Book Reviews, YA book reviews

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus – ARC Review

My Rating ~ Four stars

RELEASE DATE: 3 December 2020

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Format: Paperback

Pages: 304


The Storys are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on their East Coast island, they are rich, beautiful, and close. Until it all falls apart. The four children are suddenly dropped by their mother with a single sentence:

You know what you did.

They never hear from her again.

Years later, when 18-year-old cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive a mysterious invitation to spend the summer at their grandmother’s resort, they have no choice but to follow their curiosity and meet the woman who’s been such an enigma their entire lives.

This entire family is built on secrets, right? It’s the Story legacy.

This summer, the teenagers are determined to discover the truth at the heart of their family. But some secrets are better left alone.



Thankyou to Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a copy of The Cousins, in exchange for an honest review.

The Story children were cut off from their mother many years ago, with a cryptic note that simply said “You know what you did”.  Now the 3 grandchildren have been invited to visit her on the island where she lives, on a working holiday.  Reluctant to go, but pressured into it by their parents, Milly, Aubrey and Jonah head to the island to meet their elusive grandmother.  What they find is one mystery after another and are determined to discover the secrets behind their family name.

The Cousins was a fun, light read.  Karen M McManus books are a little bit hit and miss for me.  I really enjoyed One of Us is Lying, but was underwhelmed by Two Can Keep a Secret, so I went into this without too many expectations.  I was entertained, but I found the story to be a little all over the place.  I was often confused by the names of the parents – they all began with an A and I mixed them up so often that it became distracting.  Some of the mystery reveals were just….odd and not very believable, but I think these books need to be read with a certain vibe in mind.  They remind me of 90’s teenage cult movies, such as I Know What You Did Last Summer.  The characters in this one didn’t pull me in as much as the characters did in One of Us is Lying.  Although they all had background stories, I didn’t feel as though they were quite as well developed.

I think in all, The Cousins is one of those books that is an enjoyable, compulsive read that fills the need for a fun thriller book for the holidays.  It might not be especially memorable, but I did need to know how it ended!


Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl

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