Malibu Rising – Book Review

By: Taylor Jenkins Reid

My Goodreads Review: 4/5 Stars

“Our family histories are simply stories. They are myths we create about the people who came before us, in order to make sense of ourselves.”

My Summary:

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid tells the story of the Riva family: Mick, June and their four children: Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit. The main plot was set on August 27th, 1983, but there is a back and forth timeline that helps the reader understand the Riva family and where they are today. In the beginning, we are told that this party will come to a fateful end, and each chapter gives the reader a bit more information as to how and why it ended the way it did.

In the present timeline, Nina, the oldest of the Riva children, has become a famous surfing model who is getting ready to throw her annual Riva party. Her life has taken an unexpected turn making her wish she could cancel the party entirely. The other Riva children are also going through their challenges leading up to this famous party. It is at this event where everything comes out in the open for the Riva family.

“Family is found…whether it be blood or circumstance or choice, what binds us does not matter. All that matters is that we are bound.”

My Review:

I listened to Malibu Rising on audio, and I really enjoyed it. The characters were exciting, leading lifestyles I know very little about. The time, 1983, was also fun to read about; I have read very few books from this period. The book made me feel like I was back in Malibu in the 1980s. The story was written perfectly, giving slight hints and glimpses into the past while keeping you tied to the current Riva party.

I really liked learning about the Riva family and following along in the Riva party drama. It was really interesting to listen to how Mick and June met, how they started their family, and how fame affected their lives. This background information made it clear why the Riva children were as close as they are today. I also enjoyed getting hourly updates into the Riva party; these chapters drew your attention right back to the main plot, while also connecting the families past to their present. Sometimes in these types of books, I find the side plots a bit of a distraction, but I didn’t feel that way with this story.

Also, I really liked each of the characters in this story, which rarely happens. The Riva children were engaging in their own way, and I loved learning more about them. I felt the most sympathy and sadness for June and held hope that she could turn things around for herself. As well, the close relationship the four siblings had was beautiful. Overall I liked each character; they were each an essential part of the Riva story.

This was an exciting, fun and dramatic mystery/thriller. The characters were all great, and the main plot was very enticing. It also could have a lot to do with the fact that it was an audiobook, and it felt a lot like hearing a movie. Overall, I would recommend this book; it was a great listen! I will definitely be reading more books by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

“Nina understood, maybe for the first time, that letting people love you and care for you is part of how you love and care for them.”

Other Books by Taylor Jenkins Reid:

*Daisy Jones & The Six – Goodreads Rating: 4.2/5 Stars

*The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo– Goodreads Rating: 4.4/5 Stars

“She had to choose what, of the things she inherited from the people who came before her, she wanted to bring forward. And what, of the past, she wanted to leave behind.”

Have you read any books by Taylor Jenkins Reid?

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