ARC Review: Malibu Rising

Posted May 10, 2021 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC Review: Malibu RisingMalibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction
Published by Penguin Random House on May 25, 2021
Also by this author: Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, One True Loves, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Evidence of the Affair, Daisy Jones and The Six
Format: eARC (384 pages) • Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars

Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.

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 for him 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.

Since TJR has switched up her stories away from portraits of contemporary love or marriage, and into more character studies via historical fiction, I was wondering if they would hit me the same. I adored her first foray into it with EVELYN HUGO. I loved reading about her life and figuring out how the heck she’d manage to get married seven times. I was super excited for DAISY JONES because I’m a big fan of classic rock. However, I found it to be so-so and a bit cliche. Just a classic, somewhat typical portrait of a rock band. I needed this to be more EVELYN HUGO than DAISY JONES.

This story is a picture of a family across generations set around Malibu and Hollywood in the early 1980s. Mick Riva, the soon-to-be-famous rockstar, met his wife June, who worked at her family’s restaurant, and they fell in love. They got married, had some kids, broke up, got back together, had another kid, and broke up again. The story switches between past (the parents’ relationship) and present (the day of the big Riva family end-of-summer party) for most of the book. It was neat to have a full picture of the Riva family intertwined with the “present day” of summer 1983. Nina, the eldest daughter, has become a famous surfing model. Her ~twin~ brothers Jay and Hudson make their living off Jay’s surfing and Hudson’s photography of said surfing. The youngest, Kit, is kind of finding her way in the world.

From a format/voice perspective, we get to read from everyone’s point of view… and I mean everyone. There are random people at the party going through all kinds of things that we get to read about. It made for a really fleshed-out story. Even though I often forgot this was set in the 80s, learning about each of the random party-goers, their outfits, and Hollywood-related stories definitely helped remind me.

It did take me a while to settle in to the story (I think this is the longest I’ve ever spent reading a TJR book?? Even DAISY JONES, my least favorite, took me like one day) and I was really afraid it would end up not working for me. I fell in love with the Riva children and became engrossed with how it would all turn out for them. Nina was like a mother to her siblings and never stopped working for them. Their bond was so clear throughout the book; I loved it.

Overall, another winner. I really shouldn’t doubt TJR regardless of genre or time period.

2 responses to “ARC Review: Malibu Rising

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