Wednesday, August 24, 2016

ARC Review: 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.

Jewel's rating:

Adulting is hard. No lie. I'm 46 years old and sometimes I still have trouble with it. And the fact that I've been adulting for far longer than I should have been, interestingly enough, doesn't make it any easier. And I never did figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Adulting 101 is a very humorous story about an 18 year old boy who isn't ready to adult. Nick thinks - and I think his parents might be at least partially to blame - that he should have a clue as to what he wants to be when he grows up. His parents put all kinds of pressure on him about working and college and making grown up decisions and doing the right thing. Those are all very good things, except when they aren't stopping to actually talk to Nick about what he wants to do. Nick is simply expected to magically know or at least want to follow the path his parents have laid out. Nick, though, has trouble asserting himself where his parents and his anxieties meet. Ah, growing up.

Like Nick, I have been known to write the occasional (read WAY TOO MANY) haiku. So I thought I would give it a shot here, as well (Sorry for subjecting you to my awful poetry skills #SorryNotSorry):

​Adulting is hard
And highly overrated
Don't wanna grow up

Nick becomes rather obsessed with Jai during what is supposed to be his summer job before embarking on that college adventure. Well, Nick doesn't get a whole lot of work done, but he writes haiku and sonnets about Jai's ass. So I wrote one, too. I mean, why not?

​Jai's ass is so fine
It so deserves monuments
Made in its honor

Jai is a bit older than Nick, and definitely more worldly. Jai spends his summers working and the rest of the year, he travels. I think that's pretty cool. I wish I would have had the courage to do the same thing when I was young. Jai doesn't want life to pass him by without having taken chances. He wants to really live and experience the many wonders this world has to offer. And he doesn't see the need for an actual relationship. On his travels, Jai has hooked up with many people and whether it was for a day, or a week, it's been fine. Jai is an introvert and really functions well alone. Normally, someone as full of energy, like Nick, would totally exhaust him, but he really takes to Nick, word salad and randomness and all. Oh, I would be remiss if I didn't have a haiku for Nick, too:

​Nick loves word salad
Fandom is strong in this one
​Random is random​

What I really loved about Adulting 101 is that embedded in the humor and the over-the-topness and blurtiness of Nick, is a story that has depth and relevance and characters that are well drawn. Growing up really is hard and there are so many pressures put on young people to rush out and get that degree - whether or not they even want it - and be successful. But success isn't something that can really be measured by how much money you make a year. And adulting isn't something that magically happens when you turn 18.

Nick and Jai each have their own lessons in this story. Nick learns that adulting doesn't come with a script and Jai learns that you don't always have to go around the world to find home.

Well done!


Review copy of Adulting 101 was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Happy adulting!

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