Xan West's Reviews > A Boy Called Cin

A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde
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it was amazing
bookshelves: trans-enby-romance, translit, geek-romance, need-trans-review, age-gap, over-40-mc, trans-enby-rom-recd, bisexual-mcs, trans-man-mc, enby-char, 2018-queer-reads, enby-author, color-blue, color-green
Read 3 times. Last read May 19, 2018 to May 22, 2018.

This is a seriously beautiful, radical, trans and non-binary centered romance that blows me away. Cis gaze is only in the book as far as the non-binary character has internalized it, and that's gently and firmly challenged by the trans love interest.

I just finished rereading this book for the third time, about 18 months after my first read. I picked it up at the end of a really rough gender day, and have been slowly sipping it over the course of several days, as a way of holding it close as a comfort read. I mentioned picking it up again, and a trans friend called it "the ultimate trans comfort read." I think he's right, at least for me. I needed this book this week, and I'm glad to have been able to hold it close. 

I fell so hard for A Boy Called Cin because it felt like it held my experience more closely than any other trans romance I’d read, that it was written for me as a non-binary trans reader. Part of that was because there wasn’t a cis love interest. It shaped the book, on a really deep level. 

I was breathless and verklempt reading A Boy Called Cin. It hits so many notes at once in a very lovely way, and feels very firmly written for trans &/or non-binary readers.

If you were hoping for a billionaire romance that centers trans and/or non-binary people getting their financial dreams come true, this book is for you.

A Boy Called Cin takes these classic romance tropes like May/December romance and billionaire romance, and shows what they might be like if they were trans and non-binary centered. Shows what a romance arc might look like if the cis gaze wasn’t part of it, except in the ways that trans and/or non-binary people internalize it and need to unlearn it. It shows the critical importance of deeply consensual negotiated sex for trans and/or non-binary people, how central that needed to be in order for both characters to feel seen and respected in their genders. It doesn’t just center two trans and/or non-binary characters; I loved the way even the secondary characters were pretty much almost all trans.

I love it most for the way its so deeply trans & non-binary centered, for the fabulous sexual negotiation that's deeply trans and non-binary. and especially for Cin. I fell so damn hard for Cin right along with Tom, his grumpiness, his certainty about the importance of boundaries & consent, the way he really saw Tom.

For me, one of the most amazing things that can happen in sex and in kink is to have my partner see my gender and hold space for me to be who I am. And it’s incredibly tender for me to do that for my trans and/or non-binary partners. That kind of recognition is rare enough in life; it’s even more rare in fiction. There was something so intense and beautiful about getting to read an entire love story that included those experiences of recognition in a larger romance arc. It made me cry, to watch Tom get to have that for the first time after years of not having it in his sex life. To watch Cin get to offer that, and be held and honored in return by Tom. It felt like it had cracked scars open, and they were getting the light and air they needed to begin to heal. It made me feel less alone.

I know that this book will be read by many as fantasy wish fulfillment for Cin (the whole billionaire thing). And it definitely is that. But for me, as a genderqueer reader, Cin is a fantasy of a dream lover who sees your gender & holds space for you to be who you are. It happens during sex, as well, which feels like such a gift to me personally. I just swooned for the ways sex is working in this book.

I am very grateful that A Boy Named Cin exists in the world. This is a trans m/nb romance that really touched my heart and gave me so many feels. It gave me comfort on a day when I needed it, and created a pocket of space that could really hold my gender. I needed that more than I knew.

A Boy Called Cin gives me so much hope for the kinds of trans and/or non-binary romance books that are possible.

Content Warnings (view spoiler)
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Quotes Xan Liked

Cecil Wilde
“If you can't set your own boundaries, I don't want to be in any kind of relationship with you.”
Cecil Wilde, A Boy Called Cin

Cecil Wilde
“I don't want to be rewarded for extracting enthusiastic consent from you. The fact that a lot of people haven't taken what you want into account isn't a reflection on me." Tom”
Cecil Wilde, A Boy Called Cin

Cecil Wilde
“I want to play with you. You should know that I'm really, honestly going to enjoy this. You don't owe me anything for it and I'm not doing you a favor. I realize this seems obvious, but I think maybe you could stand to hear it." "Yeah," Tom's voice breaks, and he pauses to clear his throat. "Yeah, I could stand to hear that. Thanks." Cin”
Cecil Wilde, A Boy Called Cin


Reading Progress

January 16, 2016 – Shelved
January 16, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 29, 2017 – Started Reading
January 29, 2017 – Shelved as: trans-enby-romance
January 29, 2017 – Shelved as: translit
January 29, 2017 –
page 28
16.57% "So I have totally fallen for Cin already and he actually made me all verklempt just now."
January 29, 2017 –
28.0%
January 29, 2017 – Finished Reading
February 15, 2017 – Shelved as: geek-romance
June 29, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
August 19, 2017 – Started Reading
August 23, 2017 – Finished Reading
November 6, 2017 – Shelved as: need-trans-review
December 25, 2017 – Shelved as: age-gap
January 30, 2018 – Shelved as: over-40-mc
February 9, 2018 – Shelved as: trans-enby-rom-recd
February 11, 2018 – Shelved as: bisexual-mcs
April 27, 2018 – Shelved as: trans-man-mc
April 27, 2018 – Shelved as: enby-char
May 19, 2018 – Started Reading
May 21, 2018 –
56.0% "This is such a good comfort read choice."
May 22, 2018 – Finished Reading
May 23, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-queer-reads
February 15, 2019 – Shelved as: enby-author
June 4, 2019 – Shelved as: color-blue
June 4, 2019 – Shelved as: color-green

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