Author: Lisa HenrySeries: Standalone
Released: August 15th 2016
Length: 231 pages
Source: Publisher for review
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.
When accomplished authors dare to step out of their comfort zone and try something completely different, the results can vary. Sometimes we get a book that isn’t quite up to standard and they quickly jump back to doing what they know. But sometimes we get such wonderful results, books that push boundaries for both authors and readers.
Adulting 101 is one such step into the unknown for Lisa Henry, who tends to write very serious, angst-filled books. It’s a new adult novel about 18-year-old Nick, who’s getting ready for college and suffering some serious panic attacks in the process. Nick has no idea what he wants to do with his life and he’s in no rush to figure it out. He really doesn’t feel like much of an adult. When Jai shows up in his life, slightly older, quiet and hotness personified, Nick immediately starts writing hilarious sonnets about his butt, and other body parts.
Jai too is a very interesting character, though far more reserved than Nick. He comes home for about three months each year to work and save and spends the remaining nine months traveling all over the world. Meeting Nick and getting tangled in his nervous breakdowns isn’t on the agenda, but the younger man is just a bit too hard to resist.
The best thing about this book wasn’t the romance, or Nick’s adulting itself. It was actually his friendship with Devon, a completely relaxed and non-judgmental straight boy. It was so wonderful to read about this guy who isn’t afraid to cuddle with his gay best friend, or sleep in the same bed, and do it freely and openly. It’s a true brotherhood the likes of which we rarely see.
Although I admire Henry for writing realistically about the romance of an 18-year-old, I would have preferred a more promising, decisive ending. I do love my happily-ever-afters, and happy-for-now just doesn’t cut it, not matter how realistic it may be. Perhaps we can hope for a sequel somewhere down the road, but as it is, the less than satisfactory ending ruined this funny, amazing book just a tiny bit. Still, it’s a great choice for when you want sympathetic characters and more than a few laughs.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.