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Malibu Rising Book Review (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

It was the Malibu Rising book that first got me started on my Taylor Jenkins Reid journey.

I’ve since read nearly all her other books, including Daisy Jones and The Six, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Carrie Soto is Back.

It’s safe to say I love Taylor Jenkins Reid books!

Malibu Rising was released in 2021 and was a massive hit.

This is my honest Malibu Rising book review.

Malibu Rising Book Review: Plot

It’s 1983 and Nina Riva is throwing her annual end-of-summer party. Her parties have become as legendary as the Riva family themselves.

The Riva siblings, Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit are the offspring of world-famous singer Mick Riva and are successful in their own right. The Riva siblings fascinate the people of Malibu and the party is the place to see and be seen.

That night in 1983, the party attracts famous actors, sports stars and singers. However, by midnight, the party will be out of control and by morning the Riva mansion will have burnt to the ground.

The story switches between time periods, starting with the morning of the party in 1983 and flicking back to the 1950s when their mother, June, first lays eyes on the enigmatic Mick Riva. We read about the choices of the parents and the lives of the siblings which lead them to where they are now.

It’s a story of family, betrayal and secrets set against the beautiful backdrop of Malibu.

Malibu Rising Book Review: My Opinion

I was instantly drawn in by the writing. Some books can take a while for me to get into but that was not the case with Malibu Rising. The descriptions of Malibu were so vivid that I could clearly see the beaches and mansion in my mind. I could also clearly visualise the changes that were made over the decades since June was introduced in the 1950s.

Malibu Rising was described as great beach read and I think I expected a frothy, light-hearted novel. While the setting of Malibu did make it a perfect summer read, it was much deeper than I expected. I wasn’t expecting to be as moved by it as I was.

The characters were well developed and I enjoyed the introduction of the supporting characters which showed the Riva siblings through a different lens. Often the guests found the siblings to be beautiful, privileged and enigmatic but they didn’t see the complex emotions beneath and the bonds that tied them all.

I loved reading about their mother June, a flawed character but one I rooted for. The siblings, each in their own way, appealed to me too and I wanted a happy ending for them all.

I loved the symbolism of fire and rebirth. It was beautifully written with some really gorgeous phrases. I particularly lingered over this quote:

“They had taught her family is found, that whether it be blood or circumstance or choice, what binds us does not matter. All that matters is that we are bound.”

I honestly loved the book, in a way I wasn’t expecting to. 


Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is out now and you can purchase it here.

You may also be interested in:

Taylor Jenkins Reid Books In Order of Release: A Complete List

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