Book Review | Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid


[ad • review copy]
Received via NetGalley.

TW: alcoholism, drugs, death of parent

It’s 1983 and the day of the annual Riva party has arrived. The Riva siblings, Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit, are known in their own right, but are also the children of the famous singer Mick Riva. Everyone wants to attend the infamous party, but this year will be the biggest yet. There will be drama to unfold, secrets to uncover, and the whole thing will end in flames.

This is the first novel I have read by Jenkins Reid, and I was blown away. The characters and story felt so real that I had to remind myself that it is a work of fiction. Jenkins Reid has a talent for crafting an unforgettable narrative, with characters that are flawed, loveable, and stay with you.

The characters are what I loved most about this novel. They were well-defined, and had a depth that made them feel like real people with real histories and emotions. I particularly loved the bond between the siblings, and the more we learned of their childhood, the more attached I grew to them. I cared particularly deeply for Nina, and her character arc was great to see.

The narrative is structured so that we read about the day of the party, whilst being given chapters about the past to show Mick and June Riva’s relationship and the upbringing of the Riva children. This narrative was emotional and heartbreaking, and added so much to our understanding of the Rivas. I liked that the narrative takes place over the course of one day, with chapters from the past building our understanding and emotional attachment.

Themes that this novel explores really well include fame, loss and family. These are all woven perfectly into the narrative, and Jenkins Reid uses them to explore the hardships that the Riva family endures, as well as the strength that can arise from facing difficulties.

Overall, I loved this novel and found it hard to tear myself away from it. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy when Malibu Rising is released on 27th May, and I hope you’re ready for the Riva party.

A story of fame, family, and the bond between siblings, Malibu Rising is must read for anyone who enjoys contemporary, character-driven narratives that explore the flaws and resilience of people.


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