Book Reviews

Book Review: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon’s sparkling romantic comedy debut.

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. 

Title: The Ex Talk
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Publisher: Berkley
Format: Digital ARC
Publication Date: January 26th, 2021
Rating:  4.8//5

I am absolutely in love with Rachel Lynn Solomon’s writing. The Ex-Talk is Rachel’s first dip into adult storytelling and she absolutely crushed it.

The story follows NPR lover Shay, who has worked ten years as a producer at PPR, and newcomer Dominic, the arrogant journalist that just rubs Shay the wrong way.

When the two have to work together playing fake ex’s for a new radio show, their relationship starts to get a little complicated.

The two have to navigate their new relationship as ex’s, the chance to FINALLY have a show, and the very real feelings starting to get in the way of everything…

Since this is contemporary fiction, we know Dominic and Shay end up together in the end, but I absolutely loved the journey for them to get there.

Another thing I absolutely loved? Dominic is 25, and Shay is 29. Even though they make some jokes about how young Dominic is, the age difference and the fact that the woman is OLDER is never an issue in the story. Let’s normalize women being older than men in relationships!!!!! (I’m younger than my husband but still, this is something I like to see)

It wouldn’t be a Solomon novel if there wasn’t some self-pleasure and sex. One thing I’ve always praised her on is how she tries to normalize female pleasure and masterbation in her novels. In her YA books the MC’s take some “me time” and are vocal about what they like/don’t like.

Well since we’re now in adult territory, we get the same normalizing and vocality, but Rachel takes the sexy up quite a few notches.

Now don’t get me wrong, Rachel kills it with the YA sex scenes, but I never knew how much I needed her to write adult books before. Once the relationship is taken up a notch we get plenty of fun sex scenes, masterbation talk/watching, some hints about the “fun drawer”, and so much more.

Follow up book idea: Just two hundred pages of sex scenes please Rachel.

Of course, things complicate the relationship, and the book has its serious moments as well. It talks about moving on after losing a loved one, female friendship and navigating it as an adult, and sexist assholes (don’t we all know one of those?).

There’s a lot of bumps in the road for Shay and Dominic, both in their relationship, and other aspects of their lives, and I loved how REAL it all felt. I was rooting for Shay and Dominic from the very beginning, and teared up a little whenever they faced hardships.

I also learned a surprising amount of information bout podcasts, radio talk shows, and public radio. I’m not much of a radio listener, but it gave me a new appreciation for the voices behind the static. Maybe I’ll listen to some Minnesota Public Access after this.

The Ex-Talk is a must read book, even if you’re not too into contemporary fiction. It’s such a cute and sweet story, but also heartbreaking and emotional. This was definitely one of my favorite reads this year, and I can’t wait to see what Rachel does next!

The Ex Talk is on shelves next week! Make sure to grab your copy!

*Thank you NetGalley for the early review copy. All opinions are my own.

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