Feature Image Credit: @bookworm.babe.xo Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is hailed as one of summer 2021’s hottest novels, packed with fun indulgent characters, love, family dysfunction, grief and friendship. The combo of adventure and self discovery is exactly what we look for in a summer vacay read—and we wanted more. So here’s a list of books like Malibu Rising to stock your summer reading list!
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In the Malibu summer of 1983, the Riva family, siblings of legendary singer Mick Riva, is preparing for their annual end-of-summer party. But with the secrets and confessions of the night, the party gets out of control. The Riva family must come to terms with their secrets and confessions, for they will have to make decisions that affect the family and themselves. This summer family dysfunction will keep you grasping for more truths and secrets that determine who a person is.
Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin
Reminiscent of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, Alexis Schaitkin’s stunning debut, Saint X, is a haunting portrait of grief, obsession and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another. Hailed as a “marvel of a book” and “brilliant and unflinching,” Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears from their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men are arrested. But the evidence is slim, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth—not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister?
We Were Never Here by Andrea Bartz
Emily is having the time of her life—she’s in the mountains of Chile with her best friend, Kristen, on their annual reunion trip, and the women are feeling closer than ever. But then Emily enters their hotel suite to find blood and broken glass on the floor. Kristen says the cute backpacker she brought back to their room attacked her, and she had no choice but to kill him in self-defense. Even more shocking: The scene is horrifyingly similar to last year’s trip, when another backpacker wound up dead. Back home in Wisconsin, Emily struggles to bury her trauma, but when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to confront their violent past. As Emily feels the walls closing in on their cover-ups, she must reckon with the truth about her closest friend. Can Emily outrun the secrets she shares with Kristen, or will they destroy her relationship, her freedom—even her life?
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
At a wedding for a magazine publisher and rising star off the coast of Ireland, everything seems to be perfect. But when petty jealousy, intoxication, and uncomfortably caring toasts mix, the facade crumbles. When someone turns up dead, it all takes a turn for the worst as the wedding attendees rush to solve the mystery.
Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller
Meet the trophy wives of Presidio Terrace, San Fran’s most exclusive—and deadly—neighborhood. Mystery writer Brooke Davies’ tech-billionaire husband, Jack, twenty-two years her senior, recently moved them to the block, and as she befriends other wives on the street, Jack worries she will reveal the truth behind their “perfect” marriage. Erin King, famed news anchor, quit her job is a Hail Mary attempt at keeping her husband Mason interested—but is he truly the man she thought he was? Georgia St. Claire allegedly cashed in on the deaths of her first two husbands, earning her the nickname “Black Widow”, and a tragic accident forces the residents of Presidio Terrace to ask: Has Georgia struck again? And what is she really capable of doing to protect her secrets?
We Came Here to Forget by Andrea Dunlop
“From the author of She Regrets Nothing, which BuzzFeed called a “sharp, glittering story of wealth, family, and fate,” comes a vivid novel about a young Olympic skier who loses everything and escapes to Buenos Aires, where she reinvents herself, meets a colorful group of ex-pats, and is swept off her feet by a mysterious young man with dark secrets of his own.”
The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess
It’s the late 1980s and aspiring writer Eve Rosen dreams of making a name for herself in the literary world. When she gets the chance to attend a party thrown by prestigious writer, Henry Grey, and his poet wife, she believes she’s finally unlocked her perfect life. But working alongside and mingling with those in the industry will bring to light dark secrets about the literary world. Before she knows it, she’s in over her head and questions whether or not she still wants to be a part of this world.
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
Called “the sleeper hit of the pandemic” by Vogue, this read is great escapism with a glittering, global love affair; a clandestine scandal turns viral sensation. Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of an LA art gallery, is reluctant to take her daughter to meet her favorite boy band. The last thing Solène expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things. For Solène, it is a reclaiming of self, as well as a rediscovery of happiness and love. When Solène and Hayes’ romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her romantic life has impacted the lives of those she cares about most.
The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent
After Birdy makes the biggest mistake of her life, running away is her only option. Birdy turns to her best friend, Heather, who helps her get a job at the highland Scottish hotel for the summer. When she starts falling for a man and has to keep the secrets from her best friend, she questions how long she can continue lying. The Summer Job is a laugh-out-loud read, with a twist of secrets and the lies that shape our identities.
