HIGHLY ANTICIPATED SUMMER READ: Malibu Rising Review

91+feQBCK2LSummary (from the publisher): 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.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

Malibu Rising is one of THE books of June, if not THE book of summer. I feel like I mentally grouped so many big contemporary June 1st releases together – including but not limited to Zakiya Dalia Harris’ The Other Black Girl, Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop, and  Elin Hilderbrand’s Golden Girl because June 1st was THAT big of a new release day. At the time of writing this post, I’ve read The Other Black Girl and still have to read One Last Stop and Golden Girl, but out of the four, I was most anticipating Malibu Rising

I’ve now read all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, & I do plan on sharing a fun TJR ranking post later this summer. I was semi-inspired to do so after listening to Friends to Lovers Podcast’s TJR ranking episode recorded pre-Malibu Rising. They reminded me that I still needed to read Maybe This Time, which I read before about a week before diving into Malibu Rising. Controversial opinion that I’ll probably dive into in my rankings posts, but I prefer TJR’s contemporary romances to her latest releases, which don’t necessarily have a genre but tend to fall into historical fiction, including Malibu Rising. I feel like TJR’s latest three books are definitely distinct from her contemporary romance, but having read Malibu Rising and Maybe This Time so close together, I do see some of her old writing style come in – which don’t get me wrong, I love. 

Malibu Rising takes place over 24 hours set during the Riva family’s famed summer part, alternating between the perspectives of the four Riva siblings during those 24 hours and flashing to the past & leading to the present, starting with how the siblings’ parents met. In short, this book is a lot more than the beach party book synopsis, which is akin to Taylor Jenkin Reid’s other books, especially like Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six. Malibu Rising actually gave me slight Daisy Jones vibes, since Malibu Rising is set during a similar time period and the siblings’ father is a famed musician. TJR nails all of the previously-mentioned elements. The book was such an addicting read that makes you really feel for all the characters (except for their father, Mick, who I had no sympathy for whatsoever). I don’t think there’s necessarily one lead, but the oldest sibling, Nina, is the most famous of the four siblings and more importantly, had to really become their leader and role model as they grew up.

Ultimately, I did really enjoy Malibu Rising, as TJR really nailed all the sibling and family dynamics while also bringing in the extravagance and ‘rich people problems’ scene that was the party. I highly recommend picking this one up if you’re into multigenerational stories and books with sibling dynamics, However, I just wasn’t in LOVE with this one, like I feel like so many other readers, which is actually similar to how I felt with Daisy Jones and the Six. I really like her stories and characters, but find I don’t really connect with them much. I like how the book beings and ends with ‘a fire’ (no spoiler, but it was a touch reminiscent of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere), but I wasn’t left like absolutely stumped or needing more either?? I think TJR has become such a master of multi-perspective and generational stories, and I’d love to see her continue with this type of genre with maybe a touch more contemporary romance. Overall, pick this one up if you want to checkout the hype and want a summery book for the beach and pool this summer! 

Have you read Malibu Rising yet? What do you think? What’s your favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid book? 

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