Updated: Sep 10, 2021
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
A Captivating and Cleverly-Layered Story of Complex Family Dynamics.
Anticipation of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party is higher than ever. Everyone who is anyone wants to be with the famous Riva siblings. Actors, musicians, surfers and tennis greats will all be there. Nina is a talented surfer and model. Her brother Jay is a famous surfer, and Hud is a renowned photographer. Kit, the baby sister, is simply adored by all. These four siblings are also well known as the children of legendary singer Mick Riva. But Mick, a ladies' man, abandoned the children and their mother when the kids were young, and they haven't seen or heard from him for years.
Nina, who had to raise her three siblings when their mom, June, passed away, is not looking forward to this year’s party. Nina’s tennis pro husband Brandon had recently abandoned her, much like her mother had been abandon by their father.
Hud, Jay, and Kit are also a little nervous about the party. They all have secrets that will be revealed at the party. But the party of the summer goes sideways, it gets totally out of control. The mansion is trashed and the police are called. But the Riva siblings are oblivious, no one can find them. An uninvited party guest will have the siblings all seething. The morning after the party, the beautiful Malibu cliff-side mansion will go up in flames. So now what will become of the Riva’s.
MALIBU RISING is a captivating family drama alternating between the day of the party in 1983 and the backstory of the Riva family history in the 1950s and ’60s. The book contains quite a bit of family history, which adds depth to the characters. You will not understand the complexity of the siblings and their dynamics until you understand their parents.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is making a name for herself with historical fiction set in the mid to late twentieth century. Her writing is atmospheric. I particularly loved the surfing descriptions and how surfing played a significant role in the siblings' successes.
The family experienced about as many ups and downs as there are swells in the ocean. Their difficult childhood leads to a strong sibling bond, which gives a nice feel to the book. MALIBU RISING is a cleverly layered story of complex family dynamics.
Taylor Jenkins Reid skillfully transports us to Malibu, California, making us feel the heat of the fire, the rise of the ocean, and the gross sense of entitlement. Reid is the best-selling author of Daisy Jones and the Six (2019) and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (2017).
Audiobook narrator Julia Whelan's voice aligns with the rises and falls in the story. Her subtle performance takes you into the story with great pacing and nice characterization differentiation.
Publisher Penguin Random House Audio
Published May 31, 2021
Narrated Julia Whelan