A photograph of a copy of Malibu Rising against a blue and cream backdrop

Wave machine: Malibu Rising's cover. Image: Stuart Simpson/Penguin

There was a while when the cover of Daisy Jones & The Six felt as famous as its fictional rock star: the gap-toothed pout and tumbling curls of the rainbow-coloured woman on the front of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel popped up on Instagram and in bookshop windows alike.

Fast-forward a couple of years and Reid has traded the hedonism of the 1970s for the excess of the Eighties. Malibu Rising re-invents the family saga, hopping through time to climax in one freewheeling evening, when the four beautiful and glamorous Riva siblings – models, photographers and pro surfers – collide with devastating effect.

Daisy Jones & The Six ended up with three different covers: one for hardback (designed by Lauren Wakefield), two for paperback – and Henry Petrides, Senior Designer at Cornerstone, created most of them. He also created the dreamy seascape that introduces the reader to Malibu Rising.

“I started working on it in the very first lockdown, and it was a nice way of escaping an April trapped inside – looking at loads of pictures of amazing beaches and sunsets and stuff,” he jokes.  The Pacific Ocean – and its nearby Pacific Coast Highway is a consistent backdrop to the events of the novel. Reid’s characters wake up to it, bond in its waters, escape their troubles on its waves and betray one another on its shores. The house they grew up in was literally on the beach, the source of the sand that gathered in bathroom.

Petrides knew he wanted to evoke the Eighties at a glance with Malibu Rising’s cover, but finding the right references took some research. “There were some versions which were more lurid, they started to look like old Athena posters,” he says. “A bit too Eighties! So I stripped it back again.” He looked to the colourful abstract portraits airbrush artists Peter Sato and Richard Bernstein, who portrayed stars such as Madonna and Grace Jones in bright hues. “I wanted to infuse the cover for Malibu Rising with a similar soft-focus quality and vivid colour palette,” Petrides says.

The result is something candy-coloured and dreamy; I tell Petrides that the combination reminds me of the bike my mum rode in the late 80s. “Yeah, exactly! That’s what I was really trying to do,” he says, referencing a cartoon from the era called Jem and the Holograms. “I became obsessed with it years ago because it’s really camp and silly but also has an amazing colour palette – the pink and the turquoise were guiding me.”

The three covers of Daisy Jones & the Six next to Malibu Rising

The covers of Daisy Jones & The Six and Malibu Rising

Some earlier designs referenced Jenkins’ characters more specifically, with the face and the figure of a blonde woman – central big sister Nina – but in the end, the waves were left to speak for themselves, with the silhouettes of four gulls in the sky representing the four Riva siblings.

What makes Daisy Jones & The Six and Malibu Rising look somehow related themselves, I’d argue, is the typeface on the font: serif and imposing, both titles and author names are irresistible on the covers. “It was hard to find a font that had an Eighties feel but wasn’t too techno or neon,” says Petrides. “Originally I was looking at that 80s handwritten scrawl and tried some hand-painted things, but it looked too much of a pastiche. In the end, I found this one which linked to Daisy Jones but isn’t quite as , but it's not the same, but it's not quite as Seventies, and has its own character. The serif just made it feel a bit warmer.”

Finally, Petrides added one final touch: “I decided to have the flaps and the endpapers in a similar tone of turquoise, so that when you opened the book it was as if you had plunged in to the ocean that foams at the bottom of the jacket.” Surf’s up!

Taylor Jenkins Reid was a guest on The Penguin Podcast this week. Listen to her interview below.

Topics
  • Malibu Rising

  • The new Sunday Times bestseller from the author of Daisy Jones & The Six

    'Immerses us in a glamorous, star-studded world, but is full of raw human emotion. Its characters felt completely real to me - each one is flawed and messy and impossible not to love.' BETH O'LEARY
    _________________________
    A lifetime holding it together.
    One party will bring it crashing down.

    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.

    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 bubbling 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.
    _________________________
    'The perfect, literal, beach read, with the emotional depth of the ocean' HOLLY BOURNE

    'A sex-on-the-beach cocktail (quite literally) of a book' PANDORA SYKES

    'This summer's must-read novel' SARRA MANNING, RED

    'Sun-drenched ... addictive and fun, it's an essential addition to your summer reading list' STYLIST, Best Fiction of 2021

    'I adored everything about this' DAILY MAIL

    'Unapologetically escapist beach-read fiction' SUNDAY TIMES

    'I did not want this book to end!' PRIMA, Book of the Month

    'Pure exhilaration' THE TIMES

    '
    Imagine Blue Water High and Selling Sunset had a lovechild' EVENING STANDARD

    'A superfun foray into the 1980s ... Delicious' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, Novel of the Week

    'Hugely enjoyable' MAIL ON SUNDAY

    ____________________
    Praise for Daisy Jones & The Six

    'Utterly believable . . . fantastically enjoyable' THE TIMES
    'Pitch perfect' SUNDAY TIMES
    'Prepare to be obsessed' STYLIST
    'I devoured this in a day, falling head over heels for it' REESE WITHERSPOON
    'I LOVE it . . . I can't remember the last time I read a book that was so fun' DOLLY ALDERTON
    'I didn't want this book to end' FEARNE COTTON

  • Buy the book

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