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The Cousins

5 stars
23,910 (22%)
4 stars
43,663 (41%)
3 stars
29,814 (28%)
2 stars
6,219 (5%)
1 star
1,311 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,763 reviews
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
947 reviews2,712 followers
April 26, 2022
And the award for the biggest disappointment ft. wtf storyline, out of the blue twists, cardboard characters and forced romance of the year goes to "Three cousins " *cough* "The cousins".

I am not a big fan of author , I have only read One of us is lying which was pretty decent I think , but due to the hype this book received I decided to read it , but ohhh no , this was such a lackluster , I forced myself to complete it!

Plot thing :- The plot was simple , three cousins go to an island and they discover something happened 24 years ago. This was "supposed" to be thrilling , like something which will glue you to your seat , and excuse me it was. But that too only because I wanted to know the end which I couldn't have guessed anyhow because the amount of out the blue twists the author threw at us , were not imaginable but rather stupid and I am sorry but it didn't made the story intersting at all. The story actually didn't picked pace till 200 pages or so , it was so slow which made it fall nowhere between a cozy laid back mystery or a glued to your seat thriller.

Characters :- None of the characters were appealing at all , I wasn't rooting for anyone . I just didn't care whether they live or die. Aubrey ( only okaish and sensible character) , Milly ( buy me a drink and please give her some sense) , Jonah ( haha , which one?). What irritated me the most was that I had to remember the name of there parents and they were so damn confusing like why you have to name them with A.

Twists :- I wasn't shocked with any of the twists because they were so random , unimpactful and ludicrous.

Ending :- I would have given it a solid three stars if that ending would have been different . I mean com'on author could have thought of something more intelligent than that. I felt like I have read this type of ending a thousand times before and it was so rushed like people dying, fire , blah blah all accommodated in one chapter. So for a mystery lover like me , this wasn't something original at all.

Bottom line :- The thought was interesting, story had a lot of potential but Characterization was weak and the real mystery elements were missing.

Plus I have a few questions if someone can answer .

1. What was the sense of Allison Pov?
2. How the fuck is that cover related to book at all?
Profile Image for Karen McManus.
Author 23 books29.3k followers
March 4, 2020
ETA: The cover is live, and it's stunning! You can read part of the first chapter on Paste Magazine:


Since a few people have asked: this book, which will be my fourth published book and will be released in December 2020, is not part of the One of Us Is Lying series. It's a standalone YA mystery, in the same vein as Two Can Keep a Secret, with a brand-new setting and different characters :)
Profile Image for Claudia Lomelí.
Author 8 books76.8k followers
April 6, 2021
Me gustó. Y más que eso, estoy empezando a pensar que me gustan los thrillers, ooooh.
Profile Image for ✨ A ✨ .
432 reviews1,800 followers
October 5, 2021
“Everybody has secrets,” she says, taking a sip of her drink. “That’s nondebatable. The only question is whether you’re keeping your own, or someone else’s.”

Karen McManus’s books are on my automatic buy list and I don’t see myself taking her books off there anytime soon.

As I knew it would be, the writing was addictive and effortless. And from page one I could not look away.

Although, I will admit, the mystery aspect of this book was missing some key ingredients. I was not filled with a burning curiosity that is usually present when I’m reading mystery/thrillers. However I cannot say I didn’t still enjoy the heck out of this book!

The island resort setting was a nice change from McManus’s usual murder in a small town and i enjoyed this new setting thoroughly.

What the author excels at most is creating protagonists you can’t help but love and end up rooting for. I loved Milly, Aubrey and Jonah so dearly I wanted all good things for them.

The setting, characters and the Story family secret lurking in the background was enough to hook me and still have me ending this book with a satisfied feeling. I think the end had a great twist and it concluded nicely for the Story family.

I will always recommend Karen M. Mcmanus’s books to anyone who is looking for a combination of YA contemporary mixed with murder mystery.

《 thank you to penguin random house for the review copy 》
Am I underwhelmed by the title?

But I'd still read anything by McManus, so there you go
My reviews for:
One of us is lying
One of us is next
Two can keep a secret
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,615 reviews10.7k followers
August 14, 2023
**3.5-stars rounded up**

The wealthy Story family, although extremely private, are practically royalty on Gull Cove Island.

They own the largest resort on the island; a remote vacation destination off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.


