Title: Coffee Boy
Author: Austin Chant
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: 103 Pages
At a Glance: I found this to be a really interesting read, and the characters felt three-dimensional. Plus, there are a number of little surprises that made the story feel really fresh as well.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: 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.
Review: Kieran’s nervous as he approaches his new unpaid internship for a political campaign. His former professor is the nephew of the candidate, and he thinks Kieran would be great. But when the first person he interacts with misgenders him—despite his pronoun pin—things get off to a rocky start. His next conversation with Seth, the senior campaign strategist, doesn’t go a whole lot better. He wonders what the hell he’s done.
As he manages to get through his day job flipping burgers, he does, in some ways, look forward to the internship. His conversations with Seth run the gamut, but when he notices Seth’s crush on the VERY straight Marcus, the aforementioned professor, Kieran is glad to not be the only queer in the crowd. But Seth is none too happy with Kieran’s revelation or his use of the word queer, in fact.
There are a number of awkward moments, and Seth and Kieran mostly reach a sort of détente, and then something happens and they end up sharing a much more intimate conversation. When they go out for a drink after a long evening of emergency troubleshooting, things definitely change between them.
I’m not sure what exactly made me want to pick this book up, but I’m really glad I did. I’ve read a few more stories with trans characters in the last year, and I’ve really enjoyed them. I found this to be an interesting story, and the characters felt three-dimensional. I loved Seth and Kieran’s interactions and their insecurities, and there are a number of little surprises that made the story feel really fresh as well. Austin Chant has a really engaging writing style, and I hope to read more stories from him.
You can buy Coffee Boy here: