A review by juliettesroma
Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

emotional funny hopeful reflective sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


 “Throughout it all, this grace had always saved her.”

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Books for providing an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Another astonishing work by Taylor Jenkins Reid, the focus on family and its meaningful themes were beautifully done and hard hitting emotionally. Malibu Rising centers around the Riva siblings, children of Mick Riva (who had his own chapter in Evelyn Hugo!), each of their individual lives and how it all spiraled in the span of twenty-four hours. Nina and Kit Riva were my favorites by the end. I related the most to Kit and adored her fiery spirit as well as her process of figuring herself out and who she wants to be. Nina on the other hand, her full story was the most devastating, the way she feels obligated to carry so much on her shoulders after everything that’s happened to her family but also admired how much truly she cares for her loved ones to a huge extent. It was Nina’s overall character arc that genuinely breathtaking and intriguing to see from beginning to end especially the development of her inner thoughts and mindset on life.

“Capable is a question I never had the luxury of asking. Because my family needed me. And unlike you, I understand how important that is.”

I enjoyed Jay and Hud’s arcs and their close brother bond as well but I definitely did not resonate with them on the emotional sense as I did with Nina and Kit. I did wish the second half of the book still focused around the siblings instead of veering off a bit all over the place with numerous different perspectives changing every few pages with the people who were at the party. I guess it did add a bit of that flair, interesting drama, and comedy to the story, but it felt detached lacking that depth that the first half of the book had with telling each of the siblings’ stories, feelings, their childhoods and along with their parents’ backstories. It was part one and about the last 5 percent of the book that really hit and had me a sobbing mess with the stunning dialogue between the siblings and the completion of character arcs. Overall, I loved this book truly and reading a book set in Socal was captivating to me. Fans of TJR will find Malibu Rising a quite satisfying and of course, heart shattering and healing read!

“They had taught her that family is found, that whether it be blood or circumstance or choice, what binds us does not matter. All that matters is that we are bound.”

“Maybe our parents' lives are imprinted within us, maybe the only fate there is the temptation of reliving their mistakes. Maybe, try as we might, we will never be able to outrun the blood that runs through our veins.” 

Expand filter menu Content Warnings