The year is 1983, and Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party is just around the corner. It’s always the wildest event of the summer, attracting both celebrities and people just wanting a glimpse of the famous Riva siblings, the children of legendary singer Mick Riva. There’s Nina, who, after being abandoned by her husband, just wants a quiet place to lick her wounds and rest for a moment. There’s Jay and Hud, the inseparable brothers who have a unique bond threatened by an impending confession. And then there’s Kit, overlooked and underestimated, yet harboring her own secrets. By dawn, Malibu will be engulfed by flames, and nothing will ever be the same.
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books are like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. They tear me apart — something I know all too well — yet I simply cannot stay away. This book I devoured in a single day, savoring how the perfect words melted in my mouth, the myriad flavors of emotion dancing across the tip of my tongue. The pungent lemon-peel bitterness of fury, the sparkling crispness of exuberance, the medicated heaviness of heartache — it was all there. Her writing cracked my heart open, the tumultuous passages crashing against the jagged, word-battered halves. I will admit, however, that Malibu Rising isn’t Reid’s best work. It had neither the soul-searing rawness of Daisy Jones and the Six nor the awe-inspiring complexity of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. June and Mick’s story was much stronger than Nina’s, and by including side character upon side character towards the end, some focus was directed away from the main storyline. But this didn’t take away from the sheer impact of the book. Reid is a master storyteller, and this showed in the way she wove threads of intricate character dynamics and powerful narrative arcs into the glorious tapestry that was Malibu Rising.