Twenty-five years ago, the matriarch, Mildred, suddenly disowned her four children, essentially banishing them. The cause behind this act remains a mystery to this day.

These children are now adults and three of them have children of their own; Aubrey, Jonah and Milly. The cousins hardly know one another, having only met a handful of times.

Seemingly out of the blue, all three Story grandchildren receive invitations from the Grandmother they have never met, to travel to the island for the summer and work at the Gull Cove Resort.

All three teens think that this sounds like a terrible way to spend the summer, but they aren't really given an option.

Their parents see this as a chance to get back on Grandma's good side and possibly back into an inheritance. Money, as we all know, can be a strong motivator.

The cousins meet aboard the ferry to the island and begrudgingly begin to get to know one another.

Before they know it, two hours has gone by, the ferry is docking and their summer of scandal has officially begun!

As to be expected with a McManus novel, this was full of twists and turns the entire way through.

The over-the-top drama was compelling and I was so into finding out all of the Story family's deepest secrets. There was a lot to unpack.

Milly, Aubrey and Jonah were each unique, with their own insecurities and hang-ups. I liked how their relationships evolved over the course of the story, as they began to work together to get to the bottom of why their parents got disowned.

In addition to the current timeline, there's also a past perspective following Milly's Mom, Allison, in the summer leading up to their disinheritance. Eventually, it all pieces together into a more than startling conclusion.

This is a super quick read and I had a lot of fun with it. What's not to love about a remote seaside setting, a possible inheritance, decades old family secrets and rich people drama?

Incidentally, I live on a remote island off of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, so can attest to the setting being well done. I loved that McManus even used the actual name of the ferry company that services our island.

Details like that made me feel connected right away.

I am so glad that I finally got around to picking this one up and now can anxiously anticipate her next release, You'll Be the Death of Me!
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,307 reviews44k followers
September 22, 2021
Twist and shout, come on come on come on baby, work it on out! I keep singing this song after reading this ultra twisty, surprising book with full of deliciously juicy mind games!

My head is dizzy! This book is crazy roller coaster! First it builds up the tension and gives you the clues, then it makes a sudden u turn by giving you stomach knots and a few chapters later it throws another bomb into your lap! At the end you’re getting attacked by a few sucker punches that you didn’t see it coming!

Finally it ends with another explosive twist! You clap! You congratulate to the author for her evil genius mind ( I can literally sense her evil laughs making fun of my dumbness even though I guessed some of the revelations before hitting the ending chapter!)

This book is so much different from One of Us is lying installment. Dark family secrets, lies and more adult Ponzi schemes were included into this equation! But I loved this work of hers more than my favorite installments she has written. I love juicy, dysfunctional family relations ( Instead of watching cartoons when I was little I preferred to watch Dallas and JR Ewing’s villain laugh always brightened my life! )

Dynamics between Story family’s A lettered siblings ( Adam, Anders, Allison, Archer: if their mother could give more 4 births maybe she would start to name them with B letter! ) reminded me of a little Succession series ( they don’t have a father who advises them f*ck themselves but entire clan are a little vicious to get the inheritance money)

The teenager cousins who are sent to the resort which the grandmother they never met owns, barely know each other. Let me introduce them: Milly: cool, cunning, sharp witted, posh one,Allison’s daughter. Aubrey ( here we go, we have another A lettered character) insecure, sweet, peace maker, successful swimmer.: Adam’s daughter who hates her father’s guts but we don’t know the reason at the beginning.

And Jonah: good looking, a little douche, mysterious, smart, perfect pool player: Anders’ son who truly hates his father and we don’t know the reason why!!
The story is told by their POVs and flashbacks from 1986 to learn the siblings’ story by getting snippets of Allison’s POV !
I loved the intriguing pace, riveting story telling and well developed characterization: I loved all of the cousins: Both of them are flawed, lost, dealing more burdens they can handle but they didn’t irritate me much like their parents!

I was so close to give five stars but the final revelation made me question the entire premise because there are still plot holes and the big twist at the end was too hard to be kept hidden for nearly 3 decades ( as you consider the characters live in a small island with noisy, gossiping inhabitants so this kind of mystery cannot be kept too long! )

But instead of that it was entertaining, promising, mind spinning, quite fun reading!
I love the author’s work and when my arc request has been rooted at the pending purgatory of NG , I’m so happy to buy my own copy! It’s worth every penny you spend!

