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Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: Malibu Rising
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Year published: 2021
Category: Adult fiction 
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2022 Google Reading map)USA (CA)

SummaryFour famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours,the family drama that ensues will changetheir liveswill changeforever.

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

Review: I can't believe it took me so long to read this book! I am a total southern California '80s child and this book is set in the year I graduated from high school and went off to college so I loved the references to music, language, clothing, and southern California approach to life.

I liked reading about these four siblings, getting to know them slowly (though it is a quick read) as their collective story is told in chapters that alternate with the story of their parents. The novel does a great job of showing the roles various siblings play (care taker, heart breaker, etc) and how each has been impacted by the trauma of their childhood.

The times--both the 1950s and the 1980s--are done well with the author capturing the feelings, attitudes, and social norms. I felt as if I was transported back in time.

One of the biggest take aways for me was thinking about what makes a family. Is it who raises us, who is on our birth certificate, or who is there for us (or not there for us) when we need them. I am really glad I finally got around to reading this one!

Challenges for which this counts:  
  • Pop Sugar--Set in the 1980s

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