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Malibu Rising: A Novel Audio CD – Unabridged, June 1 2021
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“There’s an impeccable sense of balance in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Malibu Rising, a natural order in which every action meets its equal and opposite reaction. . . . Reid’s sense of pacing is sublime as she introduces and dispenses with a revolving door of characters to approximate the chaos of a rager where sloshed A-listers couple up in the closets and waiters pass trays of cocaine.”—The Washington Post
“Malibu Rising isn’t merely a window into fame and wealth. Reid is exploring how strong family bonds can overcome tragedy, financial hardship and sibling rivalry. Sometimes, they can even set you free.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“High drama at the beach, starring four sexy, surfing siblings and their deadbeat, famous-crooner dad. It’s like the 1983 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue came to life, but with a plot. Irresistible.”—People
“If summer could somehow fit into a book, then you’d find it in Malibu Rising.”—Oprah Daily
“Taylor Jenkins Reid sure knows how to tell a story. . . . It’s an unforgettable book about an unforgettable night.”—HelloGiggles
“The term ‘beach read’ is sometimes looked at askance, but when applied to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new novel, it’s the ultimate compliment. . . . Tracking the Rivas’ collective rise and descent over the course of one wild, flame-kissed night feels like being invited to the fete of the year.”—Vogue
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The story of June and Mick Riva seemed like a tragedy to their oldest child, Nina. It felt like a comedy of errors to their first son, Jay. It was an origin story for their second son, Hud. And a mystery to the baby of the family, Kit. To Mick himself it was just a chapter of his memoir.
But to June, it was, always and forever, a romance.
• • •
Mick Riva first met June Costas when she was a seventeen-year-old girl on the shores of Malibu. It was 1956, a few years before the Beach Boys got there, mere months before Gidget would begin to beckon teenagers to the waves in droves.
Back then, Malibu was a rural fishing town with only one traffic signal. It was quiet coastline, crawling inland by way of narrow winding roads through the mountains. But the town was coming into its adolescence. Surfers were setting up shop with their tiny shorts and longboards, bikinis were coming into fashion.
June was the daughter of Theo and Christina, a middle-class couple who lived in a two-bedroom ranch home off one of Malibu’s many canyons. They owned a struggling restaurant called Pacific Fish, slinging crab cakes and fried clams just off the Pacific Coast Highway. Its bright red sign with cursive type hung high in the air, beckoning you from the east side of the highway to look away from the water for just one moment and eat something deep fried with an ice-cold Coca-Cola.
Theo ran the fryer, Christina ran the register, and on nights and weekends, it was June’s job to wipe down the tables and mop the floors.
Pacific Fish was both June’s duty and her inheritance. When June’s mother vacated that spot at the counter, it was expected that it would be June’s body that filled it. But June felt destined for bigger things, even at seventeen.
June beamed on the rare occasion that a starlet or director would come into the restaurant. She could recognize all of them the second they walked in the door because she read the gossip rags like bibles, appealing to her father’s soft spot to get him to buy her a copy of Sub Rosa or Confidential every week. When June scrubbed ketchup off the tables, she imagined herself at the Pantages Theatre for a movie premiere. When she swept the salt and sand off the floors, she wondered how it might feel to stay at the Beverly Hilton and shop at Robinson’s. June marveled at what a world the stars lived in. Just a few miles away and yet impossible for her to touch because she was stuck serving french fries to tourists.
June’s joy was something she stole between shifts. She would sneak out at night, sleep in when she could. And, when her parents were at work but did not yet need her, June would cross the Pacific Coast Highway and rest her blanket in the expanse of sand opposite her family’s restaurant. She would bring a book and her best bathing suit. She would fry her pale body under the sun, sunglasses over her eyes, eyes on the water. She would do this every Saturday and Sunday until ten-thirty in the morning, when reality pulled her back to Pacific Fish.
One particular Saturday morning during the summer of ’56, June was standing on the shoreline, her toes in the wet sand, waiting for the water to feel warmer on her feet before she waded in. There were surfers in the waves, fishermen down the coast, teens like her laying out blankets and rubbing lotion on their arms.
June had felt daring that morning and put on a blue gingham strapless bikini. Her parents had no idea it even existed. She’d gone into Santa Monica with her girlfriends and had seen it hanging in a boutique. She’d bought it with money she’d saved from tips, borrowing the last three dollars from her friend Marcie.
She knew if her mother saw it, she’d be forced to return it or worse yet, throw it out. But she wanted to feel pretty. She wanted to put out a signal and see if anyone answered.
June had dark brown hair cut into a bob, a button nose, and pert bow lips. She had big, light brown eyes that held the giddiness that often accompanies hope. That bikini held promise.
As she stood at the shoreline that morning, she felt almost naked. Sometimes, she felt a little guilty about how much she liked her own body. She liked the way her breasts filled out her bikini top, the way her waist pulled in and then ebbed out again. She felt alive, standing there, partially exposed. She bent down and ran her hands through the cold water rising up to her feet.