I’m giving my four mysterious, spooky, weird, dysfunctional, imposter stars!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
December 9, 2020
i just want to say that this book, for what it is, is decent. i personally dont read a lot of YA mystery/thrillers because they feel very watered down compared to adult mystery/thrillers, which kinda defeats the purpose for me, and this book is no exception.

the pacing is slow, but good if you prefer a more relaxed kind of mystery. the character development is missing, but they are a little entertaining regardless. there is no tension found anywhere throughout this and it reads more like a contemporary YA story. but i think my biggest issue was the ‘twists’ and ‘reveals’ being too farfetched.

again, these arent necessarily bad things, they just arent that great either. KM is a fun author and i will still read her books, but this one just fell a little under the mark for me personally.

i think fans of ‘we were liars’ will really enjoy this as it has a very similar vibe.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Elle.
587 reviews1,399 followers
December 1, 2021
Now a Goodreads Choice finalist in Young Adult Fiction!

Karen McManus is always my cure for a reading slump. There’s something about her YA thrillers that immediately pull me in and keep me compulsively turning pages until the end. Though a little different in tone from her previous hits like One of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret, The Cousins is no exception to that rule.

Milly, Aubrey and Jonah Story have never met their grandmother, Mildred Story, before. She mysteriously cut off contact from their parents twenty-four years ago, and hasn’t seen any of her children or grandchildren since. So it’s strange that all these years later she’s reached out and invited the three of them to visit her estate on Gull Cove Island now that they’re all nearly grown. Even stranger, they all accept and spend their summer living and working at one of her hotels, each seeking out something different from their elusive grandmother.

As always, McManus uses a roving perspective, moving between the distinct voices of Milly, Aubrey and Jonah with ease. As the cousins get to know each other, they also begin to learn more about the history of the island they’re now living on, and by extension their grandmother. Gull Cove Island is a little-known east coast getaway that features local residents and wealthy vacationers alike. There’s layers of mystery and decades-old unanswered questions for the Story cousins to unravel, especially when they find their own parents at the center of it.

I liked this book, but it felt a good deal slower than McManus’s previous works, especially in the beginning. I’m used to her books hitting the ground running and with The Cousins you have to wait for the story to come to a boil. The ending also felt a little rushed, probably because of the slower pacing in the first part. That said, I’m glad that the author is trying out something different from her last three books, and I hope she feels like she can branch out even more in the future.

Karen McManus also has an upcoming book in 2021, You'll Be the Death of Me, which is sold as Ferris Bueller’s Day off meets a YA Murder mystery. It sounds amazing and EXACTLY up McManus’s alley, so I’m extremely excited to read that one!

*Thanks to Delacorte Press, Random House Children’s & NetGalley for an advance copy!

**For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!
Profile Image for Josu Diamond.
Author 8 books33.2k followers
September 8, 2021
Una mezcla de sensaciones, pero adictivo.

Nos encontramos antes un thriller juvenil de una de las autoras superventas actuales. McManus tiene un don para crear personajes redondos, y sin duda es lo mejor de esta novela, que en inglés tiene un título diferente (The Cousins) y que a España llega como Lazos de sangre, en mi opinión, acertado pero peca de demasiado misterioso para una novela que quizá no cumple las expectativas en este aspecto. Aunque no deja de ser un libro de misterio.


A ver, empezando por lo que comento de los personajes... De verdad, sin duda lo mejor de la novela. Me han encantado los tres, cada uno a su manera. Milly, Aubrey y Jonah son un trío impecable para resolver un crimen, con personalidades muy diferentes pero que cuadran perfectamente para un libro que se desarrolla en un entorno paradisíaco y misterioso a partes iguales. ¿Qué puede salir mal cuando juntas a tres primos que no se conocen y todos tienen secretos que no pueden confesar?

La verdad es que en Lazos de sangre desde el primer momento parece que vamos a ser testigos de algo macabro, de un misterio que lleva décadas desenvolviéndose frente a los ojos de los lugareños de la isla Gull Cove y honestamente, creo que no termina de ser tan increíble como parece en un principio. Sí, está bien. Sí, tiene giros que me dejaron completamente descuadrado. Y sin embargo, y lamentándolo mucho, me esperaba algo más.

