Hello readers! Welcome to my stop on the Ultimate Blog Tour for The Cousins by Karen McManus! Thank you to Dave @The_WriteReads for including me in this tour and also to the author for the opportunity to read this book! It’s one I’ve been looking forward to reading all year!
Title: The Cousins
Author: Karen M. McManus
Genre: YA, Mystery
Published: December 1st, 2020 (Delacorte Press)
Synopsis: 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.
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House, and NetGalley for providing this eARC as part of a blog tour with The Write Reads in exchange for an honest review.
Twenty-four years ago, the Story siblings Adam, Anders, Allison and Archer were disinherited by their rich mother with only the explanation of a letter stating “You know what you did”. When cousins Milly, Aubrey and Jonah each receive a letter from the grandmother they’ve never met, inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, their parents insist they go. The cousins don’t really know each other all that well, but they’re curious not only about what could have made their grandmother reach out now, but also about what exactly happened all those years ago. But when the trio arrive at Gull Cove Island, it’s clear something much larger is afoot, as their grandmother seems to have no idea they were arriving at all. It quickly becomes clear that something isn’t quite right on the island, as long kept family secrets begin to unravel. Each member of the Story family seems to have something to hide, and the cousins are no exception.
The Cousins was easily my favourite of Karen McManus’ books so far. My expectations were quite high after her previous books, but surprisingly, I found that the new setting worked much better for me. I’m starting to find the high school stuff a little boring nowadays to be honest, so this change of pace was just right. Although this was more of a family drama than a high tension thriller, I still enjoyed it a lot. While this story initially appeared to be rather lacking in real mystery, the underlying question was intriguing enough to keep me reading. It maintained a steady pacing throughout with the real action beginning only past the 70% mark. There were a couple of plot reveals that were too early for my taste since it gave a rather large clue, but as it turned out, there was an even bigger and more shocking reveal in store which kind of made up for it.
The story is narrated from four perspectives: Milly, Jonah, Aubrey, and a flashback of the summer that led up to the Story siblings being disinherited as seen by Allison, Milly’s mom. It is through Allison’s POV that we begin to understand that she knows more than she is letting on about the events of that summer and possibly even suspects what might have caused her mother to take this extreme step. The author does a great job with all four POVs, giving us a steady narrative that puts together the puzzle piece by piece. While the focus is definitely on the the trio, we also pick up several hints about their home lives that show the effect being disinherited has had on their parents, and how that in turn has affected their own relationship with their children.
However, this book contained slightly more drama than I’m used to in a mystery novel, and it tended to overshadow the three main characters a lot. They’re pretty good characters actually, and their arcs are quite interesting. Jonah’s POV was actually my favourite of the lot. Though he had his own worries going on, he was the only one sort of removed from the Story family drama and the facts were clearest seen from his perspective. Milly and Aubrey on the other hand took a while to grow on me. Milly struck me as arrogant and spoilt from the very beginning – though that does slowly improve. Aubrey on the other hand, was nearly unmemorable until much later in the story when she begins to learn to stand up for herself. Finally, while this makes for some really entertaining reading, I found it kind of unrealistic. In a real life scenario, it’s unlikely that those who were raised as heirs and heiresses would ever let something like this go without a fight.
Overall, this was a fantastic read and a book that is nearly impossible to put down. The Cousins is arguably Karen McManus’ best work yet and I can’t wait to see what her next novel will be about. This is a perfect mystery to round off the year with and I would highly recommend it!
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!