Malibu Rising

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.


Once in a blue moon I read way outside of my comfort zone. I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six and liked them both. So I figured I’d give Malibu Rising a chance. My mother and I read it one after the other and then talked about it. She’s read Evelyn but not Daisy.

We had a good conversation about this book because I definitely missed some things she caught! It was definitely a very 80s book, and she made references to things that I didn’t get. Mick Riva = Mick Jagger/Steve Tyler for example. And Nina as Liv Tyler. That totally went over my head. The majority of the book took place in the 80s, but it also told the back story of the Riva children’s parents and how they met and fell apart. It added nuance to the book, and I enjoyed those sections just as much as the “present” sections that took place in the 80s.

I liked that the kids all had such distinct personalities. It added to the book and showed how each of them viewed the others. The book was very much about family and what you would do for them. And how a famous lifestyle can take a toll. Nina was a compelling character and my favorite out of them all. The book itself only spans about a day, but so much happens in it!

It really was an excellent book, I felt like I was there right along with these characters. Reid has always done an excellent job at setting a scene and evoking vivid feeling about it. It felt real and true. And the characters were the best part of the book. Their books are always character driven for the most part. They make the book and the plot move forward and you can’t help but enjoy reading about them.

It was a slow paced book, but it made up for it in other ways. Overall, this was a very enjoyable book, and I will be eagerly waiting to read another book by this author. This book is a perfect summer read – it is quick and fun.

I won’t say that there was a lot of plot though, it meandered a bit through several different things, but there wasn’t a drive per se. But still, it was a beautifully written book. It was enjoyable and was a breath for fresh air.

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