Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Nina Riva has led a very complicated life. Her mother died when she was still in high school leaving her to raise not only herself, but her three other siblings while barely making ends meet running her mother’s family restaurant in Malibu. Their father, Mick Riva, a very famous crooner with an incredible career as well as libido, turned his back on his family years ago. But today is the Riva annual end of summer party. The guest list is massive. It’s at Nina’s mansion which sit up on a cliff and overlooks the beach. Well, it’s not really her house, but her soon to be ex-husband’s. That’s way Nina is having a difficult day. Her tennis pro husband has recently left her for another tennis pro. She cringes at the thought of everyone seeing her so vulnerable tonight. But as usual Nina does not think about herself, but of her siblings, Jay, a professional surfer, Hud a photographer and Kit, her youngest sister who wants to follow in Jay’s footsteps. They look forward to this party all year.

But they too are having problems of their own. Jay may have to give up surfing, Hud has been keeping secrets and Kit who at twenty has never been kissed and has decided that tonight’s the night.

Nina’s upbringing was difficult, her mother an alcoholic, her father coming in and out of her mother’s life, Nina having to always be the adult in the room. Then she was spotted surfing by a photographer and her life catapulted her into both fame and fortune. And this seems to be where her problems really began. She was not made for stardom. So as much as she understands the party must go on, she dreads the feeling of embarrassment of the evening when all eyes will be turned to her to see how she is reacting to the news of her husband’s infidelity.

But the evening begins to take an awkward turn from the first ring of the doorbell as the guests arrive, two not expected at all and the siblings will find themselves not only fighting with each other, but with ghosts from long ago. As the evening progresses and the usual chaotic party begins to take a turn into complete pandemonium, with guests literally hanging from chandeliers, the family will have to come together when these revelations come to light. They each will need to come to grips with hurtful memories no one ever wanted to revisit. By the next morning, their lives will be changed forever.

The story, which is told between two times, an hourly accounting of the day of the party leading up to and into the next morning, and the love story of Nina and her sibling’s mother and her father Mick and all the heartbreak it caused.

It is a story of love, loss, greed and having to make tough decisions. It is a story of a family united by Nina’s perseverance always afraid to think of herself for fear her family will be torn apart. And finally, by its conclusion, a united family who will finally all take their individual control back as the create a new family unit.

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