Title: A Boy Called Cin
Author: Cecil Wilde
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Pages/Word Count: 150 Pages
At a Glance: I love diversity in my books. I have really enjoyed the few transgender-related books that I’ve read, but I think Cecil Wilde tried to do too much here.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: 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 in 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.
Review: This was a really interesting read…I’m actually having a bit of trouble putting into words all of my thoughts on this book. I’m not gonna do any type of synopsis recap – which I don’t typically do much of in my reviews anyway – but instead, I’m going with a sort of stream-of-consciousness of my thoughts.
I liked both main characters quite a bit. Tom is a sexy billionaire with a heart of gold, and Cin is a twenty-year-old art student. Cin is snarky and intelligent, and, honestly, seems very put-together for being so young. Tom is basically just a huge sweetheart, who seems to wear his heart on his sleeve. They were very cute and sweet together. In fact, for the most part, that’s how I would characterize A Boy Called Cin: cute and sweet. I would describe it as fairytale-ish, even – which I think perhaps was the author’s intent. I don’t think that every book that deals with heavy subjects has to necessarily feel heavy, so in that regard I like what Cecil Wilde did here.
A Boy Called Cin deals with gender topics that are oftentimes confusing for a lot of people, transgender and gender dysphoria, or genderqueer, mainly. Cin is transgender, born biologically female, but identifies as male. Tom, we discover, is genderqueer. He doesn’t feel like a girl, per se, but doesn’t always feel entirely male either. Then, the author throws in there that Tom’s sister, Poppy, is also trans. Now, I love diversity in my books. I have really enjoyed the few transgender-related books that I’ve read, but I think Cecil Wilde tried to do too much here. Learning about Cin and what he was going through, and what he needed in order to truly feel like himself, was interesting and engaging.
Tom’s story, on its own, is interesting. I would have been more satisfied with the story, though, if the two hadn’t been combined, not to mention bringing the transgender sister into the mix. I think Tom could have been the same intelligent, handsome, open-hearted, open-minded man that he was, who fell in love with Cin just as he was, without him also having gender issues. I felt like it took away from Cin’s story a bit. That’s just my opinion, of course. Perhaps the author is writing from experience, though…maybe a similar thing happened to them in their life. Who knows? I realize it’s not my story. As far as a reading experience, however, it was a lot to wrap my mind around.
The other slightly quirky thing about the book was the writing style. Written in the present tense, it definitely jumped out at me. On the one hand, it was kind of cool; the book read as a documentary almost – a sort of a play by play of the action. As most fiction books are written in the past tense, it was noticeably different. Unfortunately, because of that it was also somewhat of a distraction. I have to admit that it did pull me out of the story on several occasions, just because my mind kept recognizing it as unusual. It came across as somewhat less personal at times, especially during some of the more intimate scenes.
Overall, I enjoyed the characters and the snappy dialogue very much. Cin and Tom were just as cute as they could be. The book was definitely thought-provoking as well. I think if you can go into it with an open mind, and overlook some of the tidy set-ups, you will enjoy it and even learn a few things you may not have previously understood about gender.
You can buy A Boy Called Cin here: