A review by linesiunderline
Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

challenging emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


For a book that has been aggressively marketed as the “It Book” of the summer, Malibu Rising sure has ended up garnering mixed reviews.

What I liked:
• TJR can write. I enjoy her prose. It has energy.
• Although I felt like the characterization was uneven, there are characters here who felt alive and memorable (June and Nina especially).
• Malibu came to life vividly - love me a strong sense of place.

• So many people - I wanted to know more about the Riva kids in the present day.
• Somehow I was expecting the cause of the fire to be A LOT more dramatic. This isn’t to say that I don’t like TJR’s choice the more I sit with it, but it did seem like we were building towards this giant climactic fire-lighting moment that never came.
• A lot going on for a relatively short novel, told in dual timelines. I enjoy her writing so maybe overall this would have worked better for me if it was a bit longer.

Very well narrated on audio by Julia Whelan.

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