This is the story of Nick’s summer after high school graduation. The POV, while third person, is very deep, so you really get inside the brain of a guy who just isn’t ready to be an adult. Sometimes I really felt for him, but other times I really felt like shouting, “Dude, grow up!” Does this mean I’m old and out of touch? Perhaps.
Nick’s dad got him a summer office job at a construction company so that he can learn responsibility. Instead, Nick practices with the stapler.
His record is thirty-eight staples on one thing. Then he picked thirty-seven of them out again because he remembered he was supposed to be professional. Adulting is hard. The struggle is real.
He also obsesses over Jai, the hottest guy ever. His goal is to give Jai a blow job. Nick texts his friend Devon about it — Devon who is “not even a little bit bi” — and Devon both supports him and tells him what a bad idea it is. Nick has no verbal filter, and very little impulse control, so when he finds himself on Jai’s work site, he just makes the offer. Jai, mildly curious, accepts. Of course they get discovered and fired. Of course Nick’s parents hear about it.
Barely deterred, Nick offers a casual relationship to Jai, who accepts because he literally has nothing better to do. Jai is twenty-five. Okay. He also works all summer, saves money, and travels the world for the rest of the year. He doesn’t do any sort of commitment, and he feels slightly weird about hooking up with Nick because of the age difference. “By rights, Jai should find him exasperating. Instead, he finds him oddly charming.” I have to take Jai’s word for it, because Nick is a lot to deal with.
So the summer of awkwardness continues. Nick panics about college, and a job, and disappointing his parents. Jai ends up working at a pizza parlor with teenagers, feeling curmudgeonly before his time, wondering if he’ll save enough money in time to travel this year. They get walked in on more than once.
And Nick’s best friend Devon is crushing on a girl named Ebony.
Devon’s a nice guy, but he’s worried that she thinks he’s one of those “nice” guys who’s only interested in being friends with her if it goes somewhere. And Devon wants it to go somewhere, even though of course Ebony doesn’t owe him anything. It’s complicated. Devon’s too scared to make a move because he’s been crippled by the weight of his male privilege. He only discovered it a few months ago, and it’s shaken him up pretty badly.
Okay, that right there cracked me up and gave me hope. If fictional teen boys worry about their male privilege, then maybe real ones do, too! Even though sometimes they play indoor baseball with a breadstick and olives, other times they discuss consent and cuddle with their platonic best friends.
Overall, I have slightly mixed feelings about this book. The writing style is hilarious, Nick’s train of thought is so random and honest, and his feelings are just the right amount of confused and hopeless. But he’s also obsessed with sex, even though he’s never had it, because he’s watched “a lot of porn. Like a lot.”
I was raised to believe that sex before marriage is almost as bad as murder (I KNOW), and while I’m mostly over it, I’m still kind of triggered by teenagers watching porn and having sex. It doesn’t bother me in some YA novels, but this was so casually explicit it put me into a weird Mom zone of “You’re not old enough!” This book was recommended to me by a friend the same age as me, and she loved it, so it’s obviously my personal baggage.
Having said that, I had fun reading it, and the ending was the right kind of Happy For Now.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Lisa Henry
Release Date: August 13, 2016