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.
If you've ever been the parent of an 18 year old...
then you know this is not a mind that you want to spend a lot of time in and yet, I was drawn to this book. Mostly because I'm more than a little impressed by this author, and I was curious to see if she could pull this off. I mean, seriously, I wanted to see if Ms Henry was as good as I think she is because I truly think it takes balls to be a woman and write a book about an 18 year old boy.
I have 4 brothers and a son, and thanks to my son I've had the joy of experiencing the 18 year old male viewpoint on more than one occasion from more than one 18 year old male during my adult life, unlike my brothers who are all older than me, and I simply remember them as just being weird at that age. I honestly have to say I'm impressed because there was more than one instance of me laughing and nodding my head, and I thought, yeah, I remember that whether it was part of my 18 year old sons life or one of his friends.
While I wasn't instantly overwhelmed with feelz for Nick, I was definitely entertained by him. Nick in some ways was an amalgamation of every 18 year old boy I've ever known. He had his superficial moments, and let's face it, at that age who doesn't, male or female; he had insecurities which he often tried to hide with a touch of brashness and a bit of bravado, he had his moments of insight and revelation like when he realized that his parents had been people with their own interest and personalities before they became mom and dad, and that maybe his dad wasn't really boring, just not the person that Nick wanted to be, and he has hormones...lord have mercy, he has those in abundance just like every other 18 year old boy (and girl) I've ever met. Eighteen is also one of the toughest ages to be because it's that time when the world says you're an adult and expects you to act like one but doesn't always treat you like one, and you don't always feel like you're ready to be one.
I actually liked Jai from the word go, and ironically it was mostly due to the way he treated Nick. He was good to Nick. He could have been mad about the whole porta-potty incident and blamed it on Nick but that wasn't the way he was wired. He was genuinely a nice guy and hot, really, really hot. I know this because Nick told me several times...see superficial, but we can forgive him for this because he's 18, and he did also realize that Jai as well as being good-looking was also a really good person, and that he liked being with him...see, that Nick's growing up.
I loved Devon and Nick's bromance it was beyond cool. That Devon at times was more mature than Nick and so there for him without being asked was awesome, but Devon also had his moments and, like a true bro, Nick was there for him.
Nick and Jai's relationship was probably one of the most entertaining relationships I've encountered in a while. I mean, seriously, in no universe anywhere, ever has having sex while there are family members or authority figures of any kind on the premises ever gone well...ever!!! And it was no exception here except for the fact that not being one of the parties involved allowed me to sit back and enjoy the occasion.
For me the icing on the cake was the ending. Was it a case of 'and they all lived happily ever after'? Who knows, Nick's only 18, Jai's all of 25, and the fact that they're 'happy for now' is far more realistic. Do I want more...oh hell yeah, I'd love a story somewhere down the road to find out how things are going with Nick and Jai and their families and friends. I have every confidence that it would be every bit as entertaining as 'Adulting 101' was, maybe even more so.
So did Ms Henry succeed in writing a book about an 18 year old male? For me, she nailed it with panache and a huge dose of humor. So is she as good as I think she is? Hell no, she's way better. I not only recommend this one, I encourage it.
An ARC of 'Adulting 101' was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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