Their Troublesome Crush is a romance novella by Xan West.
cover design and illustration by Hannah Aroni
In this queer polyamorous m/f romance novella, two metamours realize they have crushes on each other while planning their shared partner’s birthday party together.
Ernest, a Jewish autistic demiromantic queer fat trans man submissive, and Nora, a Jewish disabled queer fat femme cis woman switch, have to contend with an age gap, a desire not to mess up their lovely polyamorous dynamic as metamours, the fact that Ernest has never been attracted to a cis person before, and the reality that they are romantically attracted to each other, all while planning their dominant’s birthday party and trying to do a really good job.
This low conflict foodie romance novella by Xan West includes a queer trans man/cis woman romance, forced proximity and friends to lovers tropes, and polyamorous, demiromantic, bisexual, pansexual, trans, Jewish, fat, autistic, disabled, diabetic, PTSD and depression representation.
Related Blog Posts
- Read an excerpt here.
- Interview with the cover artist
- I discuss writing the ownvoices demiromantic representation in the book over at Queer Books Unbound
Playlist of all the musical references:
Praise for Their Troublesome Crush
Everything about it is such a joy–from the characters to the lovely descriptions to the representation and more! —Leah
“Every character in this story was someone I would happily have lunch with, which I can’t say for every romance novel I read! Warm and open-hearted, this gentle tale of metamours becoming friends and then romantically involved is definitely a feel-good read.” –Rhiannon Grant
“I loved this book. I loved the representation and I love how seen it made me feel and I loved the queerness and I loved how soft and tender it was. My heart feels so good after reading this book.” –Ash
“This is an absolutely adorable book—which is not something I ever thought I’d say about a book featuring Daddy/Good Boy, D/s, and rope kinks. But Ernest, the protagonist of this novel, is a man I want to hug to death (but he’s touch averse, so only if he let me)…Did I mention the protagonist of this book also loves show tunes, and is writing a(n even) queer(er) musical version of Yentl? Yeah. You want to read this.” –Jess at Book Riot Kissing Books
“Such a thoughtful, sweet romance. The pacing was perfect, and that’s pretty difficult in a novella, especially when you’re trying to introduce a whole world of characters, relationships, and portray a believable, engaging romance. Which the author absolutely aced, btw, hence the five stars. I just love these characters so much, I’ve already re-read the book and it was no less engaging this time around.” –TheArmChairCritic
“Boy how I wished this was longer and that I could spend more time in the world of these characters. I wish I hadn’t finished it so quickly, but it was really, really hard to put down because every scene was a delight. I also wish I could give a book over 5 stars. Maybe even 7 or 8. Their Troublesome Crush was just that singular in the way fat characters were described, how deeply the POV character’s autism informed the narrative, and how attraction was described and approached.” –Ana
“Xan writes the best comfort-fic. This book has delightful queer, Jewish, autistic, Demi romantic, and kink rep. The story is sweet and wonderful like the best hug from a friend, right when you need it.” –Psygeek
- Detailed description of gender dysphoria.
- References to being misgendered by family.
- Reference to familial estrangement.
- References to fat oppression, trans oppression and ableism.
- References to being a survivor and managing PTSD.
- References to depression.
- Brief reference to familial pressure to mask autism.
- Use of the term “queer” as a reclaimed slur.
- Reference to the lesbian sex wars.
- Many references to BDSM, including Daddy/boy dynamic, D/s, service, bondage, and pain play.
- Depiction of service provided in the context of a D/s relationship.
- Depiction of a BDSM scene that includes bondage, D/s, and service (Chapter 10 only).