Pero, pero... ¿entonces por qué cuatro estrellas? Pues mira, porque creo que la autora sabe manejar perfectamente los tiempos, las escenas, los diálogos y la narración, las participaciones de los personajes de manera dinámica, el misterio... Es muy buena, de estas que te cuentan un acto simple como comer con un arte que te mantiene en vilo. No sé, especialmente respecto a los personajes, cuya profundidad está trabajada desde el principio y vamos descubriendo poco a poco más y más sobre ellos.


Respecto al misterio, como comento, y aunque está bien llevado en cuanto a dosificar la información, la autora construye algo que parece que va hacia un lado y termina yendo a otro, y eso a veces es buena señal, aunque para mí en esta ocasión no me ha terminado de convencer al cien por cien. Me ha sorprendido (no tanto como esperaba) y lo he disfrutado bastante. Además, ese momento final con la nota me ha gustado mucho. No sé, creo que era un final que encajaba en las características de la trama, así que tampoco puedo decir que sea vago, porque no lo es para nada. Está bien construido.

Lazos de sangre demuestra cómo una novela puede ganar puntos por una construcción de personajes impecable y por saber mantener el interés con cada escena. Es el segundo libro que leo de la autora y salgo encantado. Próximamente leeré más, porque es de lo mejorcito.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,115 followers
June 6, 2021
This family was a mess! And that ending was insane. But I had a great time reading this!

So, Milly, Jonah and Aubrey are cousins. But they’ve only met once or twice when they were younger.
When they all receive a letter from their secretive and extremely wealthy grandmother they find it very odd.

Their grandmother has never met them. She cut off all contact with their parents years ago with a letter saying “you know what you did”.

So when all 3 are invited to spend the summer working at their grandmother’s illustrious holiday resort their parents see it as an opportunity to find out what really happened back then.

Full of secrets and drama. I found it gripping. Yeah sure some of it is a bit far fetched but ultimately, I was entertained and that’s all I really needed. 😊


All my library holds are coming in and I am both excited and overwhelmed!
Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews984 followers
August 18, 2022
Another Karen McManus young adult mystery jam :). Over two decades ago multi-millionaire and the most powerful person on the elite getaway island Gull Cove, Mildred Story, completely severed ties with her four young adult children. Now their children, the 'cousins', have been invited to Gull Cove for reasons undetermined, but the dispossessed smell maybe the return of their one-time lost inheritances. Now, back in touch with the family matriarch, the cousins find themselves drawn into conspiracies of secrets and lies, both in the present and in the past! This being a McManus jam, there is also a major romantic subplot.

McManus yet again puts all the pieces in place to create a contemporary reality of mostly good looking, young, rich and white people, that have enough flaws and idiosyncrasies to be engaging and draw empathy. The main mystery is as well crafted and nicely managed, as is the norm by McManus, however it is also a bit more traditional and mainstream than her other books. Lastly, there is pretty much zero character development of any of the possible protagonists, which I would have preferred. Still a fab young adult read that is more fun, than it is social commentary, and works well because of it. 7 out of 12

2021 read
Profile Image for 〰️.
205 reviews17 followers
Want to read
March 5, 2020
the way this could've been titled "three's a crowd" and it would've made sense and kept up with the ~one.. (of us is lying)~ and ~two.. (can keep a secret)~ trend going on is such a missed opportunity but i'll take it
Profile Image for Alissa.
228 reviews48 followers
March 23, 2023
If this book's title doesn't start with the word "three" then what's even the point?

EDIT 21/10/19: Okay so.... disappointment much?? I mean it even says in the description it's about THREE cousins so why you gotta be so lame with the title and ruin the tradition of McManus book titles??? C'mon...
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
547 reviews34.7k followers
February 28, 2022
I’m on BookTube now! =)

”Everybody has secrets,” she says, taking a sip of her drink. “That’s nondebatable. The only question is whether you’re keeping your own, or someone else’s.”

Okay, I admit it: This was a fun read and it had me engaged until the final page. BUT - and every one of you who ever read one of my reviews that had this huge “BUT” in it, knows there will come some criticism now – it was not as good as all her other books and it kind of felt like McManus went with her typical formula here. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked and enjoyed every book I read from this author and they were all nice to read. I mean I wouldn’t have read all of her other books if that wouldn’t be the case, despite all that it’s undeniable that there are a couple of similarities that just rubbed me the wrong way in this one?!

