Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Malibu Rising is set in August, 1983, with a summery beach setting of Malibu. It follows the protagonist, Nina Riva, on the day of her annual end of summer party, as well as the rest of the world-famous Riva family. Everyone wants to be around the Rivas – supermodel Nina, surfer Jay, photographer Hud and their little sister Kit are a source of fascination, especially as the children of singer Mick Riva. But by midnight, the party is completely out of control – and by morning, the Riva mansion has went up in flames. But what secrets will come out before that?
I went into Malibu Rising with really high hopes (largely due to all the hype surrounding it) so I’m really pleased that it met most of these. Sure, it wasn’t completely what I expected (for some reason I thought there would be more mystery) but this wasn’t an issue and I ended up really enjoying it. I know I’ll definitely be picking more of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books now!
Honestly, my favourite part of Malibu Rising was actually the dual timeline in the first half. The first half of the book alternated between the four children in the present and the Riva family’s past. As well as finding out more about how their parents met and fell in love, I also enjoyed getting glimpses of the four as younger children. It was devastating reading their parents’ marriage breakdown and all that they had to endure – I was really keen to find out what happened next. Each of them were so strong, although, as the oldest child, Nina definitely stood out as the strongest, taking on the burden of caring for her siblings.
I also really appreciated how big a theme family was in Malibu Rising. There was a really big emphasis on the importance of it and looking out for each other, which was a really lovely message. I also really liked how despite making some mistakes they all really cared about each other and would do anything for each other – I loved how tightly knit the siblings were, especially after everything that they’d been through.
Of course, I also really loved the individual characters! There were so many wonderful characters in Malibu Rising – there was a massive cast of them – and I found finding out more about each of them really interesting. With that being said, I do think that, at least for me, I found there were actually too many different characters at the party to properly keep track of, and that it meant that it was a lot more difficult to connect with the side characters.
Obviously all four of the Riva siblings were up there with my favourite characters! They all had such distinct personalities and I ended up loving all of them. It would be impossible to choose a favourite from them – I loved how strong and caring Nina was but I also loved Hud’s softer personality and sensitivity, and I also liked how spirited Kit was. I think it was a true testament to the writing that I loved that all so much!
Of course, with all of those amazing characters came some even better character development! I was pleasantly surprised by how much of a focus it was and really enjoyed reading all of the characters grow. The best example would have to be Nina learning to put herself first, but I also really enjoyed Kit’s journey of self-discovery throughout the party. I think the character development definitely made for some really strong lessons and messages!
The setting was another thing I really enjoyed. I’ve never visited Malibu before, but after reading Malibu Rising I would definitely love to see if it’s an option in the future! I found it really fun reading about the beach setting, with lots of surfing scenes, as well as the general feel I got for the place. Reid did a really good job of transporting me to Malibu!
Overall, I’d recommend Malibu Rising for anyone looking for a fun new summer read, as this was perfect to relax with this summer! I’d also recommend it to any fan of historical fiction, or even someone beginning to explore the genre, as this is a genre I don’t pick up a lot but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
Have you read Malibu Rising yet? Will you be adding it to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you enjoyed this review!