Book Review: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
What a fantastic book! I experienced such a whirlwind of emotions whilst reading this story. One moment I was laughing, the next crying, and I felt like every member of the Riva family touched my heart in some way.
This is not my usual kind of read. I tend to prefer action packed books, thrillers and fantasy novels rather than contemporary, but I couldn't resist this one after reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I loved how TJR made links between the two story, and loved the little drops of characters from that book.
I have nothing but admiration for the Riva siblings. They went through so much as children, but they didn't let that break them or damage their bond with one another. The love that they have for each other is beautiful and I wish I had a similar relationship with my own siblings.
Nina's character development delighted me. She spent her whole life looking out for everyone, took work she didn't want that objectified her body, all to support her family and make sure her brothers and sisters could finish their education and have a future. I'm so happy she finally chose something for herself, it was what she deserved after all she went through.
You can't help but feel so sorry for June. She gave everything to Mick, and despite how much she loved him, he still treated her so poorly. I was so hoping she wouldn't take him back when he came crawling to her, but I can understand why she did. It's so difficult to extract someone from your heart once they've taken root there, and I imagine that must be even harder when you have had a family together. How she found the inner strength to forgive him I cannot comprehend, but I still find it admiral.
June's love for Hud just goes to show, someone doesn't have to be your own blood to be family. How she managed to find love in her heart for the boy who was proof of her husband's infidelity, I've no idea, but that didn't stop her from loving him as fiercely as her own children.
Mick is a despicable character. I know we were meant to feel a little sorry for him, considering how horrible his childhood was, but I couldn't find a shred of sympathy. I could maybe get past the terrible way he treated June, but his complete abandonment both physically and financially of his children was unforgivable. Too many people seem to hide behind the defence of not being 'capable' of being a parent, and Mick's excuses fell flat. At the very least he was 'capable' of sending more than sufficient child support, especially when he found out that the kids were on their own. It's not like he didn't have the money to help them, and it would have been no inconvenience to himself to do so. Needless to say, I could not stand Mick, or what he represents.
This is a beautiful story and I would highly recommend!
Read the summary below:
Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over--especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.
The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud--because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.
Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about promised she'll be there.
And Kit has a couple secrets of her own--including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.
By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come bubbling to the surface.
Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind