Book Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Like the rest of the world, I read Daisy Jones and The Six back in 2019. I really enjoyed it, and so when I saw Taylor Jenkins Reid had her next book out, I jumped onto NetGalley for an advance review copy. Here’s the blurb:

“From the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo . . . 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 rising 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.”

The book flicks between two timelines. Firstly there are the 24 hours building up to and including the annual Rivas party – and then back to the 1950s when Mick and June Riva meet and have 4 children. The second timeline continues at pace through the children’s childhoods and all they go through. I enjoyed the different speeds of the timelines.

Much like ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ it appears to intertwine real life people of the era with the characters in the book in a very clever way. Malibu itself and the amazing coastline is also a character in itself.

The eldest sister, Nina, has definitely put herself way down the pecking order over the years – looking after her siblings, and I felt sorry for her at times as she’d never put herself first. Equally the siblings all had secrets from each other that evolved during the hours leading up to and during the party.

The party itself is fairly horrific – and the trashing of the house awful – it made me feel quite sick the amount of destruction that happened.

One minor niggle was the book talked about Madeira being in Portugal. And whilst Madeira is a Portuguese territory, it is a totally separate island in the Atlantic and it wasn’t mentioned like this at all. (I realise this makes me sound like a total pedant – but hey ho!!) But I had never realised Madeira was a surfers haven – I think of it as a place where my parents and other retirees go for some winter sun!!

Overall it was an immersive read and I did enjoy it, and the twists and turns in both timelines were excellent. In fact I think I enjoyed it more than Daisy Jones and the Six. I also thought that the ending was really well done with lots of the individual story arcs being concluded.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for my ARC. It was released last week, so if you like the sound of it you can buy it now!

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