The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman
Once a year, actors from across the globe descend on the smog and sunshine of Los Angeles for pilot season. Careers will be made, stars will be born, nd some will be snuffed out. British star Mia Eliot flies across the Atlantic to join the horde of talent scrambling for their big breaks and meets friendly and genuine Emily, another actress from out of town and a kindred spirit. But a simple favor takes a dark twist when Emily disappears and Mia realizes she was the last person to see her. And when a woman knocks on Mia’s door the following day claiming to be Emily and isn’t the woman Mia remembers at all, Mia is deeply troubled. All Mia has to go on is the memory of a girl she met only once . . . and the suffocating feeling that something terrible has happened. Worse still, the police don’t believe her when she claims the real Emily has gone missing. So Mia is forced to risk the role of a lifetime to try to uncover the truth about Emily, a gamble that will force her to question her own sanity as the truth goes beyond anything she could ever have imagined.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
Best-selling author and single mom Eva Mercy joins in on a library event in New York where she meets Shane, another award-winning novelist. Sparks immediately fly—but no one is aware that Shane and Eva had met fifteen years ago and spent a romantic summer together. Since they cannot deny their chemistry, they spend the next seven days reconnecting. Shane, however, wants Eva back into his life, but she is worried and pushes him away, with unanswered questions. Can love really work after years apart? This romance novel is sure to make summer sparks fly and question if love really ever leaves us.
Anna K Away by Jenny Lee
After the tragic death of her love Alexia, and a scandalous sex tape was released, Anna K is headed to South Korea for the summer. Meanwhile, her best friend, Lolly, is dealing with her own love complications after theatre camp, and is wondering if she and her boyfriend are meant to be. Kimmie, Anna’s other best friend, is also dealing with love complications—as in intimacy issues with her new boyfriend. And Bea, Alexia’s cousin, runs to LA and learns to handle her grief while falling in love. This sequel to the famous coming-of-age series will answer questions about forgiveness and bring the group closer before the next school year.
Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Recently separated, Amelia is a journalist who uncovers the biggest story of her career: she discovers that a cluster of embryos belonging to her childhood friend Parker and his late wife Greer have been deemed “abandoned,” and is put in a position to tell Parker. Parker is unable to move forward since his wife’s death, but knows he’ll need to accept his fate as a single father and find a surrogate. Dealing with their own griefs, Amelia and Parker decide to go back to their childhood home in Cape Carolina and spend some time by the water and go through a self-journey of love, friendship and family. Under the Southern Sky gives readers a sense of self-discovery and a journey through grief by the clear waters.
Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu
What could go wrong at a lavish Indian wedding with your best friend and your entire family? Tina Das wants to belong, but she just isn’t sure where. India or America? Brooklyn or Bombay? Manhattan or Delhi? Or start from scratch in London–she still has fond memories of her one-night stand with Rocco Gallagher, the handsome Australian–but he never called back so maybe it’s time to let that dream go, and focus on finding the next big story for her streaming network instead. She’s hoping she’ll find it at her cousin’s lavish, weeklong Delhi wedding, and has taken her best friend Marianne Laing along for the ride. Marianne has always had international tastes, in life and in love, yet can’t help but think of sweet, steady, khaki-clad Tom back home in New York. Infused with warmth, charm, and wicked humor, Destination Wedding grapples with the challenges of work, love, and finding the people who make a place feel like home.
The Tiger Mom’s Tale by Lyn Liao Butler
Lexa Thomas has never quite fit in. Having grown up in a family of blondes while more closely resembling Constance Wu, she’s neither white enough nor Asian enough. When her estranged father dies unexpectedly, leaving the fate of his Taiwanese family in Lexa’s hands, her safe life in New York City is no longer enough. She is faced with the choice to return to Taiwan and claim her place in her heritage . . or leave her Taiwanese family to lose their home for good. Armed with the advice of two half sisters (one American and the other Taiwanese, who can’t stand each other), a mother who has rediscovered her sexuality, and a man whose kisses make her walk into walls, Lexa finally confronts the person who drove her away from Taiwan all those decades ago. As the truth of the last fateful summer in Taiwan slowly unfolds, Lexa must stand up for herself and open her heart to family and love, or allow the repercussions of her family’s choices to forever dictate the path of her life.
Family Plot by Megan Collins
At twenty-six, Dahlia Lighthouse was raised in a secluded island mansion deep in the woods and kept isolated by her true crime-obsessed parents. She has spent the last several years living on her own, but is unable to move beyond her past–especially the disappearance of her twin brother Andy when they were sixteen. With her father’s death, Dahlia returns to the house where a gruesome discovery is made at the memorial: buried in the reserved plot is another body–Andy’s, his skull split open with an ax. Each member of the family handles the revelation in unusual ways. Her brother Charlie pours his energy into creating a family memorial museum, highlighting their research into the lives of famous murder victims; her sister Tate forges ahead with her popular dioramas portraying crime scenes; and their mother affects a cheerfully domestic facade, becoming unrecognizable as the woman who performed murder reenactments for her children. As Dahlia grapples with her own grief and horror, she realizes that her eccentric family, and the mansion itself, may hold the answers to what happened to her twin.