A compulsively readable story about the bonds between family members and the power of breaking free.

MALIBU RISING

In the early 1980s, four Malibu surfer siblings throw a raging party that forces them to confront their pasts in this new novel from the author of Daisy Jones & the Six (2019).

The Riva siblings didn’t have an easy childhood. Their father was a famous singer who came and went whenever he wanted, finally leaving for good. Their mother was an alcoholic, leaving her oldest daughter, Nina, to take on the bulk of the parenting. Nina ends up becoming a surf model to earn enough money to take care of her siblings: Jay, who becomes a pro surfer, Hud, who becomes a surf photographer, and the youngest, Kit, who hopes to follow in their surfing footsteps. Their rocky childhood led them to become extremely close as adults, and no tradition means more to them than the annual Riva party, held at Nina’s beach house. It’s typically raucous and full of celebrities behaving badly, but the real drama this time ends up coming from the secrets the Rivas are keeping from each other. Reid alternates between the siblings’ current-day party preparations and the story of their past: how their parents, Mick and June, met in the 1950s, fell in love, and had a tumultuous relationship. By the time the end of the party rolls around, the siblings each realize the many ways their pasts continue to affect their futures. Reid’s descriptions of Malibu are so evocative that readers will swear they feel the sea breeze on their faces or the grit of the sand between their toes. The Rivas have a believable sibling dynamic, and the family members are complex and delightfully flawed (especially Mick, whose bad decisions reverberate throughout the novel).

A compulsively readable story about the bonds between family members and the power of breaking free.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9865-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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If novelists are auditioning to play God, Hilderbrand gets the part.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

GOLDEN GIRL

From the greenroom of the afterlife—make that Benjamin Moore "Parsley Snips" green—a newly dead Nantucket novelist watches life unfold without her.

In her 27th novel, Hilderbrand gives herself an alter ego—beloved beach-novel author Vivian Howe—sends her out for a morning jog, and immediately kills her off. A hit-and-run driver leaves Vivi dead by the side of the road, where her son's best friend discovers her body—or was he responsible for the accident? Vivi doesn't know, nor does she know yet that her daughter Willa is pregnant, or that her daughter Carson is having a terribly ill-advised affair, or that her son, Leo, has a gnawing secret, or that her ex is getting tired of the girl he dumped her for. She will discover all this and more as she watches one last summer on Nantucket play out under the tutelage of Martha, her "Person," who receives her in the boho-chic waiting room of the Beyond. Hermès-scarved Martha explains that Vivi will have three nudges—three chances to change the course of events on Earth and prevent her bereaved loved ones from making life-altering mistakes. She will also get to watch the publication of what will be her last novel, titled Golden Girl, natch, and learn the answers to two questions: Will the secret about her own life she buried in this novel come to light (who cares, really—she's dead now), and will it hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list (now there's an interesting question). She'll also get to see that one of her biggest wrongs is posthumously righted and that her kids have learned her most important lesson. As Willa says to Carson, "You know how she treats the characters in her books? She gives them flaws, she portrays them doing horrible things—but the reader loves them anyway. Because Mom loves them. Because they’re human.”

If novelists are auditioning to play God, Hilderbrand gets the part.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-31642008-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

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THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME

When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.

Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.

Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7134-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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