If you have TikTok or Instagram, odds are you have heard of “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Originally released in 2017, the novel took the world by storm on “BookTok” in 2022. It follows the story of Evelyn Hugo, a beautiful and talented movie star who rose to fame for her acting and extensive dating history.
Evelyn, now in her seventies, had been evading the public eye for quite some time. One day, she requested Monique Grant, an up-and-coming reporter, to write her last testimony. Monique accepted the task, but was confused on why Evelyn chose her of all writers. The novel reflects on Evelyn’s lifetime, from her famous husbands to her secret love affairs and everything in between. Taking place over a few days, Monique and Evelyn bond as they learn more about one another and why people make the choices that they do. The book explores themes of love and loss, with a twist that will leave readers speechless.
In 2019, Reid released “Daisy Jones and the Six.” The novel follows the story of a singer named Daisy Jones, a band called The Six, and all the drama that ensues when they are forced to work together. The book is written in screenplay format, as an unknown interviewer asks Daisy, the members of The Six, and their closest friends to explain what happened during the band’s epic career. The book focuses heavily on the lead singer of The Six, Billy Dunne. Billy was a big shot from Pittsburgh who believed he could make it in Hollywood. Alongside his brother, Graham, his girlfriend, Camila, and the rest of the band, Billy lands the group a record deal that changes everything. Daisy Jones, born to celebrity parents who neglected her, made her own way in the world of music. When The Six’s producer decides to invite Daisy to sing on a track, the chemistry is undeniable. The chemistry in the music, and the chemistry with none other than Billy Dunne. The band must navigate through lover’s quarrels, drug addictions, and the stress of writing number one albums without falling apart. As the group looks back on the time in their life, pieces of who Daisy Jones and The Six really were begin to come together.
In 2021, Reid released “Malibu Rising.” The novel encapsulates the lives of the Riva family. Switching between testimonies from the past and the present, Reid explains how the parents, Mick and June Riva, met and married in the fifties, while also showing how their children live in the Eighties, present day in the book. The Riva children are all talented in their own right. Jay surfs, Hud is a photographer, Kit is a dedicated student, and Nina is a surfer and model. However, the family comes with their own set of issues. Nina was left by her husband, pro tennis player Brandon Randall. Hud is in love with Jay’s ex-girlfriend. Kit feels inferior to her siblings. Mick and June are nowhere to be found. Worse yet, they all have to keep appearances together for the limelight. The present piece of the story takes place very rapidly, as the family prepares for the annual party at Nina’s house that draws celebrities from every corner of Hollywood. The book follows the sibling drama and what happens when Malibu burns.
The last book released by Reid was “Carrie Soto is Back” in 2022. Carrie is a tennis player, and not just any player, she is the best. She set records for women’s tennis under the coaching of her father, Javier. Carrie places her identity in the thrill of the sport, which comes crashing down after an injury that leads to retirement. Carrie becomes even more devastated when a new player, Nicki Chan, breaks her win record. Carrie decides to leave retirement to claim her title once again. She goes on a remarkable journey full of friendship, loss, discovery, and joy as she sees the world outside the realm of tennis for the first time. The book truly captures what it means to face adversity and not back down.
Though these books may seem like simple stories of Hollywood glitz and glam, they are actually woven together in the same universe. Though many characters make quick cameos or are mentioned briefly, one man connects them all: Mick Riva. Mick is introduced in detail during the novel about his family, Malibu Rising. It is where audiences learn about his rise to fame. Mick is also present in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, as one of Evelyn’s husbands and is mentioned in Daisy Jones and The Six as a famous singer. In Carrie Soto is Back, Carrie has an interest in Brandon Randall, the ex-husband of Mick’s daughter, Nina. Mick tying all the stories together takes the series from a few tales to an encompassing world. Knowing that all of the characters exist simultaneously and know one another allows the readers to form real connections with the people and understand them in a more complex light. The universe is given life.
Reid’s novels capture the ins and outs of Hollywood. From messy celebrity relationships to devastating secrets and everything in between, you find yourself drawn to the characters brought to life on the pages. She paints the pictures so well, and the dialogue and plot are both interesting and unpredictable. While each story can be read on its own, it is so exciting to piece together the elements from each book that relate to another book. If you are looking for good winter break reads, the Taylor Jenkins Reid Book Universe is a great place to start. Reid has said that the books can be read in any order with the connection points still making sense. As you weave your way through the mess of fame and the glamor and destruction that comes with it, you will find yourself falling in love with the compelling characters Reid puts on the page. If you do start this journey, you should pick up all four books at once. You won’t be able to put them down.