Book Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Goodreads Description:
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.


Malibu Rising is Taylor Jenkins Reid’s newest book and it did not disappoint me. I think it’s important to note, I never go into her books expecting it to be anything like her previous books. I go in knowing I love Taylor Jenkins Reid but I keep my expectations low and look forward to the journey I’m about to take on. Each of her books are very unique. The story begins and centers around the Riva end-of-the-year summer party, everyone is fascinated by the Riva family and this is the party to be at. Nina’s husband has just left her for another woman, and since he’s a famous tennis player everyone has heard about him walking out. Nina doesn’t want to have the party but feels like she still has to go through with it. By morning, the house goes up in flames. 

In Malibu Rising we have the Riva family, we have the parents Mick and June, their love story and ultimate toxic relationship. We’re also introduced to their adult children Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit. Their family situation has shaped their lives and their loyalty to one another, they're very well known because of their father and their own careers. This story has two main storylines; the parents' relationship and the kid's present-day situations. Mick and June had a lovely start, Mick promised to make it big as a singer and he promised to give June whatever she desires. When Mick does make it big, his life with June starts to crumble and eventually becomes very toxic. The children have to grow up with a famous father that everyone loves but has abandoned them in every way. Nina especially has to hold the family together, and eventually has to raise her siblings. We see how dysfunctional parent relationships can mold a family.

I really liked seeing the kid's dynamic and how they find their own way in the world. I loved June’s character and when she started to fall apart, I really felt for her. We see the generational trauma through this tragic story. Malibu Rising wasn’t my favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid book but I wasn’t disappointed in any way, I loved this story from start to finish. Even though we know this ends with the house on fire, we have no idea how we’re going to get to that point and I was pretty surprised by the ending. 


No comments