- Expected Jan 26, 2021
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Former radio producer Rachel Lynn Solomon’s wonderfully diverse rom-com gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of public radio. When Solomon’s heroine, Shay Goldstein, lands her dream job hosting a talk show, it comes with a very big catch: She has to share airtime with her rival, the annoyingly smug Dominic Yun. That’s because the co-workers’ boss, who is looking for ways to increase listenership and prevent layoffs, has come up with a deceptive scheme that involves Shay and Dominic pretending to be a former couple and hosting a relationship show called The Ex Talk. Solomon’s funny, charming story makes great use of the enemies-to-lovers and forced-proximity tropes. We loved everything about Shay and Dominic’s witty banter and slow-burn attraction.
The transition from enemies to lovers is handled with wit and humor in YA author Solomon's exceptional adult debut (after Today Tonight Tomorrow), which puts an unexpected twist on the fake relationship trope. It's taken Shay Goldstein 10 years to work her way up in public radio, from intern to senior producer, so she can't help resenting the smug new reporter, Dominic Yun, who strolls in with a master's degree in journalism and immediately impresses the bosses with a big scoop on a City Hall scandal. When Shay pitches the idea of a relationship-themed podcast hosted by exes, the station's program director who's noticed Shay and Dominic's sparring around the office persuades the pair of them to pose as a recently broken-up couple and host the show themselves, to spare the station the expense of new hires. Their banter and obvious chemistry helps the show take off, and real romance soon develops off-mic. But both are struggling with private insecurities: Dominic's previous relationship ended in heartbreak, and isolated Shay throws herself into work at the expense of her personal life. Shay and Dominic are a couple to root for and the diverse, well-drawn supporting cast only adds to the appeal. This charming, multicultural rom-com is a winner. \nCorrection: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated this was the author's first book.