TJR blesses us with another 5 star book!
For those who know me well, it is unsurprising that I absolutely loved this novel. Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors and has been ever since I read her absolutely incredible novel, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Review here!). She always delivers and I had high hopes for this book. Luckily, she surpassed them.
Malibu Rising tells the tale of the four Riva siblings; Nina (the eldest), Jay and Hud (not twins but often play as if they are) and Kit (the youngest of the family). We are introduced to them as the children of international singer Mick Riva, who seems to be a thinly-veiled Mick Jagger in this. Interestingly, Mick Riva is the one through line for all of TJR’s later books; he appears in this, in Evelyn Hugo and is mentioned in Daisy Jones and the Six. Mick Riva is not a good father and neither is he a good man. The first half of the book jumps back and forth in time between the current lives of the siblings and the story of the courtship and marriage of their parents, Mick and June.
To say this is a tumultuous book is underselling it. It’s a testament to Reid’s ability that she manages to not only balance all the characters in this book but is able to give even the smallest background characters a definitive personality. The book takes place on the day of the giant Riva summer party and all the troubles that lead up to it and happen while the party is in full swing. It feels so authentically of the 80s that you can visualize everything happening in real time like a classic 80s party film. Throughout all the chaos the Riva siblings stand strong together, and though they are each battling their demons, TJR never reduces them to being rich, spoiled brats like one would assume. There is nuance to all of their personalities and insecurities that are brought to light. Even though they have money and influence, as a reader you’re never bogged down by hating any character or wishing ill on anyone. Taylor Jenkins Reid writes in such a simple way, yet her sentences speak volumes for who her characters are. I feel like she is an author to study if you want to write and have people being fully immersed in your books. I read this entire book in a day, as I have with all of her works, and I never want them to end. I can’t wait to read this again!
Title: Malibu Rising
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Three Descriptors: High-Drama, Character-Driven, Engaging
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