Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio. When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts. As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to catch feelings for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.
I will read anything Rachel Lynn Solomon writes. She swept me off my feet with her YAs, so when her debut romance was announced, I was ecstatic to read it. It didn’t even really matter what it was about, it was Rachel Lynn Solomon, so I was going to read it. But, it also sounded fantastic. Shay has to co-host a public radio show with her coworker, Dominic, who she does not like. She also has to pretend to have dated him. It’s enemies-to-lovers and faking dating with a twist! Trigger warnings: loss of a parent, social anxiety
I am very happy that I now get to love Solomon’s romances along with her YAs. It’s double the love now.
One of the reasons I fell in love with these books in the first place was because of Solomon’s writing. It’s changed since her first two books, but not in a bad way! It’s still one of the reasons that I fall head over heels for her books. It’s crisp, and creates the most vivid picture. At the same time, it’s written in a way that makes the book easy to fly through.
I have to admit. I’m not really into public radio, or even podcasts, pretty much at all. I know, that makes it weird that I was so eager to read this book, but it actually turned into one of my favorite parts of it. It was fascinating to see how public radio works and what it’s all about. I also loved how fiercely Shay loved it. It takes up so much of her that it has an emotional toll on her. It’s a huge part of her character and even character development, and it was done really, really well.
Speaking of Shay, I really, really liked her. She was funny and weird and just all around cute. She’s trying to grapple with the fact that she’s 29 and is expected to be an adult, and is expected to feel like an adult when she feels like anything but. She also feels like she has to have everything figured out and she is so far from that. She also gets attached so easily, which is something I totally got haha. All of that put together created a really great character with a really great story to tell.
I also really liked Dominic! He’s a bit upright, but funny at the same time. He struggles with making friends and he wants to do hard hitting research. He’s basically the opposite of Shay in so many aspects, but they are also incredibly similar in other ways!
The relationships in this book were top notch. The romantic ones, the friendships, and the familial ones. Across the board, all of them were incredibly well done. Of course, the romantic one was hilarious, sexy, funny, serious, adorable, and all around incredible. The friendships were more complicated. Sometimes they crumble and sometimes friends are in the least expected places. The familial ones brought an air of pain and deep emotion to the book that I felt added more depth and turned the book into something special. They are about grief and finding new happiness and just loving each other.
All in all, The Ex Talk was a really fantastic debut romance. It has a weird little dog, a love interest who loves cast iron skillets, Beanie babies, cluelessness, and sex in a sound booth. And that’s just the tip of the ice berg!
The Ex Talk comes out January 26, 2021! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!