First off, thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. I’m a huge Taylor Jenkins Reid fan, and I requested this title honestly expecting not to hear back or to be denied. When I got the news that I was accepted to check it out early, I might have literally jumped and screamed a bit! Malibu Rising is probably my most anticipated read of 2021, and I loved it so much that I’m sure I’ll have to snag myself a physical copy when it comes out on June 1.
Quick synopsis: It’s 1983, and it’s the day of the Riva siblings’ — Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit’s — notorious end-of-summer party, hosted at Nina’s beautiful cliffside home on the Malibu coast that attracts a wide variety of the rich and famous. But throughout the course of 24 hours (along with many flashbacks), more than a few secrets come to light that have the potential to ignite some major flames and force each sibling to come to terms with what it means to be family.
Dare I say it… but I think I might have loved Malibu even more than Daisy Jones & The Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo?! And both of those novels were outstanding to say the least. Unlike her last two novels, this story is a family drama at its core, focusing on the lives each of the Riva siblings, whose father is the world-famous — yet largely absent — musician Mick Riva. But similarly to TJR’s past stories, she created a book that perfectly balances stunning character development with a fast-paced, highly readable plot that was ambitious, glamorous, and steamy, yet also so warm and tender in how it portrays its main characters, primarily each of the four siblings along with flashbacks to their mother June. I also enjoyed the large cast of characters — lots of times in books, extra characters can feel unnecessary or be too complicated to keep track of, but like always, TJR’s always writes characters with a purpose that perfectly ties them into her story in a memorable, meaningful way.
I especially loved the Riva siblings. While none of them were even close to perfect, so full of flaws and mistakes and secrets that you knew were bound to hurt those they loved the most, each one was so lovable and relatable despite major star-power. I especially adored the sisters, Nina and Kit, who I felt were the glue that held both this story’s plot and the Riva family together.
For lovers of TJR’s past works or those who just love a sensational, steamy family drama, I highly recommend Malibu Rising — it’ll definitely be the perfect beach read of summer 2021!