Book Review — Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Fiction

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.

via Goodreads

At the heart of this novel are the Riva siblings. You have Nina, the eldest with a heart of gold; Jay, the second eldest who is headstrong; Hudson (Hud), the kind and caring sweetheart; and Kit, the one trying to find her way.

Similar to Reid’s other works, she interweaves past and present narratives and little vignettes where you learn about even the smallest of characters. This could be difficult for some readers since you are introduced to so many characters, especially during the party scenes. Yet, I found it simply incredible how Reid is able to create a story that you become a little bit invested in for even the most minor of characters.

Back to the Riva family. We get to see their inception– the love story of their parents as well as the downfall. Their stories expand generations. You can’t help but root for this family and be admirable of what the children have overcome. I wasn’t particularly invested in this novel as a whole– Malibu in the 80s, the rich and famous, booze/drugs and drama– is not really my thing, but I found myself really invested in seeing how things work out for the Rivas. I think fans of Reid’s other works will not like it as much as Evelyn Hugo or Daisy Jones, but should still give it a try.

  • The imagery of the beach, the colors and vibes of the 80s is so fun
  • Characters that you really feel for and root for. Nina, in particular, is someone you can’t help but admire and want her to have the world.
  • So much infidelity!
  • Published by: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
  • Publish date: June 1st 2021
  • Number of pages: 384 pages
  • Author’s website:
  • Support local! Buy the book on BookShop!

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