Taylor Jenkins Reid's MALIBU RISING, plus Evelyn, Daisy, and what comes next
Somewhere along the way, I guess I turned into a bit of a Taylor Jenkins Reid fangirl.
I stumbled onto a new Hollywood Reporter interview of her and learned that FOUR! of her books are currently being adapted for television (One True Loves is the only one I haven't read yet). There is almost nothing I love more than watching my favorite books come to life on screen, so I'm thrilled to learn this news!
I wanted to share my thoughts on TJR's newest release, Malibu Rising, which just came out two weeks ago. This was my first-ever ARC from NetGalley back in February - what a way to start! Because it was still a few months pre-release, I went in knowing very little about Malibu Rising but devoured it quickly. I had read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six in the last year, so I knew to expect an enjoyable read from TJR.
These three books sort of go together, as they all take place in California and deal with the highs and lows of fame. Evelyn is a movie star in 1960s Hollywood, Daisy is a rock star frollicking along Sunset Strip in the 70s, and Malibu is all about 80s surfer culture in... you guessed it, Malibu.
This is the story of Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit- the children of a philandering and absent rock star father, Mick Riva - whose name you might recognize if you've read Evelyn or Daisy - and a devoted single mother who, despite it all, is hopelessly in love with Mick.
I really loved TJR's examination of how each character was uniquely affected by their parents' choices. This manifested differently in each one of them, and contributed to their struggles throughout. It was just done so well- the kids' own recognition of their issues and how to overcome them, and how they related to one another. Malibu Rising had everything I wanted more of from Daisy Jones - more introspection and better character development, with some of the heart of Evelyn Hugo.
Easy to read, hard to put down, stays with you long after you're finished... this sums up every TJR book I've read so far, and Malibu Rising was no exception. If you loved her other books, I don't think this one will disappoint. Some thoughts if you're trying to decide which to read first:
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a little deeper, and I caught myself flipping back and forth between chapters to connect the dots and see if I could figure out answers to the looming questions throughout the story. Oh and also, I sobbed my face off. Like, sobbed SO HARD. I think I've bought 6-7 copies now to give to girlfriends... it's just one of those books with broad appeal and is top of mind when someone, avid reader or not, needs a good recommendation. I should also mention I was highly skeptical of this book. I'd seen it all over the place and thought "pshhh, fluffy beach read about a Hollywood starlet? I'm much too sophisticated for that nonsense..." (camera cuts to me crying wet salty tears all over the pages when I finally got over myself and actually read it). You really can't judge a book by its cover!
- Daisy Jones and the Six was intriguing to me right off the bat as a huge Fleetwood Mac fan who is probably a little too knowledgeable about the band's history, which was the inspiration for the book. It uses an interview format- some Evelyn Hugo vibes in that respect, except Daisy reads like actual interview transcripts while Evelyn was more of a narrative format. In any case, this interview style was very conversational and easy to read. Call me a literary snob, but I just missed all the internal reflection that TJR demonstrated so well in Evelyn. Something about Daisy's format plus that Fleetwood element made it seem... dare I say, too real to me? While highly entertaining, I think I just wanted more depth. But kudos to TJR if my only qualm with this book is that it felt *too* realistic. Well... plus I may have groaned about the ending. I'll let you be the judge of that :)
- Malibu Rising seemed like a hybrid of the other two book styles. A party-loving ensemble cast in chaos à la Daisy, but more like the depth and prose we got from Evelyn. Also a definite page-turner, because the present-day story is told over a span of 24 hours leading up to an end-of-summer bash, with flashbacks and past anecdotes sprinkled throughout shedding light on the family background.
If you're going to read them all, I'd probably recommend chronological order... Evelyn, Daisy, Malibu. Then come back here and tell me which one you liked the best. Psst... it's Evelyn. She rules. I'll leave you with an excerpt of the Hollywood Reporter interview that is perhaps even more exciting than all the fabulous page-to-screen news:
Q: So now that you’ve published books that take readers to the sixties, seventies and eighties, would it be safe to expect an exploration of the nineties in a future novel?
TJR: You’re onto me! You’re paying close attention and I’m appreciating it. I think there’s one more thing I want to explore and a different type of famous woman that I’d like to wrestle with. That take is fluid at the moment but I have the intention that the book that I write next will fit in very well with the previous three and form a sort of a quartet.
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