Weather Girl is a rom-com that manages to stay sweet and funny despite tackling some serious subject matter. I found this book to be charming and relatable, and I especially enjoyed the mature communication between the two leads.
Ari Abrams loves being a meteorologist, but hates the constant conflict between her boss (the weather reporter, Torrance Hale), and Torrance’s ex (Seth, the station director). After a particularly awful and grossly unprofessional fight between Torrance and Seth at an office event, Ari discovers that Russell, a sports reporter at the station, shares her frustration. Ari and Russell think that there’s a chance that they can get Torrance and Seth back together, which would make the workplace more positive and allow both Ari and Russ to get the mentorship and promotional opportunities that they deserve. However, the more they work to renew the romance between Torrance and Seth, the closer they get to each other.
The actual plot of this book, influenced by The Parent Trap, is cute but predictable. There are a lot of charming and funny scenes as Ari and Russell work their magic, but everything that makes this romance truly special involves character interaction: the layers that Seth and Torrance eventually reveal, the familial relationships, some tense and some warm, between various family members, the maturity with which conflicts and relationships are approached by everyone except (initially) Torrance and Seth, who are locked in a passive aggressive war of hostile office signs.
Ari is living with clinical depression. I thought the book did a good job of addressing how this condition has affected Ari throughout her life and how she manages her condition, with the caveat that everyone who lives with clinical depression, including myself, has a different experience. Ari’s mother has the same condition and taught Ari to conceal her depression from everyone to avoid rejection.
By including Ari’s mother’s experience along with Ari’s, we get to see different generational experiences with depression and different coping mechanisms, both positive and negative. By the start of the book, Ari is managing her depression successfully with a combination of medication and therapy, but she still feels a need to conceal her condition and her occasional depressive episodes from everyone around her. A key part of the story is her developing the ability to be honest with someone who deserves her and meets her with support and acceptance.
Even though the story involves depression, it’s not depressing. This is a grounded story about people who feel real and complicated and who are also very funny. I adored the fact that most conflicts between Ari and Russell are resolved quickly because when a conflict arises they actually talk to each other. Several characters are in or have been or begin going to therapy, separately and/or together, and this is portrayed in a positive light.
Incidentally, Russell has a large tummy and is embarrassed about it. Ari loves it. In their first sex scene they navigate his body shame and her difficulties with orgasm (a combination of self-consciousness and a common side effect of anti-depressants). It’s a sexy, funny, honest scene and I loved it. I adored this couple with every fiber of my being, even on the rare and mercifully brief moments in which they were being stupid – moments which were, as I mentioned above, quickly resolved by communication.
For the most part, this story hit my personal sweet spot with enough conflict to keep the plot moving but with people resolving a lot of conflicts quickly by acting like mature adults. However, there’s one big fight towards the end of the book that felt contrived to me and that went on much longer than seemed realistic for these characters.
A small warning that as one of three Jewish people at the news station, Ari is on the receiving end of several micro-aggressions. For instance, she asks for the “Office Christmas Party” to be more inclusive.The office responds by changing the name of the party to the “Holiday” party but neglects to change anything else. Anti-Semitism isn’t a major theme of the book, but this and a few other micro-aggressions do show up, especially in the first few chapters.
I identified big time with different aspects of the characters in this book and I was completely devoted to Ari and Russell as a fun, imperfect, but honest and affectionate couple. I’ve read a lot of books recently in which the romance was the least interesting part of the book. This book gave me the opposite feeling. Ari and Russell are nice people who are nice to spend time with, so while this book was not, shall we say, action packed, it was a lovely story about being honest with and about yourself and others and finding unexpected love.