E-ARC Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Page Count: 384
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

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.

First and foremost, I want to thank NetGalley and Ballantine Books for free E-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This does not in any way effect my rating!

I knew that this book was going to be good, but I think I underestimated how much I would like it. Taking place in the 1980s, this book follows the famous Riva siblings as they prepare for their famous, yearly party. Taking place in only 24 hours, the night will be one that changes their lives forever, and ultimately ends with their house bursting into flames.

Like Taylor Jenkins Reid’s other books, the characters were absolutely unforgettable. Usually, I am not a fan of many characters in a novel, but she crafted them so well that the story would have felt incomplete without any one of them. We have Nina, the oldest sister who is a surfing model going through a divorce. Nina was one of the lead characters in this novel, and probably my favorite. Towards the beginning, I will admit that I found her to be a bit flat, because I just wanted her to stand up for herself. But by the end, the reader appreciates every detail, because the character development was just amazing. Even so, it didn’t feel out of place. I was rooting for Nina the entire time, and just wanted the best for her.

Next we have Jay and Hud, who were raised like twins despite being half brothers. I will admit, I felt like these two were the least developed because I kept mixing them up. Even so, I am happy they were both there because it created a brotherly conflict that kept me on my toes. Hud is an aspiring photographer, and is hiding a huge secret from Jay that will change both of their lives forever. I absolutely adored the love these two had for each other, and found their relationship to be really real. Even though they get into fights, at the end of the day, they want what’s best for one another.

And lastly, there’s Kit, who was probably the most fascinating of the Rivas. The youngest of the 4, Kit is outspoken and isn’t afraid to tell others what she thinks. Going into the party, Kit is determined to kiss a boy for the first time, only to discover herself in the process. I believe that Kit is 20 in this book, and I will admit that she read more like 17 or 18. But even so, she was a great character, and I would love a novel just about her, because she is without a doubt a rising star in the Malibu Rising world.

Watching these 4 siblings navigate life together was just so great to read about. I loved their banter back and forth, and their relationships didn’t feel forced or cheesy. I also loved that they love to surf together. Surfing is a big part of this novel, and it is clear how much it means to each of the siblings, and how it has helped them get through loss and hardships together.

This story also contains a lot of flashbacks from the 1950s, where their parents story is told. Those take place mostly in the first half of the book, and didn’t take away from the main plot. Mick and June’s love story absolutely destroyed me, and I had to put the book down for a little bit because I had so many emotions. Mick and June are just as developed as their children. Their relationship with fill you with love, hope, rage, and pretty much every emotion in between.

My only critique of the story was the party itself. Taylor Jenkins Reid included a few characters who we see only once, and tells a scandalous story about what is going on at the party. I think she did this to really show how out of control the party was getting , but it was understood without those little scenes. I felt like it dragged down the plot, and took away from the characters I really wanted to read about. Even so, this book was so addicting and it had me up until 2 a.m. because I had to know what happened next.

All in all, this was a fabulous book. Even though I didn’t think it was on the same level as Daisy Jones & The Six, it was still definitely up there, and has officially pushed TJR to becoming one of my favorite authors.

Malibu Rising is out now, so don’t forget to pick up your copy!

6 Books That Are Worth The Hype- Part 1

If you’re at all like me, you may be skeptical of hyped books. Some of my most disappointing reads this year have been books that were so hyped up, that I was sure I would love them. So when I didn’t, I was quite let down. So, I have acquired a list of books that did live up to the hype for me!

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

I read this book just last month, and I put it off so long because I didn’t think there was any way I would like this as much as everyone else does. However, this book very much exceeded my expectations! The atmosphere was so dark and I loved the dual perspectives that this book follows! I would definitely recommend this book if you are skeptical about picking it up! You can read my full review here.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This book took the entire Internet by storm when it first came out, and so I was hesitant to pick it up because there was no way I would like it as much as everyone else. But guys- this was the cutest thing I’ve ever read! This royal romance has everything you could ever want in it, and will leave you swooning. It has definitely been my favorite contemporary of 2020 so far! You can read my full review here.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

As soon as I started reading this book, I knew it was going to be a 5 star read. Sabaa Tahir is a master story teller, weaving in an intricate world with characters you would die for. This is a book set in a world inspired by Ancient Rome, and follows a female slave and male soldier in dual POV. This is definitely another favorite of mine for 2020, and I can’t wait to read book 2 soon! You can read my full review here.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

This is another book I’m sure you have seen around, and rightfully so because it was so cute! This is a small town f/f romance that follows Liz as she campaigns to be prom queen so she can move out of rural Indiana. Growing up in a small town I definitely resonated a lot in this story, and watching Liz grow as a character was so much fun. You can read my full review here.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

You know, we can honestly just put all of Elizabeth Acevedo’s books on this list, but Clap When You Land is my favorite so far! I’m sure you know, but this book is written in verse and follows two sisters who discover one another after their father is killed in a tragic plane crash. This book will pull at your heart strings. I am still not okay and I read this in June!

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Even though I read this last year, it still definitely has a place in my heart as one of my favorite books of all time. This follows a band called The Six in the 70s as they make begin their rise in fame and their eventual downfall. This book is told in an interview style format and it really felt like I was reading about a real band. I didn’t even know it was fictional until about halfway through! I would highly recommend the audiobook as well, because it has an amazing full cast of characters.

I definitely plan on doing a part 2 of this, so let me know what you think about these books! Were they worth the hype for you?