‘Malibu Rising’ by Taylor Jenkins-Reid | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Taylor Jenkins-Reid
Title : Malibu Rising
Pages : 400
Publisher : Hutchinson
Publication date : May 27, 2021


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 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.


Well, this isn’t quite the review I thought I’d be writing.

Taylor Jenkins-Reid is one of my go-to authors and ‘Malibu Rising‘ was one of my most anticipated novels of the year. I had it on preorder for the longest time. Due to Brexit, customs and whatnot, it took forever to get here. So when my patience had been abundantly tested and my copy with its gorgeous spredges finally arrived, I dropped everything and dove straight in.

And … the world stopped turning.

Okay, nothing as dramatic as that but to my utter and complete surprise I couldn’t get into this story at all. It didn’t grab me, I didn’t care about the setting and worse, I didn’t care about the characters. The celebrities are all stereotypical alcoholic and/or drug addicted douchebags with no regard or respect for anyone else, and the men do not come out of this story looking well at all. I became so annoyed that I contemplated putting my copy back on the shelf, maybe giving it another go another day or maybe not, and staring at the pretty spredges would just have to do.

But I persevered. This is Taylor Jenkins-Reid after all. Benefit of the doubt and all that. And sure, it got better and yes, I became invested in this family. Considering everything these siblings went through, you want nothing but the best for them. In the end, I enjoyed it far more than I expected to when I was struggling so hard at the start. But it never reached that stellar level of ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo‘ or ‘Daisy Jones and the Six‘ and so ultimately, I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed.

I didn’t hate it, I just ended up liking it when I fully expected to love it. But even “liking” it only happened because I was too stubborn to give up on it, which I probably would have done had it been any other author. Maybe my expectations were just too high, who knows. Will it stop me from picking up her next book? Hell no!

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20 Books of Summer : 10/20

  9 comments for “‘Malibu Rising’ by Taylor Jenkins-Reid | #20BooksofSummer

  1. August 10, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I’m happy to hear that your perseverance paid off in the end you still ‘liked it’. I still haven’t read any of her books. I do love this cover though, and the spredges, are they pink by any chance? Maybe it’s better not to answer and tempt me :-). Great review Eva!

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 11, 2021 at 11:14 am

      They’re not pink but they so should have been! They’re green, like the waves on the cover.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. August 10, 2021 at 11:52 am

    Fab review! I think this is a bit of a marmite book, as I’ve seen a few mixed reviews for it. Plus Daisy Jones so brilliant! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. August 11, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Yeah, it was good, but it wasn’t great. Still, I’ll be willing to read what she comes up with next.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. August 27, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    Wonderful and insightful review. I have been waffling about this one as I did not like her last one. Now I am even more on the fence.

    Liked by 1 person

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