Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: Adulting 101
AUTHOR: Lisa Henry
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 222 Pages
RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2016
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.
There once was a man called Jai
Who was the world’s most hottest guy
And I’m shit out of luck
If we never fuck
I’ll scream, “Why Jesus why Jesus why???????”
And that should be all you need to know to decide whether this book is for you or not!
Nick Stahlnecker is the most fan-fucking-tastic character that I’ve met in quite some time. He’s an eighteen year old virgin, who has ten more weeks at home with his parents before he heads off to college to study criminology. His father has netted him a summer job working in a construction company office where the highlight of his day is ogling the backside of fellow employee, Jai Hazenbrook. And stapling shit. Staplers almost make office work worthwhile. But even the risk of losing his job is no deterrent once he builds up the nerve to offer Jai a blowjob in a porta-potty. Which Jai surprisingly accepts. And in that moment, a non-romance of epically hilarious proportions is born.
I’ll start by admitting that it took me a little while to get my head into this story. It’s written in third person, present tense and switches between the point of view of Nick and Jai. It also includes a lot of hilarious text messages between characters, most often Nick and his best friend Devon. Jai is by far much easier to listen to than Nick, but trust me, Nick will quickly win you over with his clumsy, awkward charm. His thoughts are even more chaotic than the words that come out of his mouth, and even those could win a few what-the-fuckery awards.
Although the overall tone of this story is light and quirky the author also gives it depth through Nick’s fears and anxiety over heading to college and the expectation that it’s time for him to grow up. How is he meant to make such important decisions about which direction to lock his life into when he’s only eighteen and isn’t at all ready to start adulting? I think that this is something so many people can recognize, no matter their age, and I think Ms. Henry did a fantastic job of creating absolutely relatable characters despite Nick’s bizarre ways.
Speaking of characters, the cast of secondary characters in this story deserves a few awards for total awesomeness. Devon especially was so goddamn adorable as the other half of this comedy duo that I just wanted to eat the little bastard. Every insecure nerd like Nick should have a best friend like Devon. Then there was Jai’s family – filthy mouthed and completely inappropriate, they deserve their own sitcom. The scenes including these people were some of my favourites in the book.
And the sex scenes? Well, they were of their own class too. I do love an awkward, imperfect first time sex scene, and Nick and Jai surely delivered on that. Honestly, if you think Nick’s thoughts are out of the ballpark during everyday situations, his thoughts while being overwhelmed by Jai’s naked presence are even more anarchic.
This book may not be for everyone. I guess some readers may find Nick a little overwhelming. But I think the majority of readers will be loving all over this book. I know that I’m going to be adding it to my favourites of 2016 list.