A Review of Malibu Rising

by Liz Keating '24 on April 8, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a gripping novel that takes the reader on a journey through the lives of the Riva family, a group of siblings who are trying to come to terms with their tumultuous pasts and find a way to move forward.

Set in the summer of 1983, the story follows the Riva siblings as they prepare for their annual end-of-summer party, a tradition that has become legendary in the affluent beach community of Malibu—but this year’s party is different. Each of the Rivas is struggling with their own personal issues, and as the night wears on, their secrets and tensions come to a head.

At the heart of the novel are the four Riva siblings: Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit. Nina is a famous surfer and model who is struggling to come to terms with the end of her marriage. Jay is a renowned photographer who is hiding a dark secret from his past. Hud is a successful businessman who is trying to keep his family together, despite his own personal struggles, and Kit is the youngest sibling, a wild child who is determined to make her mark on the world.

As the night unfolds, the Rivas are forced to confront their pasts and their relationships with one another. Reid does a masterful job of weaving together their individual stories, using flashbacks to reveal the events that shaped their lives and the family as a whole.

One of the strengths of Malibu Rising is the way in which Reid captures the essence of 1980s Malibu, with its sun-drenched beaches, glamorous parties, and excess. The novel is a love letter to the era, and the vivid descriptions of the setting and the characters’ fashion choices transport the reader back in time.

At its core, Malibu Rising is a story about family and the bonds that hold us together, even in the face of tragedy and heartbreak. Reid writes with empathy and compassion, creating characters who are flawed but ultimately relatable. The Rivas are a family that has been through a lot, but their love for one another endures.

Overall, Malibu Rising is a captivating and moving novel that will leave the reader thinking long after the last page has been turned. Reid’s writing is both evocative and powerful, and the story is one that will resonate with anyone who has ever grappled with the complexities of family and the search for identity.

Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

by Liz Keating '24 on March 5, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (1992) is a gripping novel that explores the lives of a group of elite college students who become entangled in a web of secrets, deception, and murder.

The story is narrated by Richard Papen, a young man from a humble background who is fascinated by the idea of studying at Hampden College, an elite liberal arts school in Vermont. He is accepted into an exclusive group of students who are studying under the enigmatic classics professor, Julian Morrow. As Richard becomes more immersed in the world of his new friends, he discovers that they are all hiding dark secrets and are involved in a dangerous and sinister plot.

The characters in The Secret History are well-drawn and complex, each with their own distinct personalities, quirks, and motivations. Richard, the narrator, is a curious and intelligent young man who is drawn to the glamorous lifestyle of his new friends. He becomes increasingly involved in their activities, even as he begins to suspect that something is not quite right.

The other members of the group are also fascinating in their own right. Henry, the charismatic leader of the group, is brilliant but manipulative, and his actions ultimately lead to the group’s downfall. Francis, the effeminate and neurotic member of the group, is also compelling, as is his relationship with the dark and brooding Charles. Finally, there is Camilla, the beautiful and mysterious woman who becomes the object of desire for all of the male members of the group.

Tartt’s prose is elegant and sophisticated, and she does an excellent job of immersing the reader in the world of the book. The descriptions of the college campus, the surrounding countryside, and the various characters are all vivid and detailed, making it easy for the reader to become fully immersed in the story.

The plot of The Secret History is dark and complex, and Tartt does an excellent job of building tension and suspense throughout the book. The story is not told in a linear fashion, with the events of the novel unfolding gradually and out of order. This creates a sense of disorientation and unease that keeps the reader engaged and on edge.

Overall, The Secret History is a brilliantly written novel that explores themes of guilt, identity, and the dark side of human nature. The characters are complex and compelling, the language is elegant and sophisticated, and the plot is suspenseful and engaging. It is a must-read for fans of literary fiction and psychological thrillers.

