Over the last couple of years, Taylor Jenkins Reid has been taking the world by storm with her books regarding old famous celebrities in a fictional yet intertwined version of 20th century Los Angeles. A movie star, singer, surfer and tennis professional tell their stories of this time period through their struggles and personal battles with fame. There are a multitude of conflicting opinions about which book should take the top spot, so I spent some time this summer reading all four books in order to properly rank them from my favorite to least favorite.
1. “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”
Although it’s clear from the sheer fact that “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” has sold over a million copies, it is truly a literary masterpiece. A well-written book with shocking twists and an enthralling concept really put this book on the map as a must-read for everyone from all walks of life. This book depicts old Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo, as she conducts an interview with journalist Monique Grant. The book incites questions such as why such an icon would choose someone like Monique Grant to share her secrets and tell her story before her passing. I also think that the story of Evelyn’s life is so incredibly fascinating that it makes it difficult to put the book down.
2. “Daisy Jones & The Six”
Upon beginning to read “Daisy Jones & The Six,” I was hesitant due to the interview or script format of the book, although I actually ended up really enjoying the style. The book portrays the band “The Six,” as they garner fame and make their way into the world of old rock ‘n’ roll with the help of sex-symbol icon Daisy Jones. The characters in this book were incredibly complex with goals and ethics which made it easy to want to root for them. I especially loved Billy Dunne’s wife, Camila, who I feel really made the book for me. Taylor Jenkins Reid also showcased her songwriting ability in this book by including the lyrics to all 11 songs on the band’s famous album, “Aurora.” This novel was recently turned into a television series that’s also been doing exceedingly well.
3. “Carrie Soto is Back”
Reid’s latest book, “Carrie Soto is Back,” also has a special place in my heart. Although I chose to rank this book third, I still really enjoyed it, finishing it in about two days. “Carrie Soto is Back” portrays tennis star Carrie Soto as she decides to come out of retirement to defend her record of most grand slam titles. The first half of the book talks about her rise to fame and the second half depicts her decision to come out of retirement and the trials and tribulations resulting from that decision. Carrie Soto is an incredibly fascinating character due to her cutthroat nature and fierce personality, which I’m sure we can relate to as UC Berkeley students. Putting tennis above all else, Soto works hard as she attempts to return to her former glory. I really loved Carrie Soto as a character and was fascinated by her journey. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
4. “Malibu Rising”
Last but not least on my list is “Malibu Rising.” I really loved it despite the fact that I favored all the other books on this list just a little more. “Malibu Rising” depicts four professional surfer siblings who happen to be the children of famous pop sensation and deadbeat dad Mick Riva. The eldest sibling, Nina Riva, puts on a party every year for the famous residents of Hollywood, and it has a tendency to get out of control. The events of the book unfold over the course of a singular day and is told from the perspective of all four of the Riva siblings. It also flashes between present day and the past love story of Mick Riva and their mom June Riva. This book is fabulously written and definitely keeps you enthralled with the fascinating history of the Riva family. I loved all the characters and really enjoyed the love story between Mick and June.
Honestly, all four of these books were incredibly fun and interesting to read despite their rankings on this list. This world of old fame that Taylor Jenkins Reid has created is both magical and fun, making it the perfect literary escape from school this summer. I love the references she makes in each book of the other characters in her books. Mick Riva has the honor of appearing in every novel as a husband, a father or a pop sensation which really adds to the unique pleasure of reading these novels. I would highly recommend any of these novels — Taylor Jenkins Reid has definitely gained a loyal fan in me.