Review: Crush by Caitlin Ricci

The cover of Crush, by Caitlin Ricci. It shows a blond boy in a white shirt lying down on the grass, looking up.

This is part of my series of reviews of fiction published by Harmony Ink Press featuring asexual characters. You can find the introduction here.

What Is This Story About?

Trey Porter, eighteen years old, from Alabama, is leaving his hometown for the first time to attend a college in Colorado. He ends up moving in with a gay man, and gets to learn about his roommate’s relationship with his boyfriend.

Trey thinks he’s straight, but he’s also a virgin, and he’s never been on a date. His parents want him to bring home a girlfriend for Christmas, but somehow, Trey has trouble getting this whole dating business started. And living with his gay roommate, he’s wondering if he really is straight after all…

What Sexual and/or Violent Content Does This Story Have, If Any?

There are sex scenes. The sex scenes are not written at the ‘tab A goes into slot B’ level of detail, but they ain’t fade to black either. All of the sex is consensual. Additionally, there is a ton of kissing, mostly consensual.

Violence … there is a brief reference to past child molestation. There is a scene where one character beats up another character, and a scene where an angry person tries to grab someone, and drags someone else away.

Tell Me More About This Novel.

Aw man, the feels. And I don’t even particularly relate to any of the characters’ situations. I suspect it would be even more intense if I did relate more to the characters’ situations.

At the beginning, the writer says “This one is for anyone that has ever felt like boxes are for cats to sit in, not for people to be labelled into.” And that is the kind of story this is. There are various sexual/gender minorities represented in this novel – there is a genderfluid character, for example. One line from the novel is “Bryce is the most normal one out of the three of us, being a gay man. And that’s saying something.”

Are they authentic, living characters, or do they read like examples from a textbook on sexual diversity? Your mileage may vary. I liked the way it was done, but I could imagine it being too pedantic for some readers.

On the one hand, there is emotional struggle throughout the story. I’m not going into details, because most of them would be spoilers. On the other hand, the bedrock of the story is a really sweet and heart-warming triad which gave me confidence as a reader that, even with the emo-drama, things were going to turn out okay for the protagonists.

So, Asexuality?

On the asexuality content scale (1 = ‘By the way, I’m asexual’ and asexuality is never mentioned again, 10 = a story all about asexuality and little else) I would rate this story as a 5.

Since this is an ‘asexual’ novel, I figured very quickly that Trey is asexual. He keeps on talking about his awkward feelings of (not) dating and not being interested in sex, and I kept on wanting to tell him “Hey, have you heard of this thing called asexuality as a sexual orientation?” Part of the suspense which kept stringing me through this story what that I was wondering if or when Trey was going to figure it out.

There are ideas in this story which are not directly about asexuality yet still relevant to many asexuals. For example, there is a character who was sexually abused as a child, and when that character comes out as gay as a teenager, the family says that it can’t be real gayness, it’s just an after-effect of being sexually abused as a child. This seems a lot like the way people try to invalidate the asexuality of asexual survivors of sexual abuse.

Was This Written by an Asexual?

I don’t know.

Hey Sara, Do You Like This Novel?

Yes, I do like this novel. I like it a lot.

Where Can I Get This Novel?

I got it from the Dreamspinner Store. One may also get it from the Harmony Ink Store (note: the Dreamspinner Store often has sales, the Harmony Ink Store not so much), and from various eBook retailers.

5 thoughts on “Review: Crush by Caitlin Ricci

  1. Pingback: Reviewing Asexual Fiction Published by Harmony Ink Press | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

  2. Hey, just wanted to say thanks for this review! I impulse-bought Crush after reading this post. I got around to reading it earlier this week and really enjoyed it. Trey is just adorable~

  3. Pingback: Review: Of Monsters and Men by Caitlin Ricci | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

  4. Pingback: The Most Different Kinds of Ace Characters I Can Think of | The Notes Which Do Not Fit

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