Can anyone say BEACH READ? Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid will be released on May 25, 2021, just in time for long summer days at the beach. Pour yourself a Sea Breeze cocktail and relax into this story about the Riva family. You’ll be glad you indulged yourself.
The prologue of the novel talks about the many times Malibu has caught on fire and then risen from the ashes. This is a very appropriate metaphor for the Riva family, who live in Malibu, and who have survived some major crises.
Taylor Jenkins Reid fans first met “Gullible Mick Riva” when Evelyn Hugo used him to cover up a lesbian affair and made him one of her husbands. He left her the day after the wedding and the marriage was annulled. The next time we saw Mick was at a wild party hosted by Daisy Jones in the novel Daisy Jones & The Six. In Malibu Rising, we learn what a total jerk Mick Riva really is. It is not necessary to read either of the prior books beforehand since Mick is a very minor character.
Prior to being one of The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Mick Riva married a sweet, beautiful girl from Malibu named June. They had two children, Nina and Jay. Mick was a very popular rock star, who traveled the world. June stayed in Malibu with the children. When Jay was a few months old, a starlet appeared at the door and handed June her child, Hudson. She explained Hudson was Mick’s son and she didn’t want to care for him. June raised Hudson as her own. But of course, Mick left her and the three children high and dry. After a series of romances and marriages, he came back to June a changed man. They remarried and had a daughter named Kit. Then soon thereafter, Mick left for good. Even though he was rich, he never gave the family a dime, never called, any visits, zilch. Even when tragedy strikes, he ignores his family and leaves four young children on their own.
The four Riva children ended up raising themselves because June was an alcoholic who always believed Mick would come back. Nina, as the oldest, bore the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings. All of them loved to surf. When Nina was able to make money as a swimsuit model, the four kids decided to throw a party. And this party became more and more famous, year after year. The world is fascinated by the beautiful children of Mick Riva.
The book follows the day of the party in August 1983, hour by hour. There are flashbacks to Mick and June’s relationship, the kids’ childhood, hardships, relationships, and successes. At the party, it is sometimes difficult to keep up with the numerous guests. The 1983 party is by far the wildest ever, with several surprise guests. And by the time the party is over, Malibu is burning again.
I am torn between 4 and 5 stars on this book. Is it great literature? No. But it is entertaining, emotional, and thought-provoking. And, as I said earlier: it is the perfect beach read. So, I am going to round my 4.5 up to 5-stars.
Thanks to #NetGalley and #Ballentine Books for my advanced reader copy. Be sure to put this on your to be read list.