For instance we have three cousins whose characters are all very similar to those in “One of Us is Lying”. We have Milly who’s basically Bronwyn, we have Jonah who’s like Nate and we have Aubrey who’s the equivalent of Addy. Their characters reminded me a lot of those three and at times it felt like only the names were changed and they were put into a different environment. Which isn’t exactly bad but it isn’t something new either and it made it very easy for me to see where the plot would head. So in the end I saw some of the twists coming from miles away because I only had to remember “One of Us is Lying” and already knew what would happen next. It’s hard to describe this but I hope you get what I mean?!

”Did it ever occur to you to get in touch with your grandmother yourself, or speak with her assistant?” I don’t reply, and his voice turns even more condescending. “I didn’t think so. Because you don’t act, you react. That’s what I mean by proactive.”

As for the family mystery and their grandmother’s behaviour: Well, that one was interesting to discover and even though the solution that was presented at the ending was kind of far-fetched I still enjoyed the idea behind it. What I probably liked the most about “The Cousins” was the romance and the background story of the four siblings that got disinherited by their own mother. I really disliked Anders and Adam and they were two truly horrible men. Allison was okay I suppose even though I could definitely teach her a couple of things about good parenting. *lol* The most likeable and the nicest one out of the four siblings was definitely Archer though! I really liked him and the way he interacted with his nieces and nephew. It was really interesting how McManus made him the most decent person out of the four siblings and this even though he clearly wasn’t the most reliable one. In my opinion he was very responsible, compassionate and kind though. All traits his brothers clearly didn’t share with him.

”Family first, always”

All told, I enjoyed “The Cousins” and read through the book pretty fast which is always a good sign. Still, for me the characters felt way too similar to some of McManus’s other books and because of that the plot and the twists were predictable. So this time around this means 3 stars from me. Fingers crossed McManus’s next book will be able to surprise me again. =)


This was a fun read and had me engaged until the last page.
Probably not as good as “One of Us is Lying” or “Two Can Keep A Secret” but it was still nice to read. =) I really liked the Cousins even though their parents were mostly horrible.

Full RTC soon! Stay tuned ;-)

I think aside from the McManus book that just came out last November (“You’ll Be the Death of Me”) this is the only McManus book I haven’t read yet. XD I really love her books because they are always something nice to read in between.
The mystery element is great and since I said that I’d read “The Cousins” when I did My January TBR video I decided I’d go for it now. I mean it’s already the middle of January again. So what am I waiting for? *lol*

Did you read some of Karen M. McManus’s books too and if yes, which one was your favourite so far? =)
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
721 reviews255 followers
June 7, 2021
The Cousins had quite an interesting tagline, which originally enticed me to read it:

“The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything. If they can survive the season.”

Sounds interesting, right? I applaud the advertising team for making me think so, because this was quite literally the most anticlimactic mystery novel I have ever read. The characters were bland, the twists entirely random, and the plot meandered until the 90% mark.

~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

The only thing the Story cousins know about their grandmother Mildred is that decades ago, she disinherited their parents from her fortune with nothing but a mysterious letter saying ‘you know what you did.’ Mildred hasn’t spoken to their parents since that day, so it comes as a great shock when she invites the cousins—whom she has never spoken to or met—to her island resort for the summer. The Story’s are quick to agree, believing that this is their chance to finally uncover their family’s dark secrets.


The Cousins started off decent, and proceeded to decline rapidly. I was really interested in the concept of estranged grandchildren being invited to their mysterious grandmother’s island, with possible murders to come. Except nothing of considerable note happens until beyond the halfway mark. By then, I was dozing off while reading due to the failings of the first half.

My lack of interest festered early, when I started having to pause and check whose POV I was reading from. Milly, Aubrey and Jonah were essentially cardboard cutouts of your typical YA characters, with enough teenage melodrama to give me a headache. The romance felt beyond unnecessary—my suspicions were confirmed when it turned out to be nothing more than a plot device. The final twist had almost no shock factor on my end; it got to the point where I skimmed the last few pages to finally be rid of this book.

Karen McManus definitely had something with One of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep A Secret, since then, though, I’ve started disliking her books more and more. One of Us Is Next was a completely unnecessary sequel, and The Cousins is easily the least enjoyable of her published novels yet. In the future, I’d enjoy seeing McManus dabble in a genre besides mystery; after the steady decline, a change might be good!
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.5k followers
December 31, 2020
Looking for a healthy helping of twisty family drama? If your answer is "Yes, please," you'll want to pick up Karen McManus' newest YA mystery, The Cousins .

