Malibu Rising

- Taylor Jenkins Reid


Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.

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.

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 catches fire.


meh, nothing special:
I’ve read five TJR books now (well, six, if you count the one I DNFed), and I think I have a pretty good handle on her writing style by now. But Malibu Rising came totally out of left field. There’s a loss of direction in the storytelling and a lack of conclusion that doesn’t mesh with what I usually expect from TJR.

The start of Malibu Rising is excellent. The two storylines, June and Mick’s relationship, interchanged with their adult children’s lives, were beautifully written. I was very interested in this build-up to the party, even if the fire foreshadowing was very heavy-handed – a paragraph would’ve been enough; we didn’t really need pages to get the point. It was interesting to see where these siblings were and flashback to how they got there.

Once the party starts, things get out of hand. Much like the party begins to lose control, TJR seems to have lost her point. We get strange outside perspectives from famous people I couldn’t care less about, there are weird side plots about people that show up for a few paragraphs and are never mentioned again, and the more people that show up, the more muddied the waters become. And all the work done to set up this family and its history is all blown out of the water and ignored, and nothing much happens.
Much like the overly foreshadowed fire that does nothing besides burn down one house that no one cares about, this story ends with nothing really happening and no one really caring.
From a strong start to a boring conclusion, Malibu Rising is an anomaly in the normally well-plotted TJR body of work.



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