cover image Adulting 101

Adulting 101

Lisa Henry. Riptide, $17.99 trade paper (231p) ISBN 978-1-62649-450-3

Henry (Stealing Innocents) brings pure fun and a feel for pop culture–fueled young adult insecurities to a coming-of-age comedy of errors full of Netflix, pizza, family warmth, and awkward sex. Recent high school graduate Nick Stahlnecker is fired from his summer job after getting caught in flagrante with hot coworker Jai Hazenbrook. Nick leans heavily on his straight best friend as he navigates his not-a-relationship with 25-year-old Jai; living in his mother’s basement in Franklin, Ohio, which he’d previously escaped with bouts of backpacking around the world; and his terror at the prospect of going to college. Though this romance is appropriate for teen readers who are ready for explicit scenes, it falls more into wishful grown-up quasi-nostalgia than young adult writing. The older adults around Jai and Nick aren’t happy with their impulsive and uncommunicative behavior, but their responses mostly take the form of gentle teasing, with lots of love and no homophobia. The protagonists struggle a bit with restrictions and embarrassment, but Henry doesn’t make Nick and Jai grow up too much to get their happy-for-now ending. (Aug.)