Fiction Reviews

Malibu Rising | Book Review

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Fiction

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌗/5

Trigger Warnings: sexual harassment, parental abandonment, cheating, alcoholism, abortion & miscarriage, death of a parent


The entire book has 2 shifting timelines: one with the backstory starting with how June and Mick met and fell in love followed by their married life and the other in the present time where the siblings have an unforgettable night at the annual party at Nina’s house in Malibu.

The story mainly revolves around the Riva siblings, offspring of Mick Riva ( a character also present in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo). On one hand we get to see how the romance between June and Mick Riva blossomed and then deteriorated. We get to see how Mick treated his wife and his kids and how all of it affected June and her children. We also get to see how June raised her children and provided them with a rich childhood followed by their passion for surfing at a young age.

On the other hand, we get to see how the siblings grew up, how they supported each other once their mother passed away (not a spoiler), how they bonded with each other.

What I liked about the book

Often in case of two timelines, there’s always one timeline that is more enjoyable than the other. But surprisingly in this book both the timelines were equally action packed. It was exciting and intriguing to see how several events were gonna be unpacked in the party, how one of the siblings was going to react to the secret affair, how the other sibling was handling her husband’s public affair, etc. But on the other hand, reading about the Riva family’s backstory gave depth to each character and made the reader feel and understand each character’s sorrow and pain.

Of course Mick Riva was a horrible father and husband from the start, but it was nice to see how his character came around towards the end.

And coming to the ending, the book wrapped up pretty neatly and gave closure to everyone in my opinion.

What I disliked about the book

While this book does revolve around several characters who were well into adulthood, it felt quite like a Young Adult book. In the sense, it lacked the serious tone that was present in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Although I mentioned that the ending wrapped up neatly, in my opinion it wrapped up a little too neatly. I expected a little bit more drama for sure which it lacked.

Another thing to note is that each guest present in the party was given at least a few paragraphs or page to talk about their thoughts or what was going on currently in their life. This somehow felt quite unnecessary since it added pretty much nothing to the plot. The character’s played a role of just a few seconds in the book so giving a background about their life was not at all required.

Recommended for anyone who:

  • is looking for a fast paced and easy read
  • is looking for a book set near the ocean/water
  • wants a character driven story about love, loss, cheating and life in general
  • wants a summer read

Other famous works by the author:

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
  • Daisy Jones & the Six
  • Maybe in Another Life
  • One True Loves

Comment down below your thoughts on the book or if you are going to be picking it up soon.


By Harini @BookSpiral

Hi! I am Harini and I run this blog. I am a massive lover of books and like to spend all my time reading. My main aim is to explore new topics and unique books and talk about it on my blog. Hope you enjoy the content that I put out!

4 replies on “Malibu Rising | Book Review”

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