Set in 1983, Malibu Rising is the story of a dysfunctional family. Part historical fiction and part family drama, it revolves around four siblings. It is the end of summer and the Rivas are hosting their notorious annual party. The four siblings are talented and renowned in their own particular fields: one is a surfer, one a supermodel, one is an award-winning photographer with the youngest still finding her footing. However, their success can also be traced to their estranged father, the legendary singer Mick Riva. When the novel flashes back to the story of the Rivas’ parents meeting on a beach for the first time in 1956, fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid will be able to foresee the impending doom. That pain is a part of the journey and a given is a recurring theme in Reid’s bibliography. Whether it’s an ageing starlet reminiscing over her one true love in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo or a Rockstar constantly torn between his love for his family or choosing his soulmate in Daisy Jones & the Six, Reid writes true love with pain looming remarkably well. The book does not have any major plot points; it is essentially a story. A story that began the moment June Costas laid eyes on Mick Riva. It flashes back to key moments in June’s life while showcasing the readers with similarities between herself and her children, particularly her eldest daughter. It explores how, even after our parents are gone; they never truly disappear as they live inside us. The novel does an excellent job of fleshing out the characters. Not a single person’s actions in this story are considered black or white; it shows how the characters are human who make mistakes. It constantly makes a point to emphasize that our mistakes do not define us but how we deal with those mistakes does. June, who is supposedly the personification of love and care as she embraces her estranged husband’s illegitimate child, sinks away from her responsibilities and more into alcoholism, fundamentally forcing her children to mature early. Mick, an absentee father, has his own childhood trauma to blame. He becomes exactly like the father he so desperately wanted to escape. And Nina, the eldest of her kin, becomes the same woman her mother was. “She had to choose what, of the things she inherited from the people who came before her, she wanted to bring forward. And what, of the past, she wanted to leave behind.”Malibu Rising is a moving story about dysfunctional family dynamics. It is fast-pacing and excellent at catching the reader’s attention. All four siblings are equally important to the story and they all receive equal chapters. Even though the readers realize that everything is going to end well, the journey is infinitely more enjoyable than the destination. The only qualm I had while reading this was the abrupt introduction of new characters who did not add a lot to the story and the constant change in point of views in the second half of the novel. Overall, it’s an entertaining read and perfect for summer. Malibu Rising released on 1st June, 2021.