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The Ex Talk
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The Ex Talk
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An Instant Indie BestsellerPublic 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...
An Instant Indie BestsellerPublic 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...
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  • An Instant Indie Bestseller
    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.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover 1

    Dominic Yun is in my sound booth.

    He knows it’s my sound booth. He’s been here four months, and there’s no way he doesn’t know it’s my sound booth. It’s on the station’s shared calendar, the one connected to our email, in a blue bubble that reads booth c: goldstein, shay. repeats monday–­ friday, 11 to noon. ends: never.

    I’d knock on the door, but—­well, a sound booth’s defining feature is that it’s soundproof. And while I’m certain a list of my faults could fill a half hour of commercial-­free radio, I’m not quite so awful that I’d storm inside and risk screwing up whatever Dominic is recording. He may be Pacific Public Radio’s least qualified reporter, but I have too much respect for the art of audio mixing to do that. What happens inside that booth should be sacred.

    Instead, I lean against the wall across from Booth C, quietly simmering, while the red RECORDING sign above the booth flashes on and off.

    “Use another booth, Shay!” calls my show’s host, Paloma Powers, on her way to lunch. (Veggie yakisoba from the hole-­in-the-­wall across the street, every Tuesday and Thursday for the past seven years. Ends: never.)

    I could. But being passive-­aggressive is much more fun.

    Public radio is not solely filled with the kind of honey-­voiced intellectuals who ask for money during pledge drives. For every job in this field, there are probably a hundred desperate journalism grads who “just love This American Life,” and sometimes you have to be vicious if you want to survive.

    I might be more stubborn than vicious. That stubbornness got me an internship here ten years ago, and now, at twenty-­nine, I’m the station’s youngest-­ever senior producer. It’s what I’ve wanted since I was a kid, even if, back then, I dreamed of being in front of a microphone instead of behind a computer.

    It’s eleven twenty when the sound booth door finally opens, after I’ve assured my assistant producer Ruthie Liao that the promos will be in before noon, and after environmental reporter Marlene Harrison-­Yates takes one look at me and bursts out laughing before disappearing into the vastly inferior Booth B.

    I see his shoe first, a shiny black oxford. The rest of his six-­foot-­something body follows, charcoal slacks and a maroon dress shirt with the top button undone. Framed in the doorway of Booth C and frowning down at his script, he could be a stock photo for business casual.

    “Did you say all the right words in the right order?” I ask.

    “I think so,” Dominic says to the script instead of to me, completely serious. “Can I help you with anything?”

    I fill my voice with as much sweetness as I can. “Just waiting for my booth.”

    Since he’s blocking my path, I continue to scrutinize him. His sleeves are rolled to his elbows, and his black hair is slightly mussed. Maybe he dragged his hands through it, frustrated when his story didn’t turn out precisely the way he wanted. It would be a refreshing contrast to his recent stories dominating our website, the ones that get clicks because of splashy headlines but lack any emotional depth. During those fateful twenty minutes he spent in Booth C, maybe he grew so fed up with public radio that he’s on his way to tell Kent he’s so sorry, but he wasn’t cut out for this job.

    He’s barely been here long enough to understand the nuances between Booths A, B, and my beloved C: that the...

About the Author-

  • Rachel Lynn Solomon writes, tap dances, and collects lipstick in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of the YA novels You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone, Our Year of Maybe, and the forthcoming Today Tonight Tomorrow (June 2020). Her debut adult romantic comedy, The Ex Talk, will be published in spring 2021.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 23, 2020
    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. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary. (Jan.)
    Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated this was the author's first book.

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