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.