Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Going to college gives eighteen-year-old Trey Porter a chance to experience the world beyond rural Alabama and his overbearing family. After staying in a motel due to a housing error at the school, Trey’s friend, Bryce, offers to let Trey stay with him. The fascination Trey feels with Bryce’s gorgeous, glamorous, and somewhat outrageous boyfriend, Co-Co, catches him totally off guard, because Trey’s never considered himself even remotely gay. At least that’s what he’s always believed. Trey prides himself on being tolerant, but it’s hard to handle the questions he faces about life and himself—and even harder to accept that there might be no simple answers.
This was my second book by Caitlin Ricci. She recommended it to me herself, after I’d complained about the lack of detail in “Running With the Pack”. At first, I was a bit hesitant because several reviewers mentioned crossdressing and trans themes, which I’m usually not so fond of. But I’m really grateful for the recommendation, because I absolutely loved this book.
Trey, Bryce and Co-Co are three wonderfully unusual people. “Normal is a setting in the laundry, nothing more” will probably stay a favourite quote of mine for a long time to come. And it’s a perfect summary of our three MCs. I really liked all three of them, though Trey seemed just a tad too innocent at times. His utter lack of understanding of any sort of sexual innuendo seemed a bit unrealistic to me, even if he is asexual.
The plot itself is on the slower side, without all that much action. But that worked wonderfully for the story Caitlin Ricci was trying to tell. There was some angst and Co-Co made for plenty of drama, but it was never over the top. Just like in “Running With the Pack”, Trey’s asexuality and Co-Co’s gender identity were portrayed in a very positive way. I really liked that.
Even though Trey is asexual, there were quite a few sex scenes. It was really interesting to find out how Bryce and Co-Co let Trey be part of their love-making, without him being part of the action itself. The sex scenes definitely worked to further the plot and weren’t just there for the fun of it. They were still hot, of course, but it didn’t devolve into simple porn.
The love between the three of them was obvious, without ever turning cheesy. The ending was simply perfect and so very romantic it almost had me tearing up a little.
Long story short: “Crush” is a wonderful coming of age story, with three pretty unusual MCs. While Trey occasionally seemed a bit too naïve, I still really liked all three of them.
Cover: The cover by Caitlin Ricci shows Trey lying in the grass, looking thoughtful. It’s simple and yet somehow brilliant.
ebook, 200 pages
Published November 26th 2015 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634762711 (ISBN13: 9781634762717)