Malibu Rising
Book Reviews

Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid {Book Review}

Taylor Jenkins Reid has been a bit of a buzz author in the #Bookstagram world for quite a while. Her writing doesn’t seem to be in my genre, so truthfully, I really haven’t given her books a second thought. I received Malibu Rising to review maybe a month ago and I decided on a whim to pick it up a few days ago. This is one of those instances where I am so grateful to receive books from publishers to review, because I don’t think I’d have chosen this off a shelf in a book shop. Grateful why? Let’s get the review started and you’ll find out!

What is Malibu Rising about?

Malibu: August, 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them… and what they will leave behind.

My Review

My Thoughts

I found Taylor’s writing to be so effortless….like the words danced off the pages. The narrative flits from the present to the past, where we read about Mick’s courting of June (parents of the Riva kids), to their kids being born and everything in between. Taylor was very smart to set this book in the ’80’s, because had Mick and June been around in the 21st century, I reckon things would have turned out very differently. Malibu Rising is about family….the unconditional love, the betrayal, the hurt, the mess, the sacrifices….all of it.

It’s important to remember WHEN the book is set while reading it, because it really makes such a difference. There’s no Google and they use encyclopedias!! I know there was criticism for the fact that the issue around the fact that homosexuality featured in only a few paragraphs and not again. If anybody was around in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s….’coming out’ was not something that got the reaction that it gets today. So if anything, it’d be swept under the carpet….locked away, and that’s not really how the author dealt with it here, though it was dealt with quickly. So in the context of the book and time, I understand why it was dealt with as it was.

This is Us….Me…

Personally, there were no plot twists or heart stopping moments for me, this was a reading experience. I need to issue a disclaimer here, the reason this book spoke so much to me, was because I felt it mirrored so much of my own upbringing and experiences. Moments in the book really took me on a trip down memory lane, evoking a lot of emotion for me. I really connected with Nina’s character, she’s literally me…minus being a sexy, surfer pin up model! lol.

Also, the way the story was told, in the past and present…had a very ‘This is Us‘ feel, though June and Mick are no Jack and Rebecca Pearson!

My Rating

Malibu Rising had a Goodreads rating of 4.22 stars and it’s a solid 4 stars for me too. I’m docking a star, because I felt there was an abundance of characters, especially towards the end. I kept trying to figure out where this person featured in the story, and sometimes they really didn’t need to be there. Also, once the party stars, things get pretty unbelievable, but hey, that’s fiction for you 😉

This is a domestic drama of sorts, a great read for next to the pool….or in between thrillers. It made me laugh, cry, reflect….and I still think about it, a month after finishing it!

Disclaimer: Malibu Rising was sent to me my Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. 

I’m Simone, a mom of 3, a wife...obsessed with my family, makeup and books!

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