Published by Berkley on January 26, 2021
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
About The Ex Talk
The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon ticks a lot of boxes for me: enemies to lovers, coworker romance, witty banter, sweet steaminess plus public radio and podcasts.
Shay’s job as a producer for a show on a local public radio station is her life. Despite a sexist boss, she’s devoted to the station having worked there since interning in college. So it’s not surprising that when her boss hires the new guy straight out of grad school and respects his opinions more than Shay’s that sparks fly.
Domenic, the new guy, has a master’s in journalism and believes in Serious Journalism, and doesn’t miss a chance to let Shay know that what she’s doing isn’t it.
At a staff meeting, brainstorming ideas for a new show, Shay suggests a show about relationships, hosted by exes. She’s thrilled when her boss loves it. But not so excited when he suggests that she and Domenic host The Ex Talk. It’s worse when the show that Shay produces is canceled. She hosts The Ex Talk and convinces Domenic to get on board. Or she doesn’t have a job at all.
She and Domenic constantly engage in witty banter so once Shay gets him onboard with the idea of hosting the weekly show/podcast, the public love them. But how weird is it to be pretending to be exes when they’re starting to feel a serious attraction? And how do you keep up a lie when your career is about telling the unbiased truth.
My thoughts about The Ex Talk
At 29, married to her job, dealing with workplace discrimination, worried about her career, and angry about the New Guy not having to pay his dues, Shay is incredibly relatable.
Having lost a parent recently, I really appreciated Shay experiencing grief and not always coping with it well. I love that part of her passion for her job at a radio station is because it’s a tie to her dad.
Shay being older and more experienced with relationships than Domenic was a great flip of the script. It also led to some sweet steamy scenes. The “OMG I canNOT get enough of YOU” vibe between them was adorable and felt real.
The parts dealing with grief and loneliness felt spot on to me.
I appreciated that the author included LGBTQ+ representation in a way that felt authentic. When authors include characters that are obviously written as tokens it makes me cranky. Not the case in The Ex Talk though.
Why isn’t there to be an actual podcast like this? I would hit subscribe SO hard! I loved that part of the story is told via transcripts of The Ex Talk.
This was a thoroughly engaging, fast read with relatable characters who totally had me cheering for the fauxmance to be real. You also get a bonus eccentric pet which made for some fun scenes. Choose The Ex Talk when you need some serious book therapy.
If you’re looking for another romance where the MC is dealing with workplace discrimination, try How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams. Lots of banter and steam. Read my full review.
If you’re craving an enemies-to-lovers romance with a workplace setting, give the giggle-inducing The Marriage Game by Sara Desai a try. Read my full review.
My thanks to Netgalley and Berkley for the ARC.