Title: Adulting 101
Author: Lisa Henry
Publisher: Fox Love Press
Release Date: August 15th 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, New Adult
Page Count: 231
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
The struggle is real.
Nick Stahlnecker is eighteen and not ready to grow up yet. He has a summer job, a case of existential panic, and a hopeless crush on the unattainable Jai Hazenbrook. Except how do you know that your coworker’s unattainable unless you ask to blow him in the porta-potty?
That’s probably not what Dad meant when he said Nick should act more like an adult.
Twenty-five-year-old Jai is back in his hometown of Franklin, Ohio, just long enough to earn the money to get the hell out again. His long-term goal of seeing more of the world is worth the short-term pain of living in his mother’s basement, but only barely.
Meeting Nick doesn’t fit in with Jai’s plans at all, but, as Jai soon learns, you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to have the adventure of a lifetime.
This is not a summer romance. This is a summer friendship-with-benefits. It’s got pizza with disgusting toppings, Netflix and chill, and accidental exhibitionism. That’s all. There are no feelings here. None. Shut up.
“Adulting is hard.
The struggle is real.
It is. It really, really is.
Lisa Henry is one amazing storyteller! I’m usually scared shitless to pick up her books, because there’s so much darkness and heartache in them. But a review promised this is not rapey, and I know that she nails NA, because Prescott College series. I’m so glad I decided to read this one.
Adulting 101 is fun! No, seriously, it’s REALLY funny! The kind that makes you laugh so hard, you have to keep wiping your tears. This is comedy material, people! But make no mistake, there are feels too, because Lisa Henry. And underneath it all, there is the core of the matter: the struggle of adulting.
Nick, the eighteen year-old character, has absolutely no filter. He blurts out the first thing that comes to mind, and keeps screwing things up. To his father’s disappointment , he has no plans about the future, and can’t even hold down a summer job. But he’s horny. Yes, Nick is horny all.the.time! Because 18 years old!
“Nick had thought that once he was getting off regularly with someone other than his own hand, he’d maybe learn some control or something? Get just enough experience to say, Hey there, boner, what do you say you settle the fuck down for a minute, huh? That does not appear to have happened at all. Nick probably needs more experience.”
And then there’s Jai…
“There’s always a part of Jai looking to escape. Escape this conversation, escape the grind, escape this small town. He spends his days lugging bricks and dreaming of the world outside Franklin, Ohio.”
Yup, that about sums it up.
Like I said, this is low angst and ridiculously funny, but it’s so real. I work with teenagers every day, and I can tell you that NOT all of them have a life plan. On the contrary, most of them are terrified and clueless about the future, despite the attitude. And feeling like losers, like Nick did, doesn’t help at all. The author hits the nail on the head! And the way the story ended in that regard, was so fitting. This is exactly what Nick needed to do.
“Like, does becoming an adult mean losing a part of himself? Or is he just being a fucking teenage drama queen?”
As for the romance, it felt just right. If you ‘re looking for hearts and flowers or vows for eteral love, you won’t find it here. And really, considering Nick’s age and Jai’s character, it would seem totally fake. BUT there is a very strong connection between these two and you can tell without a doubt that they ‘re falling hard for each other.
The ending, IMO, is a strong HFN. Again, I felt it was very fitting for this story. I’ll quote Rainbow Rowell here: “17-year-olds don’t get endings. They get beginnings.” That said, I wouldn’t mind at all seeing Nick and Jai again, having a more solid ending.
I admit that I didn’t manage to get used to the third-person present-tense POV, but this didn’t stop me from enjoying the story, which speaks volumes for the quality of the writing. Overall, this was great, and I definitely recomend it. And most of all, so much FUN!
“I was totally going to ask if I could top you tonight,” he whispers when Jai breaks the kiss. “Then I had some beer for, like, Dutch courage, and then some more, and now I’m so courageous I’m sort of seeing double, and I think if you had two asses I wouldn’t know which one to aim for.”