Hi, and welcome to the blog tour to celebrate the release of Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk about writing Adulting 101, some of my influences and inspiration, and even sharing an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a prize!
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.
You can find out more about Adulting 101 at Riptide.
When I signed up to host Lisa Henry for her ‘Adulting 101’ Blog Tour and decided to review the book, I had no idea what the book was even about. However, I have loved the author’s unique style in the past and all of her books are very well-written. Not only is she an auto-buy author for me after books like ‘The Island’, ‘Bliss’, ‘Dark Space’, ‘The Two Gentlemen of Altona’ and ‘Mark Cooper versus America’, but the title of this one spoke to me, even before reading the blurb. ‘Adulting 101’ sounds like a college course about growing up. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some easy to follow lessons that would suddenly turn us into ‘real’ adults? As kid I always thought as soon as I turned 18 everything would change. Suddenly a switch would be turned and I would feel like an adult, act like an adult and be treated like an adult. I never imagined that on my 18th birthday I would feel exactly like the day before, just with new responsibilities and expectations that were hard to meet. I’ve lived a very sheltered life and even at 25 I’m still discovering how to do some of those ‘adult’ things some of my peers seemed to know how to do from the get go. Some of them were married, had a job and a child when they were 18.
‘Adulting 101’ is a book about growing up and learning how to deal with the responsibilities, expectations and choices that come with being an adult, even if one does not feel like one yet. Many of the author’s books are very dark, but this one is more along the line of ‘Mark Cooper versus America’. It is often laugh-out-loud funny, because it allows the characters to be stupid, goofy, angry, flawed, confused, happy, horny, real. The first sex is not porn perfect, the porta-potty is not magically clean, just because Nick decides to blow Jai in it. Jai is not instantly in love with Nick. Lisa Henry writes about real, flawed and very likable characters, who don’t have everything figured out yet. She does it with so much love for these characters, though, that it was impossible for me not to fall in love with them. And being a gay student of 25 years (who is more like Nick than Jai), the book resonated a lot with me and I was able to recognize many things from my own life.
The book often references ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, a classic book of American literature about the angst and pain of growing up and it often inspired the same kind of feeling in me. To be understood, to see that others struggle with the same challenges. Though I think Nick is a much more likable main character than Holden ever was.
Nick is 18, Jai is 25 and they are in very different places in their lives. Both of them know they really don’t want or need any ties before Nick goes off to college and Jai goes to Argentina to travel. It doesn’t take long, though, for their ‘casual’ affair to become more. That’s because their chemistry is so amazing that they would have needed to be completely clueless not to see it. And yes, in many ways they are, sometimes. But the thing between them really works, even with or perhaps because they are so different. They fit perfectly together in and out of bed (the sex scenes between them are hot as hell 🙂 ).
I also need to mention Devon, though, because he is just as important to Nick as Jai. Devon is Nick’S straight best friend. They are pretty much attached at the hip. They even snuggle together in a completely platonic way. Their friendship is very special and Devon is among my top ten supporting characters. These two are the perfect platonic friend couple. So you pretty much get two wonderful, real, heart-warming relationships for the price of one. *g*
For me there was only one thing that was hard to adjust to. The book is written in present tense. When well-done (and it is) that can make the events in the book feel more immediate. Everything is happening NOW, it’S not just a story that happened in the past being told by the narrator. BUT most readers are so very unused to the present tense in books, it might be difficult for some to settle into the story. It took me a bit to realize what felt ‘weird’ or ‘off’, until I suddenly realized the story was told in present tense, but the story is SOOO good, I was able to just go with it after a bit. I hope you will be able to as well, because this is a story you should not miss.
9.5/10 Pots of Gold (95% Recommended) – Compares to 4.75/5 Stars
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.
You can email me at email@example.com
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Hanging out on Goodreads? So am I: Lisa Henry
Each comment on this blog tour enters you for a chance to win a $20 Riptide credit and an ebook of your choice from my back catalogue. You’ll also win a super secret cute little gift that’s very close to my (and Nick’s) heart! Entries close August 20, and contest is not restricted to US residents. Remember to leave your email address in the comments so I can contact you if you win!