Love, Life, Surfing, and a Blow Out Party
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Taylor Jenkins Reid is a terrific story-teller. With this book, she grabbed me by the collar and pulled me in, not letting go for two days until all 371 pages were read.
This is the story of the Riva family. Nina is the eldest of four children. She long ago started the tradition of a blow-out party at the end of August. We learn from the opening pages that the one in 1983 would grow wildly out of control at midnight and as a result, the coastline of Malibu would be engulfed in flames. The story is told in two parts over a twenty-four-hour period with flashbacks starting in 1956 and moving forward to give us the back story.
Thus we come to know and care about the Riva kids who grew up in a beach cottage in Malibu. All four are surfers. Nina at age 26 would love to compete as a surfer, but instead is a model who is photographed surfing. She even appeared in a calendar. Twelve months, twelve shots, all of Nina. Then there are the not-exactly-twin-brothers, Jay and Hud, both are 24. One surfs competitively, while the other photographs him surfing. And finally, there is Kit. She is 20 and loves to surf, would love to compete, but has other issues to deal with first.
As readers will see, the parents have been absent for years, and Nina has been in charge of the family. I won’t spoil the story about June, the mother, but I will fill you in on the father. According to the author, Mick is “a singer, songwriter…considered one of the greatest American recording artists of all time…His chart-topping success, classic good looks, and impeccable style have made him one of the most notable icons of the twentieth century.” Oh, and let me add that he is also a serial philanderer.
Adding a few more plot lines, Nina’s marriage to tennis star, Brandon Randall, is on the rocks. Jay is trying to get over his breakup with Ashley, while Hud is falling in love with her. And one of the kids has a health problem.
Clearly, this is not Tolstoy. But if you want to leave your problems behind and get lost in a fast-moving, juicy read, give Malibu Rising a try!