A twenty-three-year-old, as-yet-unknown Michael Riva was swimming in the surf. He was with three of the friends he’d made while hanging out in the clubs of Hollywood. He’d been in L.A. for two years, having left the Bronx behind, running west in search of fame.
He was finding his footing coming out of a wave when his gaze fell on the girl standing alone along the shore. He liked her figure. He liked the way she stood there, shy and companionless. He smiled at her.
June smiled back. And so Mick ditched his friends and headed toward her. When he finally made his way over, a drop of ice-cold water fell from his arm onto hers. She found herself flattered by his attention even before he said hello.
Mick was undeniably handsome with his hair slicked back from the ocean, his tan, broad shoulders shining in the sun, his white swimming trunks fitting him just so. June liked his lips—how the bottom was so full it looked swollen, and the top was thinner and had a perfect little v in the center.
He held out his hand. “I’m Mick.”
- Publisher : Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (June 1 2021)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1984845330
- ISBN-13 : 978-1984845337
- Item weight : 230 g
- Dimensions : 12.95 x 2.62 x 14.99 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #343,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Canada
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Cons: the writing/dialogue is very cringy at times. The ending is a bit of a let down.
Would recommend for an entertaining summer read but nothing more.
A slowwwwwwww start
But ended up picking up and being ok
Not as good as other of TJR but pretty good
Top reviews from other countries
Malibu Rising is sadly not as good as either even though there's a lot to love in here.
I think the main problem is that it is under-developed and sort of half-written. A couple more drafts and some editing, re-arranging and cutting would have elevated this novel to the standard this author is capable of.
It feels as if her publisher might have rushed her into print too soon. Or her editor blew smoke up her posterior & told her it was fantastic when it was still a work in progress.
I think this author is incredibly talented and I will read her next one and I'm not sorry I read Malibu Rising it's just not what it should have been.
I’m unpopular with my opinion I know.
But this book took me by surprise. What I thought it was going to be (like a Jackie Collins novel) with horrid little rich people sniping at each other and Botox lol….turned out to be nothing of the sort.
This had a lot of depth to it.
Loss of a parent in death and a father who couldn’t handle fatherhood.
Yes, they had money, but they worked for it.
The eldest daughter made sacrifices.
The family dynamics were intense and I loved every word and shocked myself that I enjoyed it so much.
I only read it thinking I needed an escape from thrillers, maybe a nice summer read. What I got was much more.
So maybe I’ll give her yet another chance when she brings her next book out!
The novel flits back and forth between the night in question - when the annual Riva party takes place - and the early years of the siblings' (Kit, Hud, Jay and Nina) lives and the relationship between their rock-icon father Mick and their mother June. It's all very dull - I had to force myself to keep reading, hoping it would pick up and get better.
As for the party itself, at that point a lot of unlikable characters are introduced very briefly and quickly - after all, the author needed people to populate the party with. But they're cardboard cutout characters - there as space-fillers (literally) and the reader can't care about them because they're unimportant and their time in the spotlight of the novel brief. One example is a mini-story (literally covering a couple of pages) about a guest called Eliza and how she'd like a certain type of man but decided not to stay at the party but go home and read a script (who cares - she's not relevant to the novel) - and here's an example of the frustrating style of writing. We're told 'And so, she did not go inside. Instead, she hung out in the front yard, talking to her friends. And Seth hung out in the backyard, looking for love'. It's written with the type of gravity you might reserve for characters who are the focal point of a novel - star-crossed lovers who might later meet. But nah, Eliza has a few pages and that's it. Like I say, filler material - and not even good filler. Or this - where an actor at the party is introduced: 'Back in high school in Dayton, Ohio, Robert Vaughn Donovan III did not make the football or the baseball team. But the moment he stepped into the school auditorium, he had found a home. With his quick wit and charmingly exasperated delivery of almost every line, he had the drama kids in stitches. His dad's college roommate...' Actually, I won't bore you with the rest. But all this setup for someone at a party who does nothing at all - who has no role in driving the overall plot forward - frustrated me as a reader.
This novel lacks plot, pacing, interesting characters. It's a slow amble across the years, repeatedly flagging up how nice Nina is, how errant Mick is - and it's all tell, tell tell. It's not even titillating. Barely any sex scenes and when there were, they were brief, boring and pretty chaste.
If you are looking for a summer bonk-buster or even a summer page-turner, this book isn't it. It doesn't even feel like it's written by someone who has any insider knowledge of the LA set. I've read that the author used to be a casting agent - but it doesn't feel like she's been close to celebrity or has any interesting stories; unlike Jackie Collins who was clearly close to all the gossip, scandal and sizzle and conveyed every ounce of it in her books. Honestly, what a damp squib of a novel this was.