Spoiler Free Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

55404546Title: Malibu Rising

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pub. Date: June 1st 2021

Genre: Adult/Historical Fiction

Format: eGalley

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 384 pages

 

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“She had to choose what, of the things she inherited from the people who came before her, she wanted to bring forward. And what, of the past, she wanted to leave behind.”

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Taylor Jenkins Reid delivered yet another set of characters I found myself easily getting invested in. I spent a Saturday morning binge reading Malibu Rising while at the beach which often can be hard to do, the waves have a way of demanding my full attention. This time, I found myself traveling through history in Malibu as the story unfolds in past & present timelines. There are four siblings who’ve bonded over their love of surfing, each carrying some heavy baggage stemming from childhood. We get an inside look at Mick Riva (their dad) and his marriage to their mom, a toxic one plagued with infidelity which eventually leads to divorce. A mom who has turned to alcoholism to grieve over the life she thought she’d have, that of a happy home with a husband and their kids. We see each of the siblings cope with their abandonment and fend for themselves as they become adults. Nina the oldest of the siblings, finds herself literally walking in her mothers footsteps at the beginning of this journey. However, Nina’s sense of duty and responsibilty keep her bound to her siblings who in many ways she has had to finish raising while also looking after their mom. Tradition is very important to these siblings, and so the present timeline is told over the course of one day at their yearly party. One that started off really intimate between the siblings but eventually morphed into THE party for celebrities from all walks of life. Carrying the Riva name meant fame was their birthright.

CW: Domestic abuse, abandonment, death of a loved one, drug/alcohol abuse, Infidelity

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While The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo still remains my all time favorite, I did really enjoy my time spent in this story. I also found some parts sadly relatable which made me feel more connected to certain characters. I didn’t really care much for the party itself which the story leads up to all throughout. If anything, that took me away from the book more than I would’ve liked and made the main story arc feel a bit disjointed. Things I loved: the sibling bond, atmospheric surfing vibes, women surfers, how compulsively readable it is, the Historical Fiction feel of it all…TJR’s signature writing style really does make you almost believe these aren’t fictional characters. All in all, Malibu Rising is yet another hit for this book lover 🙌🏽


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SPOILER FREE REVIEW: DAISY JONES & THE SIX BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID

Title:Daisy Jones & The Six

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pub. Date: March 5th. 2019

Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 368

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I found myself like many others who really enjoyed this story, finding it hard to believe that this band wasn’t real. I satisfied my need for it to materialize by listening instead to the Spotify Playlist created by Taylor Jenkins Reid as inspiration while writing this treasure of a book. Set against the backdrop of the 60’s/70’s when sex, drugs, and Rock n’ Roll was a huge part of American culture, we  get introduced to this fictional band. Told in interview format, we get the story of how this band came together and eventually how they came apart. How Daisy met the six bandmates & the music they went on to create while also getting bits & pieces of actual historical events taking place around this time period. I was immediately swept away by each of these characters lives, their wins & losses. We get what I believe to be one of the BEST EPIC love triangles in Fiction that left me all in my feels days after I’d read the last page. We also get not 1 but 3 feminist AF characters that will leave you feeling empowered every time they walk off the page. TJR explored some hard hitting themes like drug addiction, substance abuse & abortion relevant to this time period without actually glamorizing any of it. These bandmates are a family I got to intimately know, making this a story I was truly invested in from start to finish.

Content Warning: substance abuse, abortion, addiction, cheating

Whenever I think back to my experience with this book, the characters are what come to mind first. Wonderfully fleshed out, complex, raw, and unapologetic these characters feel authentic. Of course I have my favorites but they all brought their unique voice to the story. Daisy Jones is a character who from a very early age was left to her own devices by her parents & as a result prematurely discovered the L.A. night life. Known for her free spirited personality & strikingly beautiful blue eyes, Daisy quickly became sort of an icon. Daisy is a beautifully broken character you can’t help but love. There was no taming anyone could impose on Daisy who has a take it or leave it attitude. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Daisy Jones! as destructive as she could be at times, she still had a limit which made me appreciate her all the more. Billy Dunne who is the lead singer & star of the show (before Daisy came along) is a character I had a love/hate relationship with. Billy is used to getting his way & being the main attraction. This at times can get frustrating & we see power struggles at play between bandmates. What I loved about Billy however, was his love for Camila who is sort of the unofficial bandmate. Billy struggles with his demons (alcohol & women) & is far from perfect but he so desperately wants to be THAT guy for Camila, the one he thinks she deserves.

“Love is forgiveness and patience and faith and every once in a while, it’s a gut punch. That’s why it’s a dangerous thing, when you go loving the wrong person. When you love somebody who doesn’t deserve it. You have to be with someone that deserves your faith and you have to be deserving of someone else’s. It’s sacred” 

Camila Martinez better known as the glue that keeps this band together is hands down my FAVORITE character in this book. A LATINX feminist who loves unconditionally & never gives up on those she loves.  Camila is legit the definition of strength, she believes whole heartedly in the love she shares with Billy but she isn’t blind to the reality of their situation. Some of my favorite scenes featured Camila and every time I placed myself in her shoes my heart ached.

Karen is the one deeply understated character who had a ton of depth. Married to her musical career, she doesn’t see herself settling down to start a family anytime soon. Perhaps the most feminist character in this book, Karen is way ahead of her times making her role all the more important.

I truly loved everything about this cast of characters so much so that I can’t get them out of my head. I fell deeply in love with this story & each of its characters, returning for a re-read is inevitable!

My very first Taylor Jenkins Reid novel & I can honestly say I was left blown away! I read a physical copy & really enjoyed the interview format used to narrate this story however, some have found this to take away from their enjoyment of the story. I am currently listening to the audiobook version & HIGHLY reccomend to those who couldn’t get into this story in physical format. The full cast of characters production has brought this story to life in a whole new way & I am LOVING it! the writing brought the 60’s/70’s to life & I felt as if I was standing on the Sunset Strip watching a young Daisy find her way into bars/clubs. Lastly, the inclusion of the songs written by Billy & Daisy is BRILLIANT! not only are they well crafted songs but they ignite the raw emotion that was being felt between the characters stuck in this love triangle. I may have just found my new favorite author & will most definitely continue to read TJR published books as well as anything written in the future.


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