A review by miagw962
Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

hopeful sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


Destruction. And renewal, rising from the ashes. The story of fire.

I'm going to preface this review by saying that I listened to the audiobook for Daisy Jones and the Six and I really enjoyed myself because it wasn't trying to be anything it wasn't. What I found almost immediately with Malibu Rising was that we were supposed to feel for the main family and their respective circumstances. I'll be honest, I did not care initially. I had a deep dislike for pretty much all the male characters (except maybe Ricky??) - I guess some of them (ahem, MICK) were written as unlikeable characters but I was genuinely getting angry at what they were doing. Also some of the female characters weren't as fleshed out as they should've been. They seemed a little one-dimensional which was disappointing.

Anyway, characters aside, the story was easy to get through and it was fun for the most part. Reid's writing is very easy to get through and I appreciated that. There's nothing particularly profound or interesting in the story but that's ok because I wasn't really looking for that. I did have some problems with the overall development of the family (you're telling me that children of a very rich and famous singer don't receive any money from him before or after their mother dies?? There would be legal obligations on Mick's end, I just know it. He was such a scumbag but he wouldn't be able to fight the law). Also (on characters again) I was kind of over the whole 'everybody is the greatest at what they do' thing. Nina is THE MOST FAMOUS MODEL or whatever she is, Jay is such an incredible and famous surfer, Hud is such an excellent photographer, Mick is the greatest singer of all time (yeah right), even Brandon, Nina's ex had to be the greatest tennis player in the world. It just got boring. I think that's why I liked Kit the most because she was just living her life. Everyone else was out there over achieving too much, yikes.

The party scenes were fun except I was not too fond of when the point of view changed to random people at the party. Also, I had a deep dislike for a lot of the party-goers. I also could not tell if the people they were referencing were actual 80s celebrities or someone just made up for the book. Some people I knew but others...I guess that's ok, you don't need to think too hard about it. I really like how the book ended. I was worried they were going to try to redeem Mick and the kids were all going to be like 'it's ok dad, we forgive you' and I'M SO GLAD THEY DIDN'T. There was a lot of powerful dialogue between Mick and Nina which genuinely saved the book for me. Like bumped it up maybe a whole star. That ending was necessary for the characters and I ended up liking the family as a group of people a lot more by that point (except Mick of course, he can still choke).

I've kind of gone on about what I didn't like and touched on a little of what I did but overall, I liked it. There are some little things that I maybe somewhat noticed in Daisy Jones but more so in Malibu Rising that I just do not gel with. Maybe it was less noticeable in Daisy Jones because the story revolved around musicians and music, something I am passionate about, or it could even be the interview format. As to whether I'll read another Taylor Jenkins Reid, I'm not too sure. I'm starting to think maybe I don't feel the need to read anything else from her. I feel like she does write interesting things but maybe sometimes doesn't know how to express the message of the story. But hey, look, I'm taking Malibu Rising as the silly, melodramatic fun read that it was and leaving it at that for now! (yeah, after writing an essay about it haha)

Expand filter menu Content Warnings