Dive Into “Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Caption: “Malibu Rising” is a New York Times bestseller by Taylor Jenkins Reid, also the author of “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” and “Daisy Jones and the Six.” REESE’SBOOKCLUB/COURTESY

By Jilleen Barrett, Senior Writer

Are you in a happy, healthy relationship with a significant other? Are you getting along with all of your friends, siblings and parents? Are you looking to spice up your perfectly normal life with a little drama just for entertainment’s sake? Then you need to read “Malibu Rising,” a New York Times bestseller by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

In “Malibu Rising,” readers meet Nina Riva, a surfer and model who lives in a beautiful house in Malibu, California. That summary of her life makes it seem perfect, and so does the beginning of the book. But read more, you realize how detrimental Nina’s parents’ actions were to her life as a young adult. 

Nina’s parents are June and Mick Riva. June was the heir to a beachside seafood restaurant and Mick was rising in stardom as a singer when Nina was born. After Mick leaves the family not once, but twice, June was left to raise Nina and her three younger siblings on her own. Over time, though, she started to suffer from alcoholism and when Nina was 17, she passed away.

The book takes place about seven years later when Nina is separated from her husband, working as a surfing model and living in a gorgeous Malibu house near where she and her siblings grew up. At this point, Nina is still the main caretaker of her siblings and the owner of her mom’s family’s restaurant. All of the siblings are well-bonded at this point because of their shared love of surfing, which rose to popularity as they were growing up in the 60s.

Other than the tangents the book goes off on to explain background details about the characters’ lives, it takes place on one day: the day of Nina’s annual house party. While most parties are fun, Nina’s are legendary, but this one is different because it involves a lot of drama within the family.

While Nina goes through a divorce, her younger brother Hudson is finding real love for the first time… with their brother Jay’s ex-girlfriend, Ashley… who broke up with Jay because she fell in love with Hudson. But Jay is still in love with Ashley and doesn’t know what to do since she broke up with him and will definitely be at the party that night. And their seventeen-year-old sister Kit is set on getting her first kiss at the party, but cannot seem to find a man to whom she’s attracted to — although the waitress she met at the beginning of the night makes an impression.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is that it is part of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s growing multiverse. Mick is a part of three of her books, so they all connect in some ways. He is featured in “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” because he was one of Evelyn’s husbands and he attends a party in “Daisy Jones and the Six.” “Malibu Rising” — the only TJR book that focuses on Mick as a main character — weaves tennis players Carrie Soto and Brandon Randall from “Carrie Soto is Back” in. Brandon is Nina’s ex-husband, and both he and Carrie have a small plotline in the book.

If you’re a fan of other books by Taylor Jenkins Reid, or you want to get lost in the alternate reality she’s created through her fictional work, then “Malibu Rising” is a must-read.