A standalone coming of age MM romance



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.

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Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny

Adulting 101

‘The struggle is real.’

Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry was such a well written coming of age story that had bucket loads of humour and both real and imagined anxiety. It was a realistic snapshot of the emotional turmoil of a teenage boy who hasn’t yet found his place in the world, but is suffering under the expectations of his parents and his imminent arrival at responsible adulthood.

‘Nick’s not the kind of guy who can write sonnets or anything, mostly because he can’t remember how to, but if he happens to have a page in his notebook dedicated entirely to ass-related haikus, that’s his business, right?’

Nick is such a lovable character it’s hard not to completely empathise with him. Sure he’s incredibly naïve, outspoken with no filter and over the top at times displaying typical teenage tendencies but that’s him and many fellow eighteen year old lads. His personality could fill a room and then some. We absolutely loved him and wanted to take him under our wing and out for Pizza. He had us crying with laughter.

“Jai Hazenbrook is not just some guy, Dev. Jai Hazenbrook is a glorious, beautiful, dangerous creature who makes Legolas look kind of plain. “– Nick

“Dude, you need to stop jerking off to the Fellowship of the Ring.” – Devon

Devon, Nick’s best mate and sounding board. These two have an incredible friendship that is just so pure and heart-warming. They bounce off each other, their banter is hilarious, yet their support and mutual understanding unbreakable and so very tender at times. It was the kind of friendship you want to bottle up for those dark rainy days.

“You’re not a bad person, you just have terrible impulse control.”

Jai, the twenty-five year old drifter who still lives with adventure and travel in his blood, partly as an escape partly to live life on his terms. He works odd jobs to fund his travels, whilst living with his Mum and extended family. Jai was the voice of reason to Nick’s off the cuff rantings. He was the one who saw past Nick’s bravado as well as the one in the firing line of Nick’s eager to explore sexual awakening. Their relationship was on the whole hilarious and sweet yet quite emotional too as Jai is more than just a hot arse for Nick when push comes to shove. They’re night and day and at different stages in life but somehow it just works. They stabilise something in each other.

‘Like, does becoming an adult mean losing a part of himself? Or is he just being a fucking teenage drama queen?’

The story of Jai and Nick is a standalone but we’re crossing our fingers for a ‘where are they now’ and not just for Jai and Nick, but the lovable Devon too! We really enjoyed this one and recommend it to readers of m/m who love a laugh and a giggle with the real struggle of an impending adulthood theme.

‘By rights, Jai should find him exasperating. Instead, he finds him oddly charming.’

4 Stars

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