Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (ARC Review)

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Page Count
: 384
Release Date: June 1, 2021

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: alcoholism, parental abandonment, loss of a loved one, adultification, mention of drug use, cheating

Many of my friends would probably gasp at the statement, but Malibu Rising was my first full length novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I had always meant to check out her books, had made plans so many times before, especially because I had enjoyed her novella Evidence of the Affair a whole lot, but apparently never followed through. I’m so very glad I remedied that now.

As we follow the Riva family through the decades, it is somehow easy to fall in love with all these characters. They felt real and flawed and relatable. With so many mentions of people that actually exist(ed), you were almost tempted to look up if their story was based on someone’s actual life.

As you alternate between the siblings Nina, Jay, Hub and Kit as grown-ups in the 80s and their parents June and Mick falling in love in the 50s, it becomes clear early on how these people shaped each other. While I first worried that some of the characters would get lost, there was a great balance between all of them and it felt astonishingly easy to follow their tale. Character traits as well as relationships to others but also money make a lot of sense when you consider the decisions made by those who came before you. It is all interwoven and shows how you can become the person you want to be because of or despite of your upbringing. My heart broke for these characters over and over and over again. I really just wanted to hold them and was proud of how they continued to trust in people and gave their love so freely even after the hardships they endured.

I have to say, as much as the book had me in the first half, it kind of lost me at times in the second one. I was so invested in the fate of the siblings, in their life story, I didn’t even really care if there was a bigger plot to it all. Just following their struggles and growth, seeing them get through it together, was enough for me. However, as much as I had forgotten the big life-changing party was going to take place later on in the book, it still came barreling in in the second half.
While I thought it was already bordering on too many POVs when we just had the siblings as well as their parents, Taylor Jenkins Reid doubled down and introduced many one-off POVs to show just how crowded and wild the party was getting. I understood that some of the fleeting perspectives added to the atmosphere, but overall, they weren’t necessary to further the story in my opinion. It all just became a bit too much and too disjointed for me.

Still, I cannot help but feel touched by all of it! Family and all its intricacies is one of my favorite topics to read about and Taylor Jenkins Reid managed to really bring that home. Each of the siblings was unique in their own way, but it was easy to find part of myself in each of them. The style of writing is engaging and manages to capture the flair of the setting and time period perfectly. I could picture everything in my mind as if I was watching a movie from back in the day. It’s rare that I read about a bunch of siblings who all love to surf with all their heart (something I know nothing about) and still feel so very connected to them. Definitely a read I will continue to cherish!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Very strong start with a bit of a jumbled second half, but still SO MUCH heart!


Do you plan on reading Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest novel? What is your favorite one by her you’ve read so far? Let’s talk!

9 thoughts on “Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (ARC Review)

  1. Okay, you had me at real, flawed, and relatable. It sounds like these characters are really easy to relate to and I’m told Reid has a reputation for developing relatably flawed characters. The one-off POV’s do sound unnecessary, especially when you’ve already built up a connection with the main protagonists. I keep meaning to read a Taylor Jenkins Reid books and I’m even more convinced that it’ll be worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She really does have a reputation for writing amazing and real characters! I have Daisy Jones and the Six as an audiobook, because I want to check it out before the TV adaptation releases. Apparently, Evelyn Hugo will also be adapted, so now I have all the more reasons to read it as well. I think with that, I’ve covered her most popular works, although I really hope that people will connect to this one too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah Kat this is such a fantastic review and I’m so happy you enjoyed it, despite feeling a little lost with all the POV at times. I’m really looking forward to reading this one. I adored Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones SO much, honestly, I can’t stop thinking about these, so I can’t wait to read that one 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Marie ❤
      I really had a great, emotional time with the book and am looking forward to reading more by TJR. I feel like she’s among everyone’s top authors and I really understand why!

      Like

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