- Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Genre: Romance
- Publication Date: January 11, 2022
- Publisher: Berkley
Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.
In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.
Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?
Every time I read a Rachel Lynn Solomon book, I tell myself that it’s my favorite one of hers, and I can’t possibly love a book more. Until the next one comes out. And that is exactly what happened here. I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Weather Girl, and absolutely flew through it in record time.
I’ve always found something so appealing and recognizable about her representation, which is done differently in every one of her books. In this one, Ari is a Jewish woman, and I could identify with so much of her thoughts about this:
“All my memories of the holidays we observed—they were mostly good things. Even if these days, I only make it to temple during the High Holidays, Judaism is an integral part of my identity. My history.”
The beginning of the book takes place at a “holiday party” which is clearly a Christmas party. For some reason, many people seem to think that saying “holiday party” instead of Christmas party, automatically makes it inclusive, when that isn’t the case for the people who don’t actually celebrate Christmas. Solomon gets exactly to the heart of being Jewish in a Christianity-centered society:
“I realize I live in a city with a Jewish population of less than two percent, but the assumption that everyone celebrates Christmas has never not rubbed at me like the softest sweater’s sharp-edged tag. This time of year, it’s nearly constant.”
But wait, there’s more! This is the first book I’ve read where the love interest is a fat guy! And he’s a single dad, too. It talks a bit about the stigma that comes with being fat in our society, but the rep doesn’t end there. Because Ari struggles with depression, and I was thrilled to also see the topic of medication and therapy brought up so candidly throughout the story. I think the representation is done beautifully, and the importance of treatment is made clear multiple times.
“That’s the thing about depression. You can know it’s there, know it’s part of you, but you can go ages without seeing it. It lives with you, an invisible roommate, up until the time you start sinking, and then it sprawls itself across your couch and kicks its feet up on your coffee table and uses up all the hot water. Never pays its half of the rent, either.”
While these things are all great to see in a story, the characters and the plot were stellar. We only get to see Ari’s POV, but she’s such a great character. She struggles with several issues, not just her own depression, but the untreated depression that her mother has had throughout her life, and the effects that it had on their family. Naturally, this makes her reluctant to open up to others, and she clings to her sunshine-optimistic personality, even if it isn’t how she feels all the time. However, she’s definitely an optimist who believes the best about people, and I truly wanted to see her end up with Russell and be happy:
“When my college boyfriend, a guy named Michael I’d only been dating for a few weeks, dumped me because I spilled everything to him—my mother, therapy, my new antidepressants—and said he wasn’t ready to be in a serious relationship with me.”
As for the plot? It starts out with a Parent Trap-style set up to get their feuding bosses back together and stop impacting the entire workplace in a negative way. But it winds up being so much more, and there was a plot twist that I was so surprised to see but I have to be honest, I ate it up! Along the way, we see family dynamics, interfaith families included, and how past issues force their way up in interactions with others, especially in new relationships.
“I didn’t know a party game could be this fraught. But of course, this is what the Hales do. The Hales are why we can’t have nice things. They turn anything, even a simple game at a holiday party that is a Christmas party with one sad menorah ornament, into a standoff.”
Overall, I adored this book (in case you couldn’t already tell). It’s written with plenty of funny moments worked into the story, and unapologetically quirky characters. And naturally, I cried happy tears by the end, but could feel so much of what the characters were going through. It’s a fast read, but an amazing one that’s worth the time. Just like all her other books have been for me so far, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of her books.
Categories: Book Review