Book Clubbin’: 10 Discussion Questions for ‘Malibu Rising’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Welcome back to our monthly Book Clubbin’ feature where we provide discussion questions for your next book club meeting. If you’re lucky enough to be in an area where things are slowly returning to normal, now’s the perfect time to round up your friends and hit up a patio for a night of delicious food, summer drinks, and lots of book talk. If not, no worries! You can always get nice and cozy in your own house and sip n’ chat over Zoom (we know you’re pros at it by now)!

We’re big Taylor Jenkins Reid fans here at, so naturally we chose her latest release, Malibu Rising narrated by the incomparable Julia Whelan, as our Book Clubbin’ pick!

Malibu: August 1983. As the children of famed singer Mick Riva, Nina and her three siblings Jay, Hud, and Kit are a constant source of fascination in Malibu. It’s the day of Nina’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch as everyone who is someone gather at Nina’s glamorous Cliffside mansion. Over the course of 24 hours, everything the Riva siblings have spent a lifetime holding together comes crumbling down. By morning the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames.

If you’ve been on the hunt for some thought-provoking book club questions that are sure to spark a great discussion, look no further. Keep reading for our discussion questions below. Beware— SPOILERS ahead.


1) Why do you think Taylor Jenkins Reid chose the setting of Malibu in the 1980s? What did the time period and location add to the story?  

2) The realities of fame play out very differently for men and women in Malibu Rising. Discuss how fame carries different expectations and consequences for each of the Rivas. Do these expectations and consequences still ring true for celebrities today?

3) What does surfing mean to each of the siblings?

4) Why do you think Taylor Jenkins Reid chose to include June and Mick’s backstory? How did their relationship and fallout inform your understanding of the Riva siblings?

5) How did you feel about June’s choices throughout the novel? In what ways is Nina, who is the most worried out of all of her siblings about following in her mother’s footsteps, both like and unlike June?

6) Malibu Rising is very much about the tenacity and complicity of sibling bonds. Discuss the ways the Riva siblings are defined by each other and how their relationships change, if at all, throughout the course of the novel.

7) How did you feel about Mick by the end of the novel? Were you ever sympathetic towards him?

8) Were you surprised by Casey’s arrival? With Nina leaving, how do you think Casey will fit into the family?

9) Why do you think Taylor Jenkins Reid chose to have the majority of the story takes place within 24 hours, and why is it important that it all culminate in a massive, destructive fire?

10) Malibu Rising is currently in development as a miniseries at Hulu! Who would you cast as each of the characters?

Looking for Book Recommendations?

• Here are the audiobooks our members have been loving, along with our staff picks that we’ve been championing.

• Looking to share your love of books? Our handy Book Clubbin’ questions make it super easy to start a book club. Or, Netflix n’ buddy-read with this year’s book-to-screen adaptations (just be prepared for the perennial debate: is the book better than the movie/show?).

• If you’re looking for something extra, we’ve got author and narrator interviews to give you a gleam inside their worlds.

• For the curious-minded, audiobooks can teach you a thing or two, from nature therapy to personal finance. It can even keep the little ones busy so you can steal some time back for yourself.

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