Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid #AudioBookReview

Malibu Rising


A lifetime holding it together.

One party will bring it crashing down.

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 centre 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.

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star three and a half

Even though Malibu Rising isn’t typically the genre of novel I’m used to reading, I don’t regret giving it a go. This was my second read by the author and having listened to this novel I think I already have a good idea what her bestseller The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo would be like.

Malibu Rising is a family drama about the Riva’s. The story starts with a very young and yet to be famous Mick who tries to win the heart of June and it ends with the current love lives of their children Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit (Katherine).

I really loved the chapters set in the past with the heartbreaking romance between Mick and June. I was captivated with their push and pull relationship and I rooted hard for them, well for June most of all because the pitfalls of fame and the lure of Mick’s many female admirers make him quite an absentee father. All things considered it’s quite a tragic story, and the star of the whole novel is Nina, which was clear quite early on and I’m so happy the ending revolved around her as well.

The narration by Julia Whelan was fabulous all the way through and although there were many scenes worth mentioning then I’d say the scene between Carrie Soto and Brandon, shouting on the lawn in front of Nina’s house was done with so much vigour that it’s one of my favourite moments.

The only remark I can make is that the party wasn’t all that interesting and when it is finally in full swing there were too many characters arriving and they didn’t really add anything important to the story. When they were mentioned again in the round up I didn’t know half of them anymore. Against all this background turbulence the Riva children flock together once again and the big question they’ll have to answer is what they’re going to do, whether they’ll stand together as a family or not. I’m happy I didn’t need to make that choice on their behalf but I believe they did the right thing.

Overall this was an enjoyable audiobook where I enjoyed some parts more than others. The party guests took away from the story and they dominated that part a bit too much but the ending was so apt. The Riva mansion going up in flames as mentioned in the synopsis and in the prologue of the novel didn’t even feel so bad anymore in the end, which was a finding I hadn’t expected at all. It wraps up the story beautifully.


19 thoughts on “Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid #AudioBookReview

  1. Julia Whelan is a fantastic narrator, so happy you enjoyed it, Inge! I read Malibu Rising (so much cover love, I had to have it on my shelves 😳😂), I listened to Evelyn Hugo and I just finished Carrie Soto but my favourite TJR is still Daisy Jones and the Six, I’m a sucker for full-cast audiobooks 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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