Book Review: Daisy Jones & The Six

by Liz Keating '24 on February 21, 2023
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Daisy Jones & The Six is a novel written by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The book follows the story of the rise and fall of a famous rock band in the 1970s. The book is written in an innovative format, with the narrative told through the perspectives of multiple characters, including the band members, their friends, and their lovers.

The story centers around Daisy Jones, a young and talented singer-songwriter who joins the already established band, The Six. Daisy’s raw talent and magnetic stage presence quickly make her the band’s frontwoman and the group’s dynamic changes as they start to create music together. The band’s new sound, along with Daisy’s captivating lyrics, propel them to fame, but as the band’s success grows, so do the tensions between the members.

One of the main conflicts in the book is the relationship between Daisy and the band’s lead singer and songwriter, Billy Dunne. The two have a complicated and tumultuous relationship, both professionally and personally. Their chemistry on stage is undeniable, but their egos and personal demons threaten to tear the band apart.

The book also explores the themes of fame, addiction, and the cost of success. The characters in the book all struggle with the pressures of fame and the personal demons that come with it, whether it be drug addiction, alcoholism, or relationships. The book offers a realistic portrayal of the music industry and the price that people pay to achieve success.

One of the strengths of the book is its vivid and immersive writing style, which transports readers back to the 1970s and the world of rock and roll. The book also provides an interesting perspective on the creative process of songwriting, as the characters struggle to create new music and come up with hit songs.

The book has received widespread critical acclaim, with many praising the author’s ability to create complex and relatable characters. The book also received attention for its format, which is unique and engaging. It has been compared to a screenplay or a documentary, with the multiple perspectives and interviews providing a rich and nuanced portrayal of the characters and their story. Prime Video, however, has taken on the challenge creating a mini series set to release March 3, with new episodes weekly until March 24. The series comes with an extremely talented cast, starring Riley Keough (granddaughter of Elvis Presley) as Daisy Jones, Sam Claflin as Billy Dunne, Camila Morrone as Camila Dunne, Will Harrison as Graham Dunne, and Suki Waterhouse as Karen Sirko. 

Overall, Daisy Jones & The Six is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that offers a glimpse into the world of rock and roll and the price of fame. It is a must-read for fans of music, fiction, and anyone who is interested in the creative process. The book offers a unique and immersive reading experience that will leave readers wanting more. 

The Best Books for Fall

by Liz Keating '24 on October 21, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

From Horror to Poetry, the Best Books You Want to Read This Fall 

With fall having just begun and Halloween right around the corner, what better time for some perfect fall reads? Whether it be a murder mystery to get you in that Halloween mood, or just a book that makes you want to curl up on a nice autumn day, here are the best books to get you in the mood for the season.

  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman 

Nothing screams fall like a spooky story to get you in the Halloween mood. If you are a fan of the classic Halloween movie Coraline, the book by Neil Gaiman will probably be right up your alley. The story follows a young girl named Coraline that, upon moving into her new house, discovers a door to a world that mirrors her own. However, she finds that this other world is much more sinister than her real one. Gaiman’s intended audience for this novella is young adults, but the other world he is able to create can easily scare all ages.

  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin 

The Immortalists is a quintessential fall story filled with family drama, death, and fortune-telling. The story follows four siblings from the 1960s to 2010. They have been obsessed with death, particularly how they are going to die, ever since a fortune teller told them their deaths when they were children. This novel is a character-based story that keeps the reader hooked from beginning to end, wanting to find out which sibling reaches their fate first.

  •  The Secret History by Donna Tartt 

If you are looking for the quintessential “dark academia” novel, look no further. The Secret History follows the main character, Richard, who transfers to a preppy Vermont college. He becomes intertwined with a friend group he meets in a very exclusive and immersive Greek studies class but begins to find out that his new friends all hold deadly secrets. This classic murder mystery with a little bit of a twist is the perfect companion for your rainy fall days. 

