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.
*I received an ARC of this book from Riptide Publishing via Netgalley in return of an honest review*
Adulting 101 is one of those books that just clicked with me.
I could relate so much to Nick. Kind of scary how much really.
It’s not been long since I was in the exact same situation as he was. I mean how do you decide what you want to do the rest of your life when you’re just 18/19? At that time you’re still figuring out who you are but everyone expects you to have your life all planned out and are ready to go. And it doesn’t make you feel better when it looks like everyone around you at least appear like they know what the want, what to do next and take every hurdle in stride while you figuratively stumble along and make mistakes the whole time. That’s basically where Nick is. His parents are all excited for him to go to college and his mum wants him to decide what clothes he needs for college.
But Nick is not ready to decide on the rest of his life while at the same time he doesn’t want to disappoint his parents. The result of this are panic attacks.
While I never had a panic attack I know that stress. I understand how much he wanted to make his parents proud.
Nick has been lusting after Jai for a while and he’s determined to sleep with him. But how to do that when you’re not really talking to the guy you like? That’s when Nicks no brain-to-mouth filter comes in handy. And the result is awkward, funny, kind of disgusting but so Nick. (If you follow me on twitter you might have seen my reaction to the porta-potty blowjob. 😉 )
I loved the no-filter state of Nick. In a way he reminded me of Lane Courtnall from Avon Gale’s Breakaway. I know some might find this annoying but I enjoyed it so, so much!
I loved how Nick and Jai slowly grew together. What at first seems like an unlikely
relationship friends-with-benefits arrangement at first develops into much more and it somehow just works.
Jai, although a couple of years older than Nick, isn’t that much different from him. He too still doesn’t really know what he wants to do with his life. Right now he just travels as much as possible (Oh how I wished I could do that!) and works any job he can get to fund his travels.
Probably my favourite thing about Adulting 101 were all the nerdy references.
“The fandoms run deep in this one.”
And they too made Nick relatable to me. Star Wars is not really my thing (Don’t shoot me!) but I LOVE Lord of the Rings. And I’ll not give anything away but damn! The end made me kind of a bit jealous! It was also one of my favourite endings for a book.
“Whereas Nick, of course, would be the short hairy-footed guy who liked beer and fireworks, and second breakfasts. Even in his fantasy worlds, Nick is a realist.”
This book made me cringe, laugh out loud and nod in agreement. Lisa Henry perfectly captured this awkward not yet grown-up but also not a teen anymore stage of life.
But Adulting 101 also made me swoon because Nick and Jai together, while sometimes embarrassing and awkward, was just so, so cute. Thank you Ms. Henry for this gem!
One of my favourite books this year. Highly recommended!