Title: Malibu Rising
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
TW: Infidelity, Death of a parent, Abandonment, Substance Abuse
“Family is found…whether it be blood or circumstance or choice, what binds us does not matter. All that matters is that we are bound.”
Malibu Rising follows the Riva family: it’s 1983 and the day of the famous end-of-summer party at Nina Riva’s house. By invitation only, Nina and her siblings Jay, Hud, and Kit are preparing for the evening. But by the end of the night, the house will have been destroyed by a fire and the Riva’s will uncover and confront secrets from their past. With a famous but absent father, a mother whose tragic demise still hangs heavy over them, and a world that watches the siblings with a closer eye than they’d like, the Riva family is one unlike any other.
This is the fourth Taylor Jenkins Reid novel I’ve read (Daisy Jones, Evelyn Hugo, and One True Loves being the other three) and I’m glad that it didn’t disappoint. I’ve always found her to be a master of slow burn storytelling and allowing a story to unfold by throwing its characters right into the spotlight. And Malibu Rising is no different. It’s really a book of two parts: the present with the siblings as adults, and the past with them as children and the tumultuous nature of their parent’s relationship.
Personally I actually loved the story of Mick and June (their mum and dad) and it’s one oft he reasons I loved the book so much. I think some readers got annoyed because it feels like you’re detracting from the main storyline, but TJR always gives her characters proper fleshed out backgrounds and personalities and that’s how they end up feeling so real!
I think where the book is let down slightly is the ending; taking a look at it’s predecessor The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, the book is building and building the whole way through and then we get this twist and explosive plot development and it makes the book thoroughly gripping. Then look at Malibu Rising, and again it’s building throughout, but unfortunately it never culminates to anything in the same way so I was left a little underwhelmed.
All in all I definitely enjoyed Malibu Rising and I’m glad to have had my faith restored after I didn’t enjoy One True Loves! Thus far all her books seem to be great if you like meandering, character-driven plots with personalities that will slowly pick away at your heart.