- Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Penguin Random House. $32.99.
Taylor Jenkins Reid has a way of creating these layered worlds within her books that have her readers questioning whether they are reading a work of fiction or fact.
It's one of the things I loved about her previous book, Daisy Jones and the Six - a story about a 1970s rock band - its memoir-style writing and attention to detail (right down to the full set of song lyrics) had me Googling to confirm that this was a work of fiction. (How I wished I could add this ultra-cool band's music to my Spotify playlist!).
It's something that must have captured the attention of others as well, as the book was bought by Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine company to be developed into a TV show (due to be released on Amazon Prime later this year).
I was hoping for more of this realistic style of writing when picking up Jenkins Reid's latest book, Malibu Rising and it did not disappoint.
Jenkins Reid's latest book takes us to the early 1980s' surfing community of Malibu, where we follow four famous siblings as they throw an epic end of summer party. It's a party that will go down in history not only for how out of control it became but because by morning the house and Malibu will be up in flames. This isn't a spoiler. Not only do we know the fate of this party within the first few pages, but it's also in the book's blurb.
What we also know about these four siblings from the outset is that they are the offspring of the legendary (and fictional) singer Mick Riva. But like most things relating to the celebrity world, the siblings' relationship with their famous father isn't all it's cracked up to be.
It's been almost two decades since any of the Riva children have seen their famous dad. They know him about as well as the rest of the world does - through the interviews he has done over the years. And with the passing of their mother a few years prior, the four Riva kids are on their own.
That being said, having a famous father - albeit, an absent one - has its perks. The oldest sibling, Nina's career as a surf model has been boosted by her lineage, as has the careers of her brothers Jay - a pro surfer - and Hud - a renowned photographer. It seems like it's only a matter of time before younger sister Kit will join them in the limelight.
Primarily set over the 24 hours leading up to the fire, we watch as each of the siblings' lives slowly unravel, in one way or another, while seemingly oblivious to the house party descending into disarray around them.
It's an incredible mashup of family drama and celebrity culture, with Jenkins Reid describing detailed vignettes of wild party antics to juxtapose the serious chapters about each of the siblings. All the while, the author injects just enough true 1980s references and personalities, adding an extra layer of false authenticity.
This continues when you realise just how interconnected Malibu Rising is with some of the author's other work. Those who are fans of Jenkins Reid's work may recognise Mick Riva's name - he appeared in both Daisy Jones and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.
The novels are set in the same world but are stand-alone works and Malibu Rising, in particular, focuses on the four siblings, their relationships with each other and the lack of relationship they have with their father. Simply knowing these works are interconnected does make you wonder how detailed the world Jenkins Reid has created must be - and how many more stories it holds.