Monday, August 8, 2016

ARC Review: Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry

Adulting 101
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.

Todd's rating:

Lisa Henry's latest book, Adulting 101, is a fun, light, low-angst read, with tons of humor.

Nick is an 18 year old high school graduate, with no real plans for this future and absolutely no filter, but hormones to spare. He's working for the summer in an office and spends too many hours writing haiku's about his co-worker Jai's ass.

At 25, Jai returns home to Ohio every summer to work and save enough money to travel the world for the rest of the year. He tends to fall into his romantic encounters, male or female, as they come, then when they're over, that's that and he moves on.

Jai's summer at home has just begun, so when cute, blurty Nick, wearing his " favorite red cocksucking shirt ," propositions Jai, their next ten weeks of casually hooking up are interesting, to say the least.

A great example of the tone of the book can be seen in how Nick interacts with Jai the very first time that the two actually speak to one another.
“Do you own leather pants?” Nick blurts.

“Wait! That was weird. Sorry, that was weird. I’m weird. So, um, if you can forget that thing I said about leather pants, that would be awesome.” Nick’s face is scrunched up, like a toddler refusing vegetables. “But, okay, I’m seriously wearing my favorite red shirt and I would really, really like to suck your dick.”

For a moment Jai only hears a strange buzzing in his head. It takes a little while for him to actually parse the words. Because on what otherwise ordinary Monday morning does anyone hear words like that? On what otherwise ordinary Monday morning does anyone say words like that?
The dialogue between Nick and Jai is pretty funny, but generally not quite what I'd really consider banter. That happens between Nick and his adorable bromancey BFF, Devon.

The only way that I can describe Devon is to say that he's amazing in this story. Supportive, loving and affectionate, this boy is *everything* and their relationship was one of my favorite aspects of the book.
“But if you want to make certain, lean over and give your gay BFF a big kiss.”

Devon says firmly. “Not because I’m being homophobic, but because I know where your mouth has been today, and you probably haven’t even brushed your teeth.”

“That’s true,”
Nick admits.
(Because... Jai porta-potty blowjob.)

The humor in this one was definitely the big selling point for me. I found it reminiscent of Nash Summers' "Maps" books, but with some hot, steamy, often embarrassing sex.

The drama in this story is less about the inevitability that Nick and Jai's no strings, 'for the summer' arrangement will end soon and they'll move on, but more about Nick's freak outs and panic attacks about attending college and having to grow up. #HowVeryMillennial

So since fewer pages were devoted to deep declarations of feelings, the relationship aspects of the book weren't 100% believable for me.

I'm all for having realistic expectations when dating an 18 y.o., but as the book ends and phrases like "if we break up" and "if we're still together next year" were still seen on-page, I can only really see this one ending as an "I really 'like' you" HFN.

It was still hilarious and touching, so it rates around 4.25 stars and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a funny, blurty, feel-good, NA story.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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