This one was a surprise! I actually really loved The Ex Talk, in spite of the premise I wasn’t too crazy about. An enemies-to-lovers has a real draw for me (even if most of their dislike was made up)!
Shay’s whole life revolves around public radio. After losing her dad, who was obsessed with radio and turned their quiet lives into a show, she goes into public radio to tell stories about humans and life. Ten years later, she’s still producing the same afternoon show, Puget Sounds, wishing she was a host. Everything is right with the world: except her special hatred for her coworker, Dominic, whose fresh out of his masters program and thinks he knows everything.
When public radio’s slow death threatens all their jobs, Shay suggests they try a new show: The Ex Talk. Exes come on the air to talk about how their relationship imploded, hosted by exes. Shay and Dominic’s manager leaps on it, suggesting the pair pose as exes and host the show together, despite having never dated…and it’s all downhill, sparks flying from there.
I didn’t think I would like this one, to be truthful. It rode around in my car so long that the emails started coming from the library (yes, the library I work at) pleading with me to bring it back. But finally, I started it, and I honestly couldn’t put it down. I tore through half of it in an evening, and the rest it of it every moment I could over the next few days. I loved Solomon’s writing and sweet representation of her characters. It was a breath of fresh air.
I felt that Shay was really well developed as a character: her experiences with her dad dying, her relationship with her mom, her changing friendship, and her struggle to truly “grow up” were both relatable and very well written. I feel like Shay’s the kind of gal I’d be friends with in real life. She overworks, she thinks pets will fix her problems, and she has a strong dislike for people who waive their master’s degrees around. Dominic, on the other hand, was not as developed, but I think that derives from only having Shay’s perspective. We’re in her head, while Dominic we only get from her interpretation of him. Honestly, though, they’re the most complete people I’ve read in a romance in a while, and I liked that there was more at play here than their love story. Family drama and reckoning with their loneliness as a result of their jobs and lifestyle was a great cultural tie in that I think we all need to read sometimes.
The one thing about this book I wasn’t *really* digging was all the radio talk. Felt like a lot. I’m not a podcast person, and podcasts play a pretty big role in this book. I actually feel like I missed some character development I would’ve picked up on if I knew more about the subject matter. It was still unique, cute, and definitely latches onto a trend of the moment though, and I didn’t mind it!
All in all, a great read I would recommend. The romance is just too cute, and the storyline too fun. A copy of The Ex Talk was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (For clarification, I received the ARC but ended up reading my library’s paperback copy). Check it out!!