Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: Malibu Rising
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical / Family Drama
Audience: Adult
Format: Audiobook
Narrators: Julia Whelan
Length: 11 hours (384 pages)
Publisher: Ballantine Books; Penguin Random House Audio
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Source: ALC
Recommended for fans of: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Content Warnings: infidelity, alcoholism, absent parent, death of a parent


Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, their lives will change forever.

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 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 bubbling 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.


This is my favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid book yet, after reading Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones. The way she writes characters is so nuanced and compelling, they truly feel like real people.

I’m not normally a fan of family dramas, but I couldn’t stop listening to this audiobook. The story is told in dual timeline, alternating between the night of the Riva party in 1983 alternating with flashbacks to the parents meeting all the way up to the “present.” The tension is expertly built chapter to chapter as the story builds towards an explosive and emotional crescendo.

Julia Whelan’s narration was fantastic and brought me to tears at multiple points in the story. All of the Riva kids made great strides toward self-discovery during the night of the party, but I especially love Nina’s growth. Highly highly recommend. This is a top book of the year for me.

Thank you to and the publisher for the ALC.

Author: Caroline | Carolibrary

Hello! I’m Caroline! I am a teacher, a book lover, and a nerd. My passions include reading, writing, bookstagram, barre & yoga, baking, binging TV shows, and Star Wars. I love stories in all formats because they can transport you to a different world while helping you understand the world around you. I have always found books to be a particularly magical source of imagination.

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