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Malibu Rising – hit the beach with this engaging story of four surfer siblings set in the 1980s.

When driving along the Pacific Coast Highway through the 27-mile stretch of Malibu, you can’t help being fascinated by the area’s glamour. You know that along the beach, there’s a way of life most of us have never experienced. Author Taylor Jenkins Reid, takes us into 28150 Cliffside Drive and the world of the Riva family. Malibu Rising starts on August 27, 1983 at 7am. We learn that 24 hours later, the large cliffside beach house of Nina Riva will have been lost to a terrible fire.


The Riva siblings (Nina, Jay, Hud, Kit) have been through a lot. But by 1983 they have survived and are thriving. They are a close knit group and support one another. They are preparing for their annual end-of-summer party which has grown and now attracts a who’s who of celebrities and powerful Hollywood figures as well as in-the-know locals. Twenty-five year old Nina, the oldest of the group and a successful swimsuit model, decides to hold the party even after her husband, a top professional tennis player, has left her for another woman.


The story alternates between the ill-fated day of the party and the poignant history of parents June and Mick Riva, starting in 1956. They meet at the beach and fall madly in love as Mick is starting his career as a singer. Once he hits the big time and starts performing across the country, his roving eye becomes a problem.


Back to 1983 and the party is out of control. Secrets are revealed and the strength of the siblings’ bond is tested.


I find author Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing style very appealing. She tells a story in a way that pulls you right into the lives of her characters. This is a story of family, relationships, struggles, drive, self-discovery. The party is over-the-top with a large number of people, who are used to doing what they want with little to no consequences, behaving very badly. But the heart of the book is the relationship of the sisters and brothers which made this a strong read for me. (If you have read my favorite book by the author, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, you may remember that Mick Riva was one of the husbands. He also made a very brief appearance in Daisy Jones and the Six. We’ll have to see if any of the Rivas pop up again in future books. I hope so.)


Many thanks to NetGalley, Ballantine / Random House and the author for the opportunity to read Malibu Rising in advance of its June 1, 2021 publication. The author’s last two books are heading for screen adaptations and I would expect this book will find its way to the big or small screen as well.


Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Contemporary Historical Fiction.

Publication Date: June 1, 2021.


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