The ’80s Really Were the Best: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I wonder if there’s a little tiny part of every person that wishes they had that one really crazy ass story to tell about a party they went to when they were young and stupid.

I certainly can’t hold a candle to the stories the fictional partygoers have in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest, “Malibu Rising.” No one throws a party like Nina Riva. Even at my wildest, which wasn’t very wild, the craziest it got mostly centered on being able to get sick from drinking too much and still being able to go back for more, or the time I tried to laminate a deck of cards to play euchre in a hot tub.

No shots fired, no dishes smashed, no sex in closets. At least that I knew of.

But then again, maybe I didn’t have as much steam to blow off as Nina. That girl needs to enjoy a party.

Immensely readable and perfect for a summer weekend, “Malibu Rising” is about a single day in the life of the Riva kids — Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit — interspersed with their backstories, and those of their parents, Mick and June.

If I had to choose, the story’s focus really is on the eldest, Nina — a 25-year-old supermodel/surfer in the summer of ’83, trying to figure out what’s next after single-handedly raising her three siblings after their mother dies years earlier. Their father, Mick, is a ne’er do well, wildly famous rock-and-roller whose familial roots didn’t take.

Nina’s life has taken a sour turn, not unlike what her mother experienced. And now it’s up to her to figure out if this next chapter belongs to her, or if her services are still required when it comes to making sure Jay, Hud and Kit are ready to leave the nest.

And of course, this party she hosts every year. She’s just got to get through this day. Then she can figure it out.

Close your eyes and picture any out-of-control party scene from a movie. Think Sixteen Candles. Think Bachelor Party. Think The Hangover. Think Boogie Nights. Now throw in some famous or famous-sounding people. Models, athletes, actors, you name it. This is a party destined for trouble. And the one that maybe some little part of us wishes we had been invited to, when, as I alluded to above, we were too young or stupid to say no.

It’s like I said — perfect, highly entertaining reading on a summer weekend. Pick it up, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

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