ARC Review: Malibu Rising

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s ability to create such rich, character driven stories made Malibu Rising one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. I’ve loved every book she’s ever written so I wasn’t even a bit nervous going into this. Again, she has created an emotional story with characters that just evoke all sorts of feelings in a reader – they all have detailed back stories and a million dimensions to them. Not to mention that Taylor manages this in a story that takes place over 24 hours (albeit with flashbacks included).

Star rating: 5 stars

If you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, you’ll be familiar with Mick Riva, the overnight husband. This is not his story, but rather the story of the wife and four kids he abandoned multiple times.

Nina is the oldest, the responsible one, the one who does anything for her family including becoming a swimsuit model which isn’t exactly her thing. Jay is next, a talented up and coming surfer, followed around the world with his brother, Hud, an amazing photographer. Finally, there’s Kit, the youngest, always being looked after, never treated like a grown up even though she’s 20 now. Together, they are the Rivas, having made their own way despite their deadbeat superstar father who left them alone.

I was definitely drawn to the female characters in this story the most. Nina’s sense of responsibility was heart-breaking, Kit was so confused about who she wanted to be in life. We also get flashbacks about their mother, June, Mick’s first wife. Basically, Mick Riva can choke for what he did to his family, he evoked a lot of hatred from me!

Between the flashbacks and the activities of the present day, there is so much going on but it is also easy to follow. I cried at the end of this story of complex family dynamics. The tension builds all the way through to the stunning conclusion. There are also random insights into side characters’ lives that were a little odd – I’m still not sure how I feel about them but it didn’t take away from my love for this story.

Overall, another 10/10 for Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’m not sure it’s my favourite novel of hers, but it’s 5 stars all the same.

Have you read any Taylor Jenkins Reid? She is probably my favourite author.

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