Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is about the four Riva siblings, each famous in their own right, the children of a famous singer who abandoned them and their mother when they were children. This early trauma has created an unbreakable bond between them, a bond that is about to be tested.
Growing up near the beach in Malibu before it became a celebrity hotspot, the brothers and sisters spent as much time in the ocean as on land. They help their Mother run the family restaurant, an unassuming seafood shack that is popular with the locals. When their mother dies, Nina, the oldest, takes on the job of raising the other three, giving up her own dreams until one day she is “discovered” and is thrust into the spotlight when she becomes a model. Her older brother Jay becomes a champion surfer, Hud is a very successful sports photographer and the youngest, Kit, is just about to break through as a champion surfer herself. All of them carry secrets that will affect their lives and could break their family bond and it is all about to come together at Nina’s annual summer party.
The party quickly gets out of hand, with hoards of people (most uninvited), booze and drugs. In the midst of the chaos, the four Riva siblings struggle with their own demons, fight with each other and make up and, finally, come together to do what’s best for each of them.
Taylor Jenkins Reid has an amazing ability to seamlessly sweep the reader into another time and place and immerse them completely. Her most recent books, which include Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, focus on subjects and time periods I’m not usually drawn to but each time I quickly get caught up in the story. The same was true for this one. Beautifully atmospheric of the beach and the ocean and surfing, this is ultimately the story of family and how family can trap you but also set you free.