About the Book:
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.
“Those Rivas will break your heart.”
Any book set in the 1980s is sure to grab me. And Taylor Jenkins Reid’s particular style of cool prose made this book a winner for me. If you could somehow capture the elusive feeling of summer, she has done it with ‘Malibu Rising.’
The story focuses around the Riva family and an annual summer party given by the eldest sibling, Nina. The book is told in flashbacks and alternating viewpoints with the addition of several characters after the halfway point of the book. A wonderful tale of family drama, the book drew me in with its beautiful California setting and astute observations of family and loyalty.
The Riva siblings’ father Mick Riva is a world-renowned singer who basically is a stranger to his children. The book tells the love story between Mick and June Riva, and traces the trajectory of his brilliant career. The author does a wonderful job of weaving the vivid descriptions of Southern California life with the heavier emotional stories of the main characters.
“Mick Riva’s career—rocky tabloid headlines, a new hit album, a sold-out world tour—had taken off like a rocket, leaving hordes of young women screaming his name, millions of car radios playing his music as they sped down the freeway. And so, to his children, he was both inescapable and never there.”
The story is divided into two parts, the day of Nina’s party and the evening of the party and morning after. Even though the story is supposed to be set over a 24-hour period, the author gives us a rich backstory and history of all the main characters. Nina, the oldest and most steadfast, the brothers Hud and Jay, and the youngest Kit. While they all share a passion for surfing, I would not call this a novel about surfers, but instead a wonderful contemporary fiction novel that is one of my favorite reads of 2021. Taylor Jenkins Reid is always an auto-buy author for me!
“Nina considered her little sister. What a gift it was to know so clearly what you were not, who you did not want to be. Nina wasn’t sure she’d ever asked herself that question.”
Similar to ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’, there is a sharp examination of the high price of celebrity and fame. Although some of the characters felt a little gratuitous towards the end, nonetheless they all added a beautiful chaos to the story. And there is nothing better than reading an author who really knows her setting and can write about it in such perfect detail.
This novel takes a deep dive into family ties, old resentments and forgiveness. I loved that at its heart, this is a story about one family and their will to survive. Nine is definitely the Amin protagonist and as with all this author’s novels, she is unforgettable.
“Maybe our parents’ lives are imprinted within us, maybe the only fate there is is the temptation of reliving their mistakes. Maybe, try as we might, we will never be able to outrun the blood that runs through our veins.”
‘Malibu Rising’ is a perfect summer read. From the stunning blue cover to the memorable and vivd characters, this book is the perfect mix of weighty topics and celebrity references that all add up to a wonderful story.
(Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.