Genre/Tags: Gay New Adult Romance

Author: Lisa Henry

Story Rating: 5 Stars

Narrator: Nick J Russo

Narrator Rating: 5 Stars

Length: 6 Hours and 1 minute

Audiobook Buy Links: Audible

The struggle is real.

Nick Stahlnecker is 18 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.


These days I mostly listen to audiobooks and this was such an engaging one. Adulting 101 was a fun story with delightful characters, and such a fitting narration by Nick J Russo who captured all the nuances, bringing Lisa Henry’s delightful and insightful New Adult story to life.

It’s not easy being a teen and not having had sex. It’s something that can play on your mind. Having been the only openly gay kid at school as well. Coming to the end of that initial school part of your life and now needing to make life decisions about study vs work. What kind of tertiary courses do you really want to study at eighteen? What jobs do you categorically believe you want to have at eighteen? Sure there are kids out there who’ve always seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do moving forward into adult years – thank you Olivia who ‘s going to be a paediatric surgeon, but most people change degrees/courses/jobs, and most people aren’t as sure as Olivia… . Hi, Nick Stahlnecker. I feel your general vibe, hon.

Nick is eighteen (going on sixteen), he’s funny, silly, takes certain risks, likes the idea of asking the gorgeous twenty five you old Jai Hazenbrook if he wants a BJ in the Portaloo at a job his dad organised for him over summer. Hmm, yuck, but also funny. It’s an event that gets him sacked, as well as Jai, but sets him on a journey toward something kinda sorta  adulthood adjacent.

Nick’s unsure of where he fits in life. He and his father are clashing quite a bit lately. Nick feels like he fucks up his relationship with his parents and their expectations of him, although what they are exactly he’s uncertain of, other than he’s not hitting the mark. Life being a Hobbit-y, Lord of the Rings quest seems right to him but that’s not really the way life works. Less fantasy and more reality when you think about it. However, with Jai by his side and the permanently glued  – or texted – to his hip BFF, Devon, right there as well, life, maybe adulting, seems more palatable. However, summer is coming to an end. This summer’s ending feels like a metaphor for his life right now – Devon is going to college elsewhere and Jai is headed for Argentina at summer’s end. His parent’s have ordered his backpack for college and he’s expected to go. So, what now? This causes Nick some genuine anxiety. What does he do when life changes, including all the adulting expectations flying at him?


This audiobook had me genuinely laughing out loud on many occasions. It has depth and there is an authentic quality to the way young guys are written so it also manages to be light-hearted. The texting between Devon, who is not only Nick’s bestie but his cuddle puddle when things get rough, is really, really good. Typical teen stuff. Jai is a lovely character and Nick is in a state of flux – from horny to joker to annoying, to sweet to confused. Lisa Henry nailed this story, including the ending, and I looked forward to tuning into Nick and Jai and also Devon every single night when I was going to bed. I didn’t want it to end. *Sighs. Just what I needed.