Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Released: June 1, 2021
Received: Own (BOTM)

3 kitties

Okay, so to preface my review, I’m going to state that Malibu Rising is not normally a book I would pick up and dive into. I tend to be overly picky about my historical fiction reads.

However, Malibu Rising was one of the top contenders for BOTM’s book of the year award, and that caught my attention. When given a chance to nab a copy (through BOTM) for free, I didn’t hesitate.

Who hasn’t dreamed of the fantastical parties that must occur around the rich and famous? Well, one party is about to get out of hand. The year is 1983, and one of Malibu’s premier events is on the horizon: Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party.

However, she’s not quite in the right headspace for this party. She and every member of her family seem distracted by personal issues. These issues set the tone for the party, which will eventually go up in flames. Literally.

“How were you supposed to change- in ways both big and small- when your family was always there to remind you of exactly the person you apparently signed an ironclad contract to be?”

Wow. There is SO much going on within Malibu Rising! I can see why fans ended up loving it so much. We’re talking about layer upon layer of subplot and character-driven elements. All of which come together for an explosive finale. Sorry, last time I make a pun like that, I promise.

If you love historical fiction, suspense, or family drama, the odds are good that you’re going to find something to appreciate here. It doesn’t hurt that a lot is going on here. But I should probably take a step back for a moment.

Malibu Rising is predominantly told through two different points in time. The past and the present. One follows Nina Riva and her siblings as adults; the other follows their parents and younger selves.

I’ll confess that I found one timeline to be more interesting than the other. It seemed like the present had many more threads to play with. However, I can see how the past was setting the scene for what was to come. So I wouldn’t have cut it out, given a chance to do so.

I loved the added surfing elements and very individual plots each character brought with them. It felt like we were diving into a fleshed-out world. One that is admittedly very full of drama! It makes one grateful for a calmer life, right?

Overall I’d say that Malibu Rising was a fun and exciting read. While it was not my favorite, I can certainly see why so many loved it. More than that, I can see why it almost won.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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