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#TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Book Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

My dear bookish friends!

With the dark, cold, and wet November days slowly ringing in the winter time, we are all searching for books to pass the time with inside. For some, that could be a nice, festive holiday romance, but others might be looking for the page-turning action they’re missing in their everyday life (especially in 2020!). I might not typically be one of the second group, but I still absolutely loved this book. And… well, I have a secret. Keep on reading to find out what that is!

But before I send you off to read my review, a big thanks goes to Penguin for my (gorgeous!) physical copy, as well as to the hero of the TheWriteReads gang – Dave! I have read more 5-star books this year than in a long time – all thanks to you and these blog tours!

Now, let’s find out what The Cousins is about, and what I thought of it!

About the Book

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying comes your next obsession. You’ll never feel the same about family again.

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

My Review:

Okay, are you ready for my secret? I have something to admit. Something bad. But then it turns good, so maybe it’s  not so bad after all? Well, that’s up to you to decide. Ready?


I have never ever read a Karen M. McManus book before this one. 🙈

Bad, isn’t it?! But now comes the good part: I LOVED The Cousins!! And a bonus: It won’t be my last book by the author, that’s for sure!!!

The last YA mystery I read (and loved) was Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (and what a coincidence – it was for a TheWriteReads blog tour too!), and I think it’s now one of my favourite genres! The complicated family, the thrils, the twists and turns; with the right premise a book of this genre hooks you from the start and doesn’t let you to stop reading until the very end. The Cousins is a book like that.

We meet a rich, influential family – the Story family. Oh, and you know what else they are? Complicated. Really complicated. I know everyone says that about their family, but it’s true about the Storys (I have to say, in the beginning I was a bit confused about their name lol). Over twenty years ago, Mildred Story disinherited her children. She never met her three grandchildren. But now, out of nowhere, each of them gets invited to her island to spend their summer there working.

The cousins (from the title) are Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah. They haven’t seen each other since they were little kids, and now they’re supposed to spend their summer together for the small chance to get their families back into their grandmother’s good graces. For their parents’ sake. So, as you might imagine, there’s quite a bit of reluctance to find here.

Milly is named after her grandmother. Even though the book starts off with Milly’s story, she is not my favourite. No, that is Aubrey, the girl whose character goes thorugh the most growth thorughout the book in my opinion. Jonah, the third cousin, well – he’s his own kind of funny, and he follows his very own plan this summer. Although I have to say, each of the cousins has their own reason to be there.

Even though with multiple-character points of view books (um, what are they really called?), I often feel disappointed with some of the chapters in some of the points of view, this wasn’t the case here. Each of the characters has enough of interest to keep you reading without hoping the chapter to be over soon, and that is something not many writers I have read have achieved yet.

Of course, the question at the heart of the book is, ‘Why did grandmother Mildred disinherit their children all those years ago, and why did she want to have contact with the grandchildren she never even met now?’ The questions, the mysteries, the twists – the tension was unbearable at times and I found myself reading faster and faster to get to the bottom of the mystery. The answer then comes with a BANG – and every puzzle piece falls into place.

With its summery, beachy setting, the light sprinkle of romance, and the holiday vibes, this YA thriller is the perfect beach read, but even now – in cold and dreary November – it makes for an engaging read. I recommend this to all YA thriller, mystery (especially family mystery!), and of course, to all McManus fans! I, for sure, am one too now!

5 stars from me!

Thank you all so much for reading!


49 thoughts on “#TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Book Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

  1. Excellent review my Write Reads friend. These tours expose me to so many authors and genres that I don’t normally read. This was also my first McManus book. I am hooked.

  2. Amazing review Noly, as always! I really enjoyed this book as well and Aubrey was also my favourite character. I can’t wait for you to read One of Us is Lying, it’s my favourite Karen M. McManus book so far!

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