Guest Post and Giveaway: Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry

Today I am so pleased to welcome Lisa Henry to Joyfully Jay. Lisa has come to talk to us about her latest release, Adulting 101 (which I reviewed here and totally loved). She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Lisa a big welcome!

Adulting 101 Tour Banner


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 HEA vs the HFN

One thing I’ve seen from advanced reviews of Adulting 101 is that some readers have noticed that it’s a Happy For Now, instead of a Happy Ever After. This is a really interesting distinction to me, since it never even occurred to me to give Nick and Jai a HEA. It turns out I’m really uncomfortable with the idea of an eighteen-year-old character professing his true love and promising forevers. And this comes completely from my own baggage, I promise, because I look back at who I was with at that age, and oh sweet squishy Cthulhu no

Is it a weird thing for a romance writer to not push her characters toward an HEA?


But Nick isn’t just eighteen, he’s an immature eighteen, and to me it feels like he has to figure himself out before he’s ready to go and make a lifelong commitment. Which isn’t to say that Jai isn’t going to be beside him every step of the way, because I really do think these guys can make it. It just means that they’ve got a bunch of stuff to figure out before they get to that point. I think their HFN could absolutely be the foundation for an HEA, but they’re not quite there yet.

I once wrote a blog post years ago about Young Adult books, and how the thing that really irked me about them was the whole destined lovers thing. These characters are teenagers! Your boyfriend at fifteen or sixteen is not supposed to be the guy you end up with forever! He’s supposed to be the guy you catch sight of in old school photos and ask yourself what the hell you were thinking. Right? Right?

Well, it turns out, not always.

I actually got a lot of responses to that blog post. Lots of stories about people who were still with their teenage sweetheart after two or three decades. I got an email from a woman whose parents met at seventeen, married as soon as they turned eighteen, and were still together thirty years later.

I think sometimes people have a default setting where we automatically assume other people’s experiences are comparable to ours. So it was a real eye-opener for me to hear these stories. Because hey, just because I was making stupid life choices when I was a teenager doesn’t mean that everyone was!

So now I’m in the position that I actually do believe an eighteen-year-old can get a Happy Ever After with his first boyfriend. The caveat is that I don’t mean the sort of eighteen-year-old that I write about. Because Nick is immature, anxious about the future, babbles a lot to cover up his insecurities, and tends to stumble into awkward situations a lot. Nick at eighteen and me at eighteen? We have some things in common.

So no, there is no HEA in Adulting 101, but there is a HFN, and I don’t believe those things are mutually exclusive at all. I just think that teenagers like Nick—and teenagers like I once was, a very long time ago—are very much works in progress. And I think that’s okay.


Adulting 101The 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.


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.


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!

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.


  1. I started this book last night. I’m really enjoying it so far.
    kimandpete123 at gmail dot com

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lisa, about happy ever afters and happy for nows and Nick. I’m not sure how wise an 18 year old I was, so I hear you.

    (Isn’t that green tree frog tired by now? It’s been swimming in your toilet for years!)

  3. One of my younger relatives has been dating her boyfriend forever (they’re not quite 19), and even though they seem content, I can’t help wondering if they’re holding themselves back from more of the college experience (not even dating, but not feeling free to go places or do things because they’re always traveling to see each other). Even though I hated being alone back then, the freedom was definitely a good thing at times. Who knows?


  4. I love that you thought about that age. I haven’t written any 18 year-old MCs, probably for that very reason. At 18, I was sooo not ready for a HEA, but definitely a HFN. 🙂 Sounds like a great read. 

  5. Thanks Lisa for coming today! As you know, I LOVED the book (gave it 5 stars, review linked in intro above). I am a sucker for young love stories as I am one of those crazy people who met the person I married at age 16. We started dating in high school and stayed together straight through (this fall will be 20 years married). So I definitely know it is possible, but I agree with you that it is the minority. 

    I found your post interesting because I didn’t even really notice the HEA versus HFN when reading it. Obviously I don’t want to give away the ending, but it felt perfect to me, like the start of a wonderful future together. I guess in my mind I always imagine the couples together forever, but I can see it going either way. Regardless, the ending felt perfect. Loved the book and thanks for the post! 

    • You were clearly smarter than I was at 16! But I set the bar pretty low as a teenager. Just ask my mum. 

      And thank you so much for hosting me today! 

      • LOL, once I got him I wasn’t letting go! But seriously, looking back it seems crazy that the people we were as kids are still compatible with the people we are as adults. Or maybe we just grew together. But let me tell you, I have a daughter who is now 15 and the idea of her meeting her forever partner next year kind of horrifies me. I can only imagine what my parents thought!

        And always lovely to have you stop by!

  6. Thanks for the interesting post. I know a number of people who got together in high school married and now have kids. Whether it’s a HEA or HFN ending. I think the author should go with what feels right for those characters. I mean there’s no need to push it. Anyway with a HFN book, there’s always a an opportunity to go back and write a sequel if that itch hits, lol =D
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  7. I would love a copy of your new book, especially as it is a HFN. Totally agree it is very difficult to believe HEAs for 18 year olds. It can turn out like that, after all my hubby was 18 when we met and over 40 years later still very happy together! But, if you had said it was forever to us then, we would have run a mile – in opposite directions!

  8. Oh, forgot to leave my email. avaliereads (at) aol (dot) com

  9. Great post!  And I think in books, as in life, it really depends on the characters whether the HFN or HEA should/will happen.  My boyfriend at 16 was a nightmare, but then I met my husband when I was 19, married at 20 and am still happily married many years later.


  10. While a lot of people meet their one & only at a young age & stay together forever, all I can think is “thank the powers that be that neither I nor my son are still with our firsts!” What horrible people they were! I’m perfectly fine with a HFN ending if that’s what fits the story. Thanks for the post.

  11. HFN is all there really is. We all take it a day at a time. My parents have been married for almost 58 years and they were 17 when they met and married. 🙂

  12. Thanks for the interesting post. I know a lot of people who married their high school sweethearts and as many who didn’t. My parents met at 18 and are still together over 40 years later. violet817(at)aol(dot)com

  13. >> I think sometimes people have a default setting where we automatically assume other people’s experiences are comparable to ours

    I guess that’s true. I am one of those persons who just don’t see teenagers meet and get their HEA. I guess probably because my family members all married in their 20’s or even 30’s. And I am an asexual. I have no sexual attraction what-so-ever. So kinda hard for me to just accept teenagers falling in love forever and ever. But that’s okay. That’s what romance and books are for. Opening up my eyes to possibilities!!


  14. I agree with you, Lisa, a HEA is very difficult at 18… Although I have a clear example it’s possible in my family. My parents met at fourteen, started going out at sixteen, married at 24 and this year celebrated their 47 wedding anniversary… Isn’t it amazing? You must have something special to be able to do this. But whatever it is that something it does not run in the family… I’m on my forties and still single, so I completely agree with those HFN (In fact, I’m a true expert… LOL)
    I’m looking forward to reading your new book. I love your stories!

  15. interesting post

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  16. Loved the comment about the HFN for this book – very true that you’re still progressing at that age. Makes me want to read it even more to see how it ends!


  17. I’m in my twenties and still feel like a work in progress. Am I a “grown-up” yet? Sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever be! Doesn’t mean I don’t want to meet someone though. 😀


  18. Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment – and of course thanks to Jay for hosting me. 

    I love hearing stories about people who meet their HEA in high school, because it just sounds so magical and impossible to me! I definitely agree that those people are something special! 

  19. Thank you for the interesting post. I too have many friends who are with their first love. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. Oh well.

    ree.dee.2014 (at) gmail (dot) com

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