by Taylor Jenkins Reid
🔥🔥 (two stars as rated in the fire that it’s all leading up to)
I was given a free ARC of this book by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Bah. I’ve been sitting on this review for awhile but when it really comes down to it this book was a mixed bag for me. At first, it’s actually two stories (the adolescence and growth of the Riva children and the tale of their parents’ relationship) and I think for the first half of the book, as we switch between those two timelines, it really does work well. The second half, though, just falls apart. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters but my problem was that so much time is spent continually introducing other characters that I lost track (and interest) in what even the protagonists were up to after a while. I appreciated that we really did get to see how everyone – side characters and all – connected to one another at the end, and at times their mini-arcs were really fun. Maybe it would have landed better for me if we had gotten to see all these side characters more in the first half of the story? But really, when the last character is introduced at 83% it’s just… too many people for me to care about that late in the game. Ugh. I’m sorryyyyy. I wanted so badly to like this.
“Malibu catches fire… Because it is Malibu’s nature to burn.“– Taylor Jenkins Reid, Malibu Rising
ALSO, real talk, with so much build up to this “big fire” at the end, I was admittedly super disappointed. I’ve lived in fire territory most of my life and just felt like half a hill burning was not really much of a fire given the dramatic intro? And the fact that EVERYTHING was supposedly leading up to this??? I mean, I’m glad no one was hurt but… really? Gimme an actual fire, people! I want to watch the world BURN!
✨ Rep in this book: n/a
✨ Content warnings for this book: abandonment by a parent, adultery, divorce, death of a parent, drowning, arson, alcoholism, drug use
About the Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Her novels have been Indie Next Picks, chosen by Book of the Month, and featured in People, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, and more. Her newest novel, Daisy Jones and the Six, is a New York Times bestseller. She lives in Los Angeles. (copied from the author’s personal website)
Personal note: girl on giving credit where credit is due
At the end of the day I’m impressed when anybody can write a book, and one that I actually want to actually finish, at that. So huzzah to TJR for all she’s accomplished thus far in her career and even if I had DNF’d this book, you better believe I’ll buy everything she ever writes because her words are just a joy to consume. Even when I don’t really know what’s going on.
Hope you’re all enjoying the weekend,