Solomon, Rachel Lynn. Weather Girl. Berkley, 2022. ISBN 978-0593200148 352 pp. $6
I am in love with everything about this book. I appreciate my romance with a side of issues, peopled with real, imperfect characters, and Weather Girl’s protagonist Ari Abrams struggles with depression, managed by therapy, anti-depressants, and a fake-it-til-you-make it attitude. She struggles to keep her game face some days at her job as a television meteorologist, where her boss and her boss’s ex are creating a toxic work environment instead of the mentoring Ari had been hoping for. After an Emmy gets hurled through the window at the local Hilton, Air and the sports broadcaster on her shift, Russell Barringer, make a drunken pact at the annual Christmas party to Parent Trap their bosses into getting back together to create more office harmony, and find themselves bonding at swing dance lessons, a company retreat where Ari slips and breaks her elbow, her first hockey game on a double date with the bosses, and finally, an actual date to watch a solar eclipse.
Ari is fresh off a breakup and single dad Russell hasn’t dated in years, and it’s quickly apparent that the sparks between them aren’t just desperation. While Ari accessorizes with weather-themed jewelry and is on a single-handed mission to bring back the brooch and seems very comfortable in her skin and with her own desire, Russ defines himself as fat and is more self-conscious than Ari about getting naked in a refreshing and vulnerable twist. Part of Ari’s evolving to be more authentic is coming to terms with her own mother’s mental illness, that is just now getting addressed, and her mother’s lack of stability as a parent and in her romantic relationships.
The scheming to get Seth and Torrance back together seems to be working, and Ari is finally getting the things she needs to grow at her job, and things are great with Russell… until the bosses figure out what’s going on, and Ari sabotages the whole thing.
I loved Ari’s voice, which is sometimes funny, sometimes anxious, and wholly real. The chapters are titled like weather headlines and are cute, clever, and yet not over-the-top. Ari’s brother, his chef husband and their wise beyond their year five-year-old twins are strong characters, as is Russell’s twelve-year-old musical theatre geek daughter. Jewish practice is woven throughout, and an importance touchstone in the book. The sex is real: not just PiV, no immediate effortless orgasms, and with a hefty dose of consent, anxiety and insecurities. Most satisfying are the adult conversations Ari manages to have–with her brother, with her therapist, with Torrance, with her mother and with Russell. Her bravery to sort out the messy parts of her life is aspirational. This is book I want to own and re-read, and it’s going on my shelf next to Get a Life, Chloe Brown.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #WeatherGirl from #NetGalley.