REVIEW: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon
TITLE: The Ex Talk
AUTHOR: Rachel Lynn Solomon
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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 fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.
The Ex Talk is a typical enemies-to-lovers fake relationship story. Shay Goldstein has been working as a producer at a public radio station in Seattle for nearly a decade when the twenty-four years old Dominic Yun, fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced to know everything about public radio, is taken on by her station. Shay takes an instant dislike to Dominic: she can’t stand his ego and his arrogance. She’s used to being considered as the youngest and most talented person at the station, so she immediately sees Dominic as a potential threat; she hates that her boss, Kent, dotes on the newcomer. Shay and Dominic aren’t able to be in the same room and not scream at each other… but everything changes when Kent forces them to cohost a new program, “The Ex Talk”, where they have to pretend to be exes giving relationship advice.
The Ex Talk is for sure an enjoyable book, if you like romances: the story is easy to follow and quite funny; the two main characters have great chemistry and the romantic scenes give you butterflies.
I really liked Shay as both the protagonist and the narrator of the story. In more than one situation I saw myself in her, especially because I think that we have a common flaw: we both hate changes. Shay is used to having everything under control and knowing exactly what is going to happen next; she spends hours and hours working because her job is something that she feels confident about and that gives her stability; maybe she would like to do something different but she’s too scared to try. The problems for her begin when she’s forced to face changes: her widowed mother plans to marry again, her best friend decides to move for a job offer, the radio program she has been producing for ten years is canceled and this new talented young host enters her life. By the end of the book Shay has probably lived more experiences and adventures than she had done in her whole life, she manages to get out of her shell and to find her own voice, she becomes more confident. For this reason we can say this book is a sort of coming of age story.
Although I didn’t dislike Dominic, I must admit I didn’t really manage to connect with him. When I read a romantic novel I want to feel attracted to the male character, I want to fall in love with him the same way the female protagonist does… unfortunately with Dominic this didn’t happen, there was something about him that didn’t really convince me; I found him a little too sketchy, I think the author should have given him more space… maybe allowing us to read his thoughts along with Shay’s.
Even if there some burrs, I enjoyed reading Shay and Dom’s story and what I liked the most is where their relationship develops, that is to say the radio station: I think it’s a quite innovative setting for a love story; I really enjoyed the pages where the author decided to report some parts of “The Ex Talk” radio program, I found them really funny.
To conclude I suggest this book to anyone who is in search of some romance… maybe to take with them to the beach.