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah have never met their grandmother, the immensely wealthy Mildred Story. Ever since she disowned all four of her children more than 20 years ago, she’s rebuffed any effort their parents have made through the years to reconcile or meet her grandchildren. Even their parents—all siblings—barely speak to each other.

But one day each of the grandchildren gets a letter from Mildred inviting them to spend the summer working at the island resort she owns in New England. While each is mildly intrigued, no one particularly wants to spend their summer working for a woman they don’t know, one who has never cared about them.

Their parents, however, seize the opportunity, thinking this could be the first step to their mother welcoming them all back into the family, so the cousins have no choice. And considering that they haven’t seen each other in years either, at least misery will love company!

What the cousins don’t count on is how their grandmother will interact with them, how others are trying to manipulate the situation, and just how many dark secrets the Story family wants to keep hidden.

Why did their grandmother disinherit her children? Why did she send for her grandchildren after so long? The Cousins is full of family drama, twists, and secrets, and you don’t know if there's anyone you should trust.

I love the way Karen McManus writes. (I particularly loved One of Us is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret .) She hooks you right away and keeps you guessing, and while I don’t know that I loved the way everything wrapped up in this book, I still couldn’t get enough. I’m curious to see if she writes a follow-up to this one, because she set it up perfectly!

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at

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Profile Image for mimi (taylor’s version).
339 reviews277 followers
April 26, 2023
The Cousins is definitely a step above all other KMM books I've read till now.
With the same patterns as usual - a mystery that needs to be solved, a couple of twists in the events, a moment of action in the finale chapter, a “situationship” between two characters -, KMM was capable of creating something different from her usual scenario but that still feels like hers.

There's something that screams “different” since the first chapter, and that something is the atmosphere.
In her other stories, you can feel that something is already written, quite predictable and not so exciting even if you still wouldn't know who has done what in the end. But in this one - a mix between a We Were Liars vibe and a Truly Devious mystery - the truth is hidden until the very last chapter, the bad guys finally get what they deserve and there's an actually happily ever after - kind of, but for me it's always a bonus.
I was eager to find the truth and excited about what would happen next at the same time.

4 stars
Profile Image for Alexa.
Author 5 books3,265 followers
July 20, 2020
This is my new favorite of Karen McManus's YA thrillers! It hit many sweet spots for me: beach town, family secrets, rich assholes, and a few more that are spoilers. It's kind of unfortunate for everyone else this won't be out until winter, because it's a perfect summer jam!

Karen's books are always adept at multi-POV, but I really gelled with the characters in this one. I think b/c this one focuses on family trauma and the "sins of the father" being carried out on the children, there was a lot to latch onto (since I enjoy that stuff). The cousins are Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah, whose parents were disowned by their mega-rich mom 24 years ago and no one knows why. After two decades of radio silence, Grandma Milicent reaches out finally to her grandchildren and invites them to work at her resort for the summer so she can get to know them.

Milly (short for Millicent) is named for her estranged grandmother and is the daughter of the only Story daughter, Allison. We get third person close chapters from an 18-year-old Allison back in 1996 throughout the book as we try to piece together why they were disowned. Milly is a New York socialite with a ton of sass, who doesn't end up getting exactly what she wants from her reunion with her grandmother...

Aubrey is a state swimming champion whose dad is a self-centered, one-hit-wonder novelist--the eldest Story, the family's former golden boy. Aubrey, her dad, and Aubrey's growth are, IMO, the heart of the book. She starts off the least interesting cousin (sorry Aubrey!) and grows into the book's strongest character as she comes to terms with who her dad is, and what that makes her.

Jonah is the son of Anders, the charismatic and cold-hearted second son--his most recent newsmaking turn is running a financial scheme that bankrupted people. Jonah's a bit much, really, but even though he has a major chip on his shoulder, that doesn't stop him from liking his cousins rather a lot, really... but will those warm, fuzzy feelings stop him from doing what he came to the island to do?

Aubrey is probably the most layered character who experiences the most growth; I definitely cheered for her at certain points. It's really her book, IMO. Milly starts out VERY strong (I longed for more of her chapters at the beginning) but that said I do wish she'd been equally as strong at the end? (meaning, wish she were more involved in the book's climax) Maybe because we also get POV chapters from her mom in the past, I found Milly the trickiest to parse as the book went on-her mom then and Milly now didn't always connect. But when Milly came out swinging I LOVED her. Jonah was his own brand of fun, though he largely exists to augment the girls', which I was a-ok with. Regardless: once I got to know all three cousins, I was equally happy to be in any of their given POVs, and I cared about what happened to them.