  • A Poem for Every Autumn Day by Allie Esiri 

If you are not looking for a full commitment story, this collection of poems put together by Allie Esiri will still give you something to share with others this fall. From Shakespeare to Robert Louis Stevenson and Amy Lowell, these poems are the perfect backdrop to fall days spent with the ones you love. 

  • Carrie by Steven King 

This wouldn’t be a fall book list without the king of horror stories, Steven King. Carrie is a classic Halloween story that everyone knows. From multiple movie adaptations to a full-blown Broadway musical, Carrie is a widely known character. Set in the then-future year of 1979, the story revolves around Carrie White, a bullied girl raised in an abusive religious household who recently discovered her telekinetic powers. The reader follows Carrie’s desire to enact revenge on the ones that scorned her. Carrie is a predictable classic, which has been redone many times, for a reason.

Rory Gilmore’s Guidebooks

by Liz Keating '24 on October 9, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Three of the most iconic books that Rory Gilmore reads in Gilmore Girls

With fall just beginning, there is no better time for your annual Gilmore Girls rewatch. Rory, Lorelai, and all the residents of Stars Hollow provide the perfect backdrop for all things fall. Gilmore Girls isn’t complete without one of the most popular bookworms, Rory Gilmore. Throughout the seven seasons, Rory is seen reading or mentioning reading over 500 books. From classics like 1984 by George Orwell and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy to some more eclectic choices for a teenage girl, like The Art of War by Sun Tzu and George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg, there is no question that Rory is a true bookworm who will read just about anything. It’s daunting to decide where to start on a list of 500 books, so here are some of the most iconic books mentioned throughout the seven seasons.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 

One cannot start a Rory Gilmore reading list without mentioning her favorite novel, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Rory lends her first boyfriend, Dean, her favorite novel in hopes of discussing the novel with him, but the language flies over his head, as he says that the book was too long and depressing. Luckily, he agrees to re-read it for Rory’s sake. Anna Karenina is the tragic story of Countess Anna Karenina. She is a socialite and married woman, and the reader follows her doomed love affair with the wealthy Count Vronsky. The novel is widely regarded as a pinnacle of realist fiction, and one of the greatest novels of all time.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary is one of the first books mentioned in the entire series. Rory’s first love interest, Dean, mentions to Rory that he notices her reading underneath the same tree every day after school. He goes on to say that she was so immersed in the story that she didn’t even notice one of her classmates getting hit in the face. Madame Bovary is the first novel of Gustave Flaubert and follows a classic plot line of a married woman becoming bored of provincial life. What makes this story stand out is the language used throughout it, showing that written words are sometimes inadequate while trying to convey deep human emotion.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand  

In the second season, Rory finally meets her love interest, Jeff, who is an equal academic match to herself. While discussing their shared love of literature, Rory mentions that she attempted to read the book when she was 10, but ultimately failed. However, she tried again when she was 15 and loved it. Jess is shocked that Rory would enjoy a book concerning right-wing libertarians and “political nuts.” Rory clarifies that she enjoys it as a piece of literature, saying, “Yeah, but nobody could write a forty-page monologue the way that she could.” In The Fountainhead, the reader follows a ruggedly individualistic architect named Howard Roark. Howard battles against conventional standards and refuses to compromise his ideals. The novel reflects her iconic, yet famously well-known views that the individual is more valuable than the collective—Definitely an interesting read for a 15-year-old. 

Look What You Made Me “Clue”

by Liz Keating '24 on September 18, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Taylor Swift and her Obsession with Easter Eggs

August has officially slipped away, leaving Swifties to anxiously await Taylor Swift’s 10th studio album, Midnights. Fans have been scouring Swift’s social media and her media appearances, hoping that she drops one of her infamous Easter eggs. If you have been a fan of Swift over the years, you know that she loves leaving secret clues to her fans hidden throughout her work, whether it be in a social media post, an interview, music videos, or even on the booklets of her album covers. These aptly titled “Easter eggs” allow Swift to connect with her fans on a level that mainstream artists have never before accessed in this capacity. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Swift says, “I love that they like the cryptic hint-dropping. Because as long as they like it, I’ll keep doing it. It’s fun. It feels mischievous and playful.” So, in the spirit of Midnights, and the Easter eggs that will (hopefully)come from this era, here is a look at three of Taylor Swift’s most interesting Easter eggs over the span of her career. 

