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Ranking the Best Books by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Ranking the Best Books by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of the most popular authors out there.

She is by far one of my favorite writers. I find her books so impactful and engaging! Usually when I start one of her novels, I end up reading it all the way through in one sitting.

Her books have exploded in popularity in recent years and she’s now a huge favorite on BookTok. I’ve actually been reading her novels since her first book came out in 2013. I have to say, she’s really grown as an author. Her first novels were more in the women’s fiction genre—focused mainly on relationships, especially in one’s late 20s.

But when she wrote The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, she took on historical fiction and writing epic type stories. Since then, she’s also published Daisy Jones & the Six, Malibu Rising and the most recent Carrie Soto is Back. BTW, I just finished Carrie Soto is Back so I’ve updated the list to include that novel as well.

Also, keep in mind, I do enjoy all her stories! I’ll read anything she writes.

It was a toss up for me between Daisy Jones and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. But I have to give Daisy Jones the edge. I was a bit unsure of the writing style going in—it’s told in an interview format—but it ends up working so well.

Daisy and Billy’s relationship is not what you expect and I loved how she handled it. Highly recommend this one as it’s such a standout book and one that will stick with you for a long time. Here’s the synopsis:

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Here’s my full review and book club questions.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo shows Taylor’s maturity as an author. As I mention, it’s very epic in scale—covers many decades—and set in Old Hollywood. It’s very well done and impactful.

The Hollywood Reporter just announced that Netflix will adapt the novel into a feature film. Very exciting! Although, I actually think it lends itself better for a series but I’m sure the film will still be fantastic.

As someone who used to be really into Old Hollywood, I just loved reading this story and Evelyn Hugo is vivid—she felt real. This another story where it doesn’t go where you might expect. What more can I say—it’s so good and worth your time.

Here’s the synopsis:

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.

You can order the book on Amazon here.

Carrie Soto Is Back is one of her first novels to feature a character who made an appearance in a previous novel, in this case, Malibu Rising. But honestly, I didn’t think Carrie stood out that much and I was a little perplexed on why TJR decided to feature this character in her own novel.

Oh but wow. After reading it, I totally understand why. Carrie is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read in a long time.

Carrie is an all-star tennis player who comes out of retirement to try and take back her record. She’s determined to prove that she is the greatest tennis player of all time. But it’s not an easy journey back and while Carrie appears as confident as they come, there are cracks beneath that tough veneer. Her character journey is fascinating and very rewarding. Here’s the synopsis:

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.

In spite of it all, Carrie Soto is back, for one epic final season. In this riveting and unforgettable novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid tells her most vulnerable, emotional story yet.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Here’s my full review and book club questions.

Maybe in Another Life is a creative premise: alternating chapters where two different storylines unfold. It really brings up the notion of how one choice can have rippling effects on your life. Also, while it features a chick-lit cover, this one does get deep and serious.

One of the most profound questions is what if? I think we have all had moments in our life where we were at a crossroads. And even if you’re 100 percent happy with the decision you made, I’m sure there’s been a time or two where you wonder what would have happened if you chose a different direction. I love these types of stories as they really make you think. This is another impactful story from TJR.

Here’s the synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

You can order the book on Amazon here.

Malibu Rising sounds fairly superficial on the surface. I thought it was going to be one of those stories that’s just all about rich, famous kids and their problems. Yes, the siblings are famous, due to their musician father and their own talents, but there is so much more going on in this story.

I should have known that TJR would find a way to make this subject matter so heartfelt and impactful. The novel takes surprising turns for sure. It’s very much worth a read and I just read that the show is being developed as a series for Hulu.

This one did get mixed reviews but I did quite enjoy it. Again, there is so much more going on than just a random party. My only criticism would be that when it does cover the party, sometimes it focuses on random characters you don’t really care about. But that didn’t take away from the core of the story to me.

Here’s the synopsis:

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

You can order the book on Amazon here. Here’s my full review and book club questions.

One True Loves is pretty heart-wrenching at times. This one did make me cry. It really considers the idea of a soulmate, can you have more than one? When you read it, you really don’t know which direction it will take. This is also being made into a film as well. Here’s the synopsis:

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

You can order the book on Amazon here.

After I Do takes a closer look at marriage and longevity. A couple agree to take a year apart to see if they’re truly meant to be. This is a read you can tackle on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I think the story is fine but it wasn’t as memorable as her others.

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.

You can order the book on Amazon here.

Forever, Interrupted is her first novel but also my least favorite. I still liked it enough but you can tell she’s really grown as a writer since this one came out. I feel like there was time where a lot of women’s fiction centered around a pretty vivid tragedy—that’s not always my favorite take on the genre. Like After I Do, it didn’t stick with me. Here’s the synopsis:

Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met—and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.

You can order the book on Amazon here.

Happy reading!