The tension was delicious at times and I was turning pages trying to piece together why on earth the Story kids were disowned--what did they do!--and that alongside the summer vibes and characters made this just a thoroughly fun read. It has some really juicy twists and of course a swoony summer romance. Highly recommend for YA thriller fans generally, but particularly those who like beach towns, summer vibes, family secrets, etc.
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews658 followers
August 9, 2021
“Everybody has secrets,” she says, taking a sip of her drink. “That's nondebatable. The only question is whether you're keeping your own, or someone else's.”
The Goodreads plot summary of the The Cousins tells you everything you need to know going into this novel. Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story, the titular cousins, are each keeping secrets. Their parents have been keeping secrets for decades. And their grandmother Mildred—who disinherited her own children with a simple letter cryptically stating “you know what you did”—may have the most secrets of all.

The Cousins is told in chapters that rotate narrators between Milly, Aubrey, Jonah, and a series of chapters from when Milly’s mother Allison was 18. I found this storytelling method was fairly effective. In both of the books by Ms. McManus that I had previously read, the characters felt more like stereotypes. I thought Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah were all well developed in this book.

The plot is well-paced, with twists coming at regular intervals. There are red herrings sprinkled here and there, and a number of suspicious-but-ultimately-innocent characters, but the story was unpredictable enough that I did not guess the answer to the mystery before the reveal. There’s also humor here, as all three present-day narrators are snarky and sarcastic, and the Summer Gala scene with Milly and Jonah was cringey, laugh-out-loud funny. All in all, I think The Cousins might be my favorite of Ms. McManus’s books so far.
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
635 reviews572 followers
January 11, 2023
Actual rating: 3,5

This was like canadian tv movie, or Murder She Wrote, just in a book format.

Full review to come.

By my GR friend's advice, I convinced myself I was reading a family saga, and the book is pretty enjoyable that way.
Actually, I like it a lot so far!!
Profile Image for Jessica.
326 reviews392 followers
December 8, 2020
The Cousins is a great YA thriller like I expect from Karen M. McManus.

I was invested in The Cousins from the first page. I was so curious to find out why Milly Story disowned her children. Milly, Aubrey and Jonah haven’t seen or talked to each other in years. Together they try to figure out what happened eighteen years ago. Milly and Aubrey quickly become close. I enjoyed reading about their new friendship. All of the family drama was interesting and I couldn’t wait to find out all the secrets. Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah all have difficult relationships with their parents. The grandmother was very standoffish and avoided her grandchildren which made me even more intrigued.

Thank you NetGalley, Penguin Random House Children’s UK, and the Write Reads for The Cousins.

Full review:
Profile Image for Brandice.
912 reviews
December 31, 2020
The Cousins is a dark, dramatic family mystery that comes to light when the Story siblings’ children, Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah, are invited to work at their grandmother’s resort, despite their parents being cutoff from her for many years.

Their parents are clear — The cousins are going. The invite isn’t optional, and perhaps presents an opportunity to get back on their mother’s good side.

When they arrive, cousins Milly, Aubrey and Jonah quickly realize things are off at the resort, and on the island — Who is their grandmother and why did she drive their parents away?

The Cousins was pretty interesting though elements of the conclusion felt a little far-fetched. While this one held my interest and I found each of the cousins to be likable, I didn’t like this book as much as One of Us Is Lying. That said, it’s clear McManus knows how to keep an audience intrigued.
Profile Image for Becca & The Books.
323 reviews6,819 followers
November 26, 2021
As someone who isn't a big fan of mysteries, I was unsure what to expect from this one.

The Cousins follows 3 teenagers, who's parents were cut off by their mother over 20 years ago after receiving a letter that just says "you know what you've done" although apparently, none of them actually do know what they've done. Cut to present day, and the cousins are all invited to stay at their estranged grandmothers island resort over the summer as she's apparently had a change of heart and would like to get to know them. Upon arrival, the cousins try to uncover what exactly their parents did to get them cut off and why their grandmother wants to meet them after all this time.

As far as mysteries go, this was an enjoyable one. I enjoyed the characters although I had problems differentiating between the two female characters as we flick through the perspectives of the cousins and also read from Millie's mother Allison in the year before herself and her siblings were disinherited.

