I am not a fan of romance novels and I seldom read books that are about Hollywood rich kids romp, but somehow Reid brings a certain element to her writing that made me a fan of her last book Nicky Jones and the Six. What grabbed me in this book was that she opens with a fire and then goes backwards. The children of Mick and June Riva who met in 1957 when Nick was an up and coming singer. The couple had four children, Nina, Hud, Jay and Kit, but then on tour, Mick had affairs as most entertainers seem to have. So the kids grew up with a famous absent father and an insecure mother when Malibu was still a bedroom community of Los Angeles. The kids themselves become celebrities and the book centers around a party that ends in disaster.
I think what makes this book a worthwhile summer read is the way Reid brings each character to life as even the minor players are not flat characters, We get a close look at the shipwrecks they have made of their lives from June who drinks down a bottle of pills in the bathtub, passes out and drowns to Nina success as a supermodel and her marriage to tennis star Brandon who is caught between his love for Nina and his wandering eye while he is on the professional tennis circuit. How can we be made to feel sorry for these poor rich kids? Taylor Jenkins Reid manages to do just that which makes this book very compelling when I did not think it was possible. When you think of Brittany Spears, we find it hard to feel sympathy toward a person who has had a very successful career, but the truth is the tragedy lies in the fact that these people must go it alone in their struggles.
I do like books that change my perspective on certain things as this book has done. It should be no surprise since she did the same thing with Nicky Jones and the Six turning the upside down world of rock n’ roll into something that had a solid reality attached to it. I think we will be reading more of Taylor Jenkins Reid in the future, I know I will.