"Malibu Rising," | Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider
Though literary fiction and thrillers with believable plots are my pick choices, occasionally I’ll dip into a light read. I recently dove into racy “Malibu Rising,” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. You can focus on this beach read even if your kids are screaming in the pool and splashing the pages.
The surfboard-loving Rivas live in sun-kissed Malibu, the father Mick a famous actor, his wife June the faithful mother of his children: Nina, the oldest and most responsible, next Jay, then Kit.
Far from a dependable dad, Mick strays but Helen always takes him back, and steps up to the plate to run the fish restaurant the couple owns.
When one of Mick’s dalliances produces a son, Mick brings the baby home for June to raise—which she does, treating Hud as her own—a boy close to Jay’s age, the two become best friends who bond over a shared love of the Pacific Ocean, until a woman threatens their relationship.
Surfing is the common denominator that binds the Riva siblings together—several using it as a springboard to a career. Though Nina, the gorgeous but responsible big sister works in the family’s restaurant, she becomes a skilled surfer and a sought-after model. Jay develops into a champion surfer, while Hud captures sought-after surfing photographs. Kit, the youngest is daring on the board, her no-fear attitude promising a bright future.
The story takes place over one day in August 1983 as Nina, just ditched by her wealthy husband, prepares for her annual party, an event actors, agents and the who’s who of Hollywood clamor to attend at Nina’s gargantuan cliff-side beach house. Tension mounts as backstories are revealed, flashbacks that include info on Mick and June’s early days and what life was like for their children growing up.
The action climaxes at the party when Reid pulls out all the stops, bringing the siblings together, and introducing new characters to boot. “Malibu Rising” will certainly be another bestseller for Reid, who had great success with her previous release, “Daisy Jones & the Six.” Her newest is fluff at its best.