The “Look What You Made Me Do” Music Video

In 2017, Swift came out of hiding with her lead single of the album Reputation, “Look What You Made Me Do.” Swift is quoted as saying “Literally the whole video is just an Easter egg, there are thousands of Easter eggs. There are some that people still haven’t found. It will be decades before people find them all.” LWYMMD was released as a response to the infamous drama between Swift, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West regarding West’s “Famous” music video. Easter eggs in the video include a nod to her ex Tom Hiddelston and the “I heart T.S” tank top, her pseudonym Nils Sjöberg on the gravestone, the one-dollar Swift won in her sexual assult trial, the infamous 2009 VMA speech, and the Junior Jewels shirt from her 2009 “You Belong With Me” music video. 

Liner Notes in Lyrics 

If you are a longtime fan of Swift, you would know of the liner notes in her CD booklets. Swift capitalized certain letters in the booklet to spell out one main word or phrase.  Sometimes these linear notes would just be a cute phrase, like “Someday I’ll find this” in the lyrics for “Love Story. Sometimes she decided on something more pointed, like the name “Sam” spelled out over and over in the lyrics for “Should’ve Said No. Swift, unfortunately, discontinued these notes in her Reputation era, opting for the album to speak for itself, but it was a nice treat for the fans who took the time to look at her work in depth. 


Taylor Swift is known for her close and public relationships with her friends, one of her closest friends being Blake Lively. On the track “Betty” from her 2020 album folklore, Swift includes the names of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ daughters as the characters of the love story she is singing about. Since their children James and Inez were already known to the public, Swifties theorized that the name of their new daughter would be Betty.  Fans turned out to be correct as Swift released the song in August 2020, saying, “I named all the characters in this story after my friends’ kids.”

Tik-Talking About Books

by Liz Keating '24 on September 8, 2022
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

How “BookTok” Made Reading Cool Again

The power of TikTok has no bounds. Over the past year, TikTok users have created their own book club, full of recommendations and excerpts all to entice viewers to read their own favorite books. The hashtag #booktok has over 73.9 billion views, with that number rising by the second. However, with millions of users all trying to get people to read their favorite books at the moment, it can become a bit overwhelming. There are thrillers, romance, and even thriller romances. So here are the top three most popular books on “BookTok.” Are they worth it? That’s for you to read and decide. 

  1. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Following a rock band in the 70’s, Daisy Jones and the Six departs from the classic writing style found in novels and opts for an interview-style switching between the characters, almost written like a documentary. Daisy is an enigmatic protagonist with a one-in-a-million talent for songwriting and music, but an affliction for the party lifestyle of the 70’s. Daisy’s antics are balanced with the leading man of the band, Billy Dune. Billy is an aspiring family man and recovering drug addict who wants to provide a stable life for his wife and daughter. This book is a fresh take on a classic story that will transport you and have you smiling and even singing along.

  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara 

If you want a book that will make you cry for 700 pages, A Little Life sure will. The story follows a group of friends through their lives over the years. The relationships of this group are tested and strained through each person’s struggles with addiction, childhood trauma, chronic disabilities, and more. This book is extremely dense and there is no reprieve so read at your own discretion. 

  1. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover 

Colleen Hoover is the most popular author on BookTok at the moment, which was catapulted through the success of this book. It Ends with Us follows the main character Lily as she falls in love with successful neurosurgeon Ryle. Yet, Lily can’t forget about her first love, Atlas. The relationship between Lily and Ryle quickly turns toxic, and we follow Lily trying to break the generational abuse cycle started by her parents. This book will be lingering in your mind long after you have finished.