Blog Tour Book Review: THE COUSINS by Karen M. McManus

I received an ARC from the publisher as part of this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Blog tour graphic with title next to image of book
Genre: thriller/mystery
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: Standalone
CW: alcoholism, miscarriage


Book cover for THE COUSINS: title in gold on white with image of a house below and legs above

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


A new Karen M. McManus book! I was so thrilled when this turned up on my doorstop, and quickly devoured it as there is a very addictive quality to her mysteries.

THE COUSINS is quite different from her other books in some ways – for one, it’s not set in a High School and for another the central mystery is different. It’s not an out-and-out murder/copycat, instead it’s a “what happened to get our parents banned?”

The historical nature of the mystery and the fact that there are no lives on the line means there is less central urgency. The pacing is still great and the book is no less engaging, but it’s a less frenetic read than her others. I wanted to know what happened next because of the characters, not because I wanted the looming mystery solved.

This gives the characters a bit more space. I’ve always really admired how well Karen M. McManus manages to balance the relentless pacing of her books alongside character development, but this time she has more time to spend on the characters and the incredibly messy nature of the Story family.

The book also benefits from the allure of the wealthy. The insanely rich grandmother, the large inheritance, and the knowledge that there is something wrong at the heart of it all. While the cousins are well off, they’re nothing like their wealthy grandmother, and it made them much more human than her.

Everywhere says that this is a standalone, but ONE OF US IS LYING was initially a standalone, wasn’t it? So, fingers crossed! The ending has certainly been left open enough for there to be a sequel, and I’d like to spend more time with the Story cousins. But, in the meantime, we have YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME to look forwards to next year!

Read my reviews of other books by Karen M. McManus

One of Us is Lying:



3 thoughts on “Blog Tour Book Review: THE COUSINS by Karen M. McManus

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