After graduation, Kieran expected to go straight into a career of flipping burgers—only to be offered the internship of his dreams at a political campaign. But the pressure of being an out trans man in the workplace quickly sucks the joy out of things, as does Seth, the humorless campaign strategist who watches his every move.
Soon, the only upside to the job is that Seth has a painful crush on their painfully straight boss, and Kieran has a front row seat to the drama. But when Seth proves to be as respectful and supportive as he is prickly, Kieran develops an awkward crush of his own—one which Seth is far too prim and proper to ever reciprocate.
Title: Coffee Boy
Author: Austin Chant
Published: Oct. 2016
Genre: M/M Romance
I think the highest compliment I can give this book is that I wanted it to be longer. I sparingly read novellas like this because I know it’s going to go one of two ways. Either there just isn’t going to be time to set up everything the author wants to get across, or I’m going to fall in love with these characters and desperately hope for a sequel or that maybe Amazon is lying and it’s really 400 pages instead of 100.
Fortunately (but also unfortunately?) Coffee Boy falls into the latter category. Here we have the story of a trans man named Kieran as he accepts an internship to work on an election with his former professor. Enter Seth, senior supervisor who has a crush on Kieran’s former professor, but maybe, just maybe, he’s developing feelings for Kieran too?
Honestly I was going in expecting a nice romance with some smutty scenes, that’s sort of what I was wanting after my last few heavier reads, but oh boy was I super surprised by Coffee Boy. In just 103 pages (mine was at least I suppose it varies), Chant manages to talk about so much. From pronouns in the work place, to body image, identifying as ‘queer’ and the use of the word as a label. There’s just so much here to discuss that I have no doubt I could be here for hours.
And not only that, but Chant crafted some very well rounded characters. I found myself connecting to Kieran in the ways we both handled our pronouns. Wanting to correct people when the wrong ones were used, but also not wanting to be the ‘bad guy’ who made others feel alienated because they’d occasionally forget or slip up. It was sort of this connection in both knowing that we want to be called what we are, but also this strange feeling of correcting people we don’t know or haven’t worked it.
Also, just more trans men in M/M romance, please and thank you!
Then we have Seth, who is a bisexual man who gets to say it in the text! Who isn’t ashamed of it, who doesn’t like to identify with the ‘queer’ umbrella term. He’s also so caring in the way he interacts with Kieran. From the way he treats Kieran’s pronouns to the way we see him truly comes to care about Kieran as more than just an intern. These are just all around some fantastic characters that I really, REALLY want to see more of!
Sidenote: Seth is quite the fan of peppermint in his coffee. A man after my own heart!
The smut was a nice touch too, and from the moment Kieran and Seth reunited at this night club I could see where this was headed. Is it a spoiler to talk about the sex? It comes at the end but there’s no big reveal…
Well I won’t spoil just in case, but lets just say that this does subvert the typical M/M expectations I’m sure many of us have. I just really, really liked these scenes, especially since it showed how caring and kind and gentle Kieran and Seth are with one another.
In short, Coffee Boy is a must read for any fan of M/M books, or even just romance books in general, especially if you like them done realistically and with a cast more diverse than just two gay white men being fetishized for 200 pages. Plus it’s a short read and can be purchased on the cheap side from places like Amazon! So do yourself a favor and buy it!