Rachel Lynn Solomon

Books: Romance

The Ex Talk (2021)

The Ex Talk (2021)

The Ex TalkShay Goldstein loves radio–especially public radio–and for the most part loves her job as a producer.

What she doesn’t love is her co-worker, Dominic Yun, who constantly mentions his master’s degree in journalism.

I’d read mixed reviews about this, so my expectations weren’t especially high. So I was pleased to be amused by it.

I mean, it’s hard not to be amused by lines like this:

Any moment, Carl Kasell will come back to life and record a message for my voice mail.

I pray to my radio gods, the ones who act cool and collected in even the most hostile of interviews. If Terry Gross survived her nightmare interview with Gene Simmons, then I can do this.

After all, I too am a public radio junkie, even if I never wanted to be on the radio. Possibly for similar reasons to Shay.

Mine is the kind of high-pitched voice men love to weaponize against women. Shrill. Unintelligent. Girly, as though being a girl is the worst kind of insult.

But I wasn’t thrilled by one off the problems in the story being her sexist boss.

Shay, you like the softer, more human-centered pieces.”

I don’t love the way he says softer, as though implying what I like is more feminine.

Don’t worry. The sexism gets more obvious than that.

Then Dominic turns out to be demisexual (although not named as such) which is always a plus–seeing ace representation.

“Sleeping with someone feels like a big deal to me,” he says, settling back into the couch, as though he’s grown more comfortable with the subject matter than he was fifteen minutes ago. “I don’t think I could do it casually.”

I suppose it’s possible they don’t name it, because then Shay would have looked it up, and that would have ruined part of The Misunderstanding. As it is, Shay quite clearly ignores this. Which isn’t unexpected, even if it is still problematic.

Then, we get to The Big Misunderstanding and that’s when I got irritated.

The situation at PodCon didn’t have to go the way it did, and it didn’t even feel likely that it would have gone the way it did.


If Shay had said they had been told they had to do the show or they would lose their jobs, that would have immediately resolved most of the problems AND there would have been no need for the stupid grovel. Because to be honest, Shay needed to apologize just as much as Dominic did because the situation was just as much her fault, since she was apparently unable to truly listen to anything Dominic told her, from how sex worked for him, to his stage fright.

Yes, they were manipulated into doing the show, and when the shit hit the fan she should have said that. That she didn’t is on her.


So, it was a mediocre story with a cute premise that utterly failed to stick the landing.

Publisher: Berkley

Rating: 6/10