.

Popular culture often depicts groups of cisgender heterosexual friends with one gay person who hangs out with them. This is... not my experience of the world. Many of my friend groups are chosen families of queer folks who spend time together because they love one another, but also because they are generally safe and seen and understood in that company. So to see a "kinky polyamorous queer communit[y]," as
Lauren Milewski
I read this at the suggestion of Book Riot for a Read Harder task to read a fat-positive romance. I enjoyed reading a love story about characters whose sexual orientations, gender identifications, interests, and attractions are different from my own. I thought the strongest aspect of the book by far was reading from Ernest's perspective as a person with autism as he deals with new and strong emotions. It felt like a window into the mind of someone who processes information and feelings in a way ...more
this book made me feel so so safe as a fat queer aro-spec person. I mean, I can't even describe how revolutionary it is to read a book that is so full of love and acceptance and found family that has so so so much representation all across the board. Ernest and Nora are metamours and working on planning a birthday party for their dominant, but things start to feel different for Ernest and he has to work through what seems like a crush on Nora, all while trying not to complicate things between th ...more
Michón Neal
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely, intimate portrait of kink, autism, and romance

For so long I have longed for representation like this in media, and this book such a delightful read. Plenty of queer and trans characters that just are. It's so freaking adorable how they connect and process and make space for each other. It's not really a deep read; it serves as a feel-good story of the many possibilities for relationships. And thank goodness it has polyamory that's done healthily and doesn't involve a freaking closed tr
Craig Rapp
Apr 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
I really respect the author for making an effort to write a romance that normalizes frequently stigmatized relationships. That being said, this book just isn't for me. I found it too instructive to be a pleasant novella, but not educational enough to be a guide for people not familiar with the situations explored. The characters felt like they were coming out of the page to tell me things in a very boxy and awkward way that I didn't vibe with at all.

That being said, I'm really glad that this boo
Rhiannon Grant
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A novel which uses a point-of-view character to great effect: Ernest, at the centre of the story, explores his autistic way of seeing the world, his sexuality, and personal relationships in a style which is both engaging and endearing. In fact, every character in this story was someone I would happily have lunch with, which I can't say for every romance novel I read! Warm and open-hearted, this gentle tale of metamours becoming friends and then romantically involved is definitely a feel-good rea ...more
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Xan West is the nom de plume of Corey Alexander, an autistic queer fat Jewish genderqueer writer and community activist with multiple disabilities who spends a lot of time on Twitter.

Xan's erotica has been published widely, including in the Best S/M Erotica series, the Best Gay Erotica series, and the Best Lesbian Erotica series. Their work has been described by reviewers as “offering the erotica

Other books in the series

Kink & Showtunes (2 books)
  • Tenderness: A Kink & Showtunes story

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