Saturday, September 10, 2016

Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry

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.

Add to Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Riptide Publishing

Note to Readers

We debated whether or not to publish the post for Adulting 101 on our Young Adult blog. While we strive to provide reading recommendations that are appropriate for most young adult readers 12 and older and keeping the blog free of adult content in order to achieve this, there are times when we discover a book that walks that fine line between young adult and new adult.

Adulting 101 is one such book – we consider it neither truly young adult, nor truly new adult, but rather a coming of age story. It is because of this that we ultimately decided to share it on our YA blog, despite the sexual content. We feel the challenges that Nick faces will resonate with older teens as they are expected to begin making the choices for their future, especially for those in their junior and senior years of high school. Because of sexual content, we recommend Adulting 101 for teens 16 and older, but strongly encourage parents of mature younger teens to read the book to assess for themselves if it’s appropriate for your child. We feel that there is much in Nick’s and Jai’s story that teens will relate to irrespective of the characters’ sexual orientation – issues the supersede sexuality and are common to most young adults as they transition from high school to… and that’s the crux of the issue, deciding what you want to do with your life when you’re expected to begin Adulting.

And parents, we think many of you could probably benefit from reading Adulting 101 as well. It’s not always easy to remember what it was like when we faced that transition ourselves, and Lisa Henry has done an impressive job of reminding us of the pressure and feelings we experienced through this wonderfully awkward coming of age tale.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Adulting 101 is hilarious! 18-year-old Nick is completely believable and it was great to read such a realistic character – he has no idea what he wants to do with this life and only enrolled in college because that is what is expected.

The story is a snapshot of the months of Nick's life between high school and college, but it isn't just Nick's story, it is Jai's as well. Jai is 25 years old and comes home every summer to work and earn enough money to travel all over the world. His life starts to change after Nick offers to blow him in the port-a-loo at work.

Nick and Jai form a friends with benefits arrangement that grows over the summer. I love the way this story depicts the life of young adults, some who don't know what they want, others that do, but everyone living their lives, having fun, making mistakes, and learning. This is such an uplifting story that shows there is more than one way to happiness.

Let me preface this review by stating I was warned prior to starting by Wicked Read's mistress, worried I may struggle in the beginning of Adulting 101, for the simple fact I'm one of the most serious people you'll meet (stick up the bum), and also the hardest to please (recommendation-wise). But she said it was geeky awkwardness, and I told her the book and I would get along just fine. Geek: check. Awkward: check. So with slight trepidation, I dived in.

From word-one, I spent the entirety of the novel with my palm covering my face. See, I was reading it in the presence of others, and I blush as easily and as red as Nick does. My face was emoting, and I'm happy the sound of the TV was covering my random outbursts of laughter. The book is not over the top, but if you get Nick, you'll find it awkwardly endearing and hilarious if you have an ounce of Nick's personality in you.

Adulting 101 is without a doubt a coming-of-age story. Nick is set to go to college in the fall, all by himself. His mother is nesting by getting him packed and making sure he has all the necessary supplies. His father is distancing himself because he doesn't know his son. Nick is leaving behind his codependent BFF, Devon, and embarking on a future he chose at random because he thought it what he was supposed to do.

But is it the right path for Nick? Yeah, that's what he'd like to know too.

Nick's dad forces him to get a job answering phones for a contractor, and Nick falls in love with the stapler and the hot guy doing all the manual labor. Jai.

Port-a-Potty: I sat with my hands over my face, shaking my head left and right, and laughing while reading that. Nick reminded me of me at that age, to tell the truth. Daughter of a contractor who had no idea what she wanted to do with her life (I chose the wrong path because I felt it was the right thing to do, FYI. Took until my 30s to escape and find the right path for me), but I had the joy of doing the manual labor instead of the cushy desk job, because my dad got sick of me sitting on my butt all summer long. Nick and I bonded in that moment, and I was taken for a train wreck of a journey for the rest of the novel.

Train wreck, our Nick. I seriously couldn't look away, finding it the most hilarious and precious thing ever. For realz.

Jai is worldly, both in the sense that he is 25 to Nick's newly minted 18, and has been to over 40 countries in his quest to run away. Jai's family is hilarious and warm and inviting in the opposite of the way Nick's family behaves. I liked the balance. Not that there was anything wrong with Nick's family – they were learning how to shift into being the parents of an adult child and didn't know how to stop parenting.

That moment when Nick comes home to find his mother going through his closet to pack his clothing... I just about lost my S**T. Been there, done that, same feeling of betrayal, invasion, and powerlessness – the need to lash out to get them out of your territory. Yeah, Nick and I *crosses fingers*.

The novel itself was at a swift pace, with supportive, loving side characters who were a blast to read and enjoy. Nick and Jai were total opposites, and I enjoyed their banterific dialogue and inner monologues. It felt real and fresh, and I didn't want it to end.

Me *points at self* stick up the bum girl that I am, who doesn't 5 star books often, actually put this gem on her favorites shelf. I did.

Lisa Henry, are you going to write another awkward boy working at the pizza parlor for next summer? That would freakin' rock!

Recommended for those who love a novel straddling the fine line between Young Adult and New Adult, with some lusty awkwardness and sexy time, realistic humor that makes you laugh at yourself, and takes you back to a time when you struggled with your place in the world. Heck, I'm 38 and still have no clue.

Footnote: So I got to the end of the book and continued on to find out what else Lisa Henry has published. The very last book had my jaw hitting the floor. For serious. Another book which I've reviewed. A very, very DARK book. An anthology where I gave 4&5 stars depending on the short story. A disturbingly dark book not for everyone but felt yet again tailor-made for me. Bravo *claps* on writing two amazing books on the opposite of the spectrum. Wow. My mind immediately veered to Nick being sucked into the Stealing Innocents universe and I had a mini-panic attack. *pets Nick's hair*

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn't know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she's too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Connect with Lisa

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry to read and review.

No comments:

Post a Comment