Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Spoiler Alert-

Malibu Rising illustrates an unforgettable story that takes place in Malibu throughout many decades. The book follows the Riva family – most famous for the sensational singer Mick Riva being the father to this family. The Riva children, who have also gained popularity due to their dad, plan on throwing their iconic annual end-of-summer party. But, within 24-hours, the Rivas will have faced their biggest challenge and enter a new life. 

TJR does a fabulous job creating exciting characters who have a lot of personality and stories. My favorite character from the book is Nina, primarily the main character known for surfing and modeling. Her story is so heart-breaking yet motivating, and I feel that she really deserved better. Nina was forced to throw away her childhood and grow up in order for her and her family to survive. I relate to her struggle of trying to please people, and I’m glad that she was willing to let go and stop letting herself fall victim to everyone by the end of the story.

On the other hand, a character who I very much disliked was Mick Riva, but that is just how TJR intentionally wrote him. He was a horrible father, and I hate how he used his power and success to convince June and the kids to forgive him after he cheated. However, no matter how sorry he seemed, he never really was, and he would always find any other way out of commitments. The lowest that he ever was was when he never acknowledged his children after June died, leaving them to survive by themselves. 

To continue, a controversial topic in Malibu Rising is TJR’s use of too many characters. New characters were being thrown into the book within the last couple of chapters without too much purpose. I understand why some people might not like this choice, but I find it to make the story more realistic. I took from this concept is how many people show up in your life, only to be a part of that point; I don’t think every character needs to be remarkable. 

Also, I enjoyed the shifting of perspective across all characters. I think I would have gotten bored if the story was only told through Nina or June; instead, I was captivated and anticipating each chapter as I learned more about every single person – minor or majorly significant. 

The world within Malibu Rising seemed very realistic since it was based in Malibu. I like how each place had meaning to the characters, such as the Riva restaurant, Nina’s house, or the ocean. The book’s aesthetic was so summery, and I think it is perfect for reading on the beach! This book gives off a rich, sunny, surfing 80s vibe that I fell in love with. 

I enjoyed the medium-paced speed of the book. I think the right amount of time was spent on specific plots or topics. This helped me stay engaged and wanting to read more. 

My friend (and sister of fellow Sunday Morning Review writer Zoe) highly recommended Malibu Rising, saying it was one of her favorite books. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would like it because the book was recently released, and there were few reviews about it. However, I soon went to Barnes & Noble and bought a copy, not knowing that this would quickly become my favorite book! 

Taylor Jenkins Reid confirmed that this book is currently being adapted to be a series on Hulu. I am ecstatic to watch it. I think Malibu Rising was DESTINED to be a tv show!

★★★★★

Georgia

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