Henry, Lisa. “Adulting 101”, Riptide Publishing, 2016.
A Very Real Struggle
Set in Franklin Ohio, we meet Nick Stahlnecker, an eighteen-year-old guy who he is not yet ready to grow up. At his summer job, he works with Jai Hazenbrook and has quite a crush on him. Jai is twenty-five and has come home just long enough to make enough money so that he can leave. back in his hometown of Franklin, Ohio, just long enough to earn the money to get the hell out again. He figures it will be worth being home and living in his mother’s basement so that he can see the rest of the world. Nick, however, is not a part of his plans yet he discovers that it is not necessary to travel to have adventure when someone like Nick is in his sights. Yes, readers, this is a romance.
Jai tries to convince himself that Nick is only a temporary attraction and that he has no feelings for him. However, that is not true. This is the story of Nick’s summer before he goes to college. Nick is impulsive and very honest but he also lacks direction regarding what he wants to do in life. His parents have pushed him to go to college and have chosen his major for him— criminology.
Jai loves to travel. His plan was to work the three summer months and then travel the rest of the year. When he met Nick, he was immediately drawn to him and they slowly get to know each other and have great sex. He has really never had so much fun before and this was so unexpected. At first, each saw the other as a friend with benefits and even when they became “boyfriends” neither would admit that this was the case. It is fun to read how their lust became love but it happened very slowly. In the beginning each thought of what they were doing as a hookups but as they spent more and more time together and got to know each other, they realized that it was so much more than just sex.
It is not easy becoming an adult and we see both guys struggling with it. Jai is much more of an adult than Nick and he does not want to live a life without adventure. He seems not to believe in relationships, especially since there is so much to see and do. A relationship could hold him back. Basically Jai is an introvert and really functions well alone even though he has had affairs for years. However, he really likes Nick and his unbounded energy.
This is a very funny story yet it has a deep message about becoming an adult. Nick learns that becoming an adult does not follow ten easy steps while Jai sees that sometimes the greatest adventure you can have requires no travel and could be standing right next to you.