I felt like the story delivered a decent amount of twists, some of which took me by surprise. I thought I had it all figured out at one point only for one final plot twist to steal the show at the last minute. While I think the execution of the final twist was spot on, I did feel like the minor reveals earlier in the story were overly explained, lessening their impact.

Overall an enjoyable mystery that kept me turning pages but not one I'll remember.
Profile Image for Virginie Roy.
Author 2 books624 followers
August 8, 2021
I had a lot of fun reading this book! It was easy to read and it achieved to surprise me. As always, I never really care for teenager's romance, but it didn't take too much place.

I wish some characters' personality would have been more deepened. Some of them were really interesting.

In the end, I recommend it! McManus is definitely a nice YA author.

Update: I just realized something BIG in the final twist is totally unbelievable. I don't know why I didn't think about it sooner, I must be tired! But this doesn't affect my rating, which represents my overall appreciation.
Profile Image for Sara.
369 reviews332 followers
February 21, 2021
I have genuinely no idea how i managed to get an ARC of this but i'm so thrilled i did, thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House!

I read this book in one day and just couldn't put it down. This is more of a family drama than it is a thriller like her previous works, and follows three cousins who are summoned to their family island resort to spend the summer with their grandmother. The only catch being that their grandmother, who owns and runs the resort, disinherited all of her children decades previously and hasn't had any contact with the cousins until now.

This is my favourite of McManus' novels so far, the plot twists were incredibly well done and i found the overall plot and pacing to be great.
The small beach town setting is one that I always love so i would recommend to all that love a good YA mystery.
Profile Image for Grace (kanej & evajacks' version) .
283 reviews207 followers
April 23, 2023
It's been a while since I've picked up a Karen M. McManus book, but i wanted to give this one a try- and I ended up really enjoying it!! 🤩🤩 Was it the perfect mystery? No. But i didn't care bc it was so entertaining! 💜

“Everybody has secrets,' she says, taking a sip of her drink. 'That's nondebatable. The only question is whether you're keeping your own, or someone else's.”

The Cousins follows 3 cousins- Milly, Aubrey and Jonah Story. The Story family is rich and famous on the private island they own and when their parents were 18, they were set to inherit millions. But then, in a shocking turn of events, their mother disinherited them and refuses to ever see them again. The siblings have all been given up- but then Milly, Aubrey and Jonah are invited to the island. Forced to go by their parents, they end up at the island to meet their grandmother for the first time- but things aren't as they seem and the cousins will discover their family's history is even darker than they imagined...

“You gotta shoot your shot when it comes...Who knows if you'll get another chance?”

I've read quite a few of Karen M. McManus' books and I've enjoyed them all- and luckily enough, i really enjoyed this one too!! 🙌 It was such a fun time 🥰🥰

Starting with the characters!! One thing I always appreciate about KMM's books is that the character are always very well-developed- and it was no different with this book! We have POVs from all 3 cousins- Milly, Jonah and Aubrey- and i think this worked very well as I got to know them all quite well. All the characters had their flaws and layers and so they were super interesting to read about. My favorite character was definitely Aubrey, as she went through sm growth and confronted the people who had wronged her. I loved that for her 🤩🤩

Both the plot and writing were well done!! ✨ KMM's writing is super easy to read and entertaining, so it was easy to fly through this book. I just kept wanting more. The plot was always interesting and there were loads of little twists leading up to the climax, which helped keep me interested. There was SO MUCH drama and I was eating it up 👀🤭 The climax had lots of action and I definitely didn't guess the main plot twist. It was a TINY bit unrealistic, but overall i was satisfied. Also, the ending was super shocking. It really ended with a bang 😳😳

There was also a tiny little romantic subplot, which definitely wasn't necessary, but it was pretty cute. I liked the development of it and it really wasn't too bad 🤷‍♀️

“I thought you’d look how you talk.” I’m not going to rise to the bait and ask her what she means, but she keeps going without prompting. “Like a constipated gnome.”

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this!! 🤩🤩 I would recommend if you want:

✔ Fun YA mystery
✔ Well-developed characters
✔ Addictive writing
✔ Great plot

Another great KMM book 💜✨

~ 4 stars


This was literally soooo entertaining!! 🤩🤩 The drama was 🤌🤌 and I was a big fan of the mystery. I enjoyed this sm more than I thought I would!! 💜💜

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