I can’t say I know a lot about public radio in America, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this book overall. Rachel Lynn Solomon writes a romance unlike others, and sure, I had mixed feelings on our romantic pairing, but I don’t think it stopped me from having a good time when reading this.
Star rating: 4 stars
Our protagonist is Shay Goldstein, a producer at a public radio station in Seattle. She has been working the same job for 10 years (right since she left college), and has managed to convince herself that she’s happy just being a producer even though she always dreamed of being on the radio.
In comes Dominic Yun, fresh out of a Masters Degree at Northwestern. He is the new prodigy of the small team at PPR, and Shay can’t help but be jealous of the opportunities he is given. Personally, I felt this was Shay’s way of expressing her suppressed unhappiness at her own progression. But it’s not really Dominic’s fault as such, he creates his own opportunities and is lucky to have a sexist boss who gives him so much freedom. Shay, unfortunately, is only a good note taker that’s good with detail in Kent’s eyes.
PPR is really struggling for cash, so when opportunity presents itself, Shay and Dominic are roped into faking being each other’s, presenting their own show called The Ex Talk. Plot twist, they start to fall for each other.
So what did I like about this book? I liked it’s representation of adult loneliness – both Shay and Dominic have few friends and it shows. The characters are far from perfect but I could empathise with them. I genuinely had a good time reading this, especially in the first 75% or so. I felt Shay an Dominic had really good sexual chemistry which was a pleasure to read. The mixed media approach to story-telling (extracts from transcripts and social media) were fun to experience and added to the humour.
There were some aspects that I didn’t like but didn’t really affect my enjoyment for the most part. I just can’t see Shay and Dominic lasting as a couple – Dominic has so much to figure out in his life since he’s only 24 and his immaturity definitely shows in the latter parts of the book. Shay is at a different stage of her life than he is, and I feel like she still has some healing to do before settling down. Also, I feel like their loneliness drew them together but they have to work out whether there’s more than just sexual chemistry between them.
Overall, a great adult debut for Rachel, that I had a great time reading. One thing that really did make me angry though was Shay’s whole adoption of her dog? The rescue centre really wanted an experience dog owner yet they just let her adopt Steve? And then she’s barely ever home because she works until 8pm, no dog should be left alone for that length of time never mind a rescue with issues!
Anyway, this is a long review. Have you read The Ex Talk? What did you think?