Book Review: “The Cousins”

The Cousins” by Karen M. McManus

Source: Library

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery


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.

McManus does it again! The Cousins is another wild mystery ride that I didn’t want to walk away from. The story takes a while to develop. The cousins haven’t seen each other for years so there’s a bit of a getting-to-know-you situation going on as well as just trying to figure out what the heck is happening with their grandmother. I’m fine with just watching everything unfold because this lifestyle is so unlike anything I’m used to.

There are a lot of stories going on which works but also doesn’t? The three cousins and Allison (Milly’s mom; as a teenager) get to have their own story and narration. This works because you can see exactly what they are thinking and see their perspective. It doesn’t work because each chapter feels so short! You’re just getting into the groove of a storyline before being shifted somewhere else & it’s several chapters before you’re back to this person. [But in all fairness, that’s always my complaint about books with multiple POVs.]

The twist is exactly what I’d expect from McManus. Is it the most clever twist in literature? No, of course not. But it took me by surprise. I’m sure I could reread the book and pick up on clues that I missed.

If you’re looking for an intriguing YA mystery with dark secrets, The Cousins will absolutely fit the bill.

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