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Famous Authors Born this Month: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid was born on December 20, 1983. Since the publication of her debut novel in 2013, she has become a repeat author on bestselling lists and book clubs all over. In only a short time, her bibliography has grown to consist of eight stories, all generally met with great acclaim. Her roots started with an interest in film, which you can easily see mirrored in later novels. She earned a degree in media studies and worked in the film world for a time in addition to a high school, the latter being where she began to write. Now Reid is quickly becoming a household name with her immersive plots and seductive characters. 

In the early years of Reid’s literary career, her stories focused on the complexities of love and self understanding, her characters trying to figure out how achievable happiness and genuine connections can be when faced with life’s complications both small and large. Forever, Interrupted (2013) was Reid’s first title. It’s a story of a whirlwind romance cut short by a tragic accident, and how the characters process grief and the outrageous possibility of moving forward. In 2014 came After I Do, another love story gone askew with a married couple struggling with falling out of love and how to recover what they once had or to let go. There is then Maybe in Another Life (2015), where a character considers how her life may have been different had she gone home with a boy at a bar and One True Loves (2016), where a woman faces the impossible choice of love between the reemergence of a missing husband and a newly engaged fiancé. 

What truly skyrocketed Reid into the literary stardom was the publication of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo in 2017. Here, Reid’s interest in film comes to the forefront, as the plot centers around a once Hollywood starlet Evelyn Hugo spilling her scandalous life and secrets to a journalist, but why she chose to do so at this point and with this particular reporter is one of the mysteries to be uncovered. With Reid’s experience and a backdrop of Hollywood and Los Angeles beginning in the 1950s, the book has been given the genre of historical fiction. The same year of its release, it became a finalist for the Book of the Month’s Book of the Year as well as Goodread’s Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. 

Following this big hit in 2019 was Daisy Jones & the Six. Readers are introduced to Daisy, a beautiful carefree soul with a voice meant for fame, and who just wants to rock n’ roll as many did in the ’70s (especially in the setting of Los Angeles). Mix her and a chance encounter with the lead singer of the band The Six, Billy Dune, and you have a recipe for music gold. But why did she and the band eventually breakup? What really happened behind the shows and success? The tantalizing tale was selected as a Reese’s Book Club Pick and an Amazon Best Book for March 2019.

Next to be released was Malibu Rising in 2021. Another work of historical fiction with elements of stardom in the setting of Malibu, it follows the children of the Riva family who all hold their own claim to fame, but struggle juggling it along with their personal lives and family history. All these problems come to blows at the house party of the year, ending in a fearsome fire. The reader then has to wonder, who was tortured enough-or possibly even justified enough-of the Rivas to start it? In 2021, it won Goodread’s Choice Awards for Best Historical Fiction and was chosen for the Today Show’s Read with Jenna Book Club. 

Reid’s most recent novel was only just published  this past August, titled Carrie Soto is Back. Here we find the powerhouse character that is Carrie Soto. She dominates the tennis world, winning every award possible and only retiring when there are no more feats to conquer. Cut to some time later, and there is already a new star on the court threatening her claim to immortality. So Soto comes out of retirement to protect her title, but must deal with the consequences of what her life and relationships have become as well as if her days of a star are truly long behind her. 

As Reid’s passion for film and media is quite obvious and deep rooted, you can safely assume she hasn’t totally converted to just working in the literary world. In 2015 she cowrote the sitcom, Resident Advisors, which originally streamed on Hulu (but only lasted for one season). Netflix announced this year they will be adapting The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo to film with Reid as one of the executive producers. Likewise, Hulu picked up the rights to adapt Malibu Rising even before the book was released in 2021. Then there is Daisy Jones & the Six, which Reese Witherspoon loved so much, not only did she pick it for her book club, but also moved forward adapting it as executive producer (and Reid attached again as a producer). The 10 episode mini-series will premiere on Amazon Prime next March, with Riley Keough and Sam Claflin in the lead roles. Additionally, One True Loves was filmed for the large screen starring Simu Liu, Phillipa Soo, and Luke Bracey, with an expected release in 2023.

Compared to other authors, Reid’s fame has been relatively recent and fast, but you can not doubt her prowess in the field with her constant revisits to the Bestseller’s List. Why not pick up one of her books, as they and she remain relevant topics in many book conversations of the present (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a TikTok/BookTok sensation!). And you surely don’t want to miss out when the television shows and movies start releasing (as we all know it’s better to read the book first than to watch it). You can find many of the titles mentioned above and others on Libby, Hoopla, and Kanopy as well as clicking on them below to see what library you can borrow them from. And don’t forget to wish this beloved author a Happy Birthday on December 20th!

 

“But at some point, you have to recognize that you have no control over anybody and you have to step back and be ready to catch them when they fall and that’s all you can do. It feels like throwing yourself to sea. Or, maybe not that. Maybe it’s more like throwing someone you love out to sea and then praying they float on their own, knowing they might well drown and you’ll have to watch.”

Taylor Jenkins Reid, Daisy Jones & The Six

 

Written by Margaret Andracchi
Reference Librarian, Will Library
Was very resistant to BookTok (due to It Ends with Us, #sorrynotsorry) but I did love Malibu Rising so I may give Evelyn Hugo a shot (And Daisy Jones, I love everything Sam Claflin is in!)