Thursday 31 December 2020

Book Review - The Cousins


Title: The Cousins

Author: Karen M. McManus 

Publisher: Penguin 

Release Date: 3 Dec. 2020 

ISBN-13 : 978-0241376942


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.

My Review

I absolutely love Karen McManus, i devoured all of her books during lockdown in May and was desperate for her to release something else. I was then browsing online one day and this popped up, so I decided to treat myself and order it (i needed to make up costs to cover postage anyway, but really who needs an excuse!)

This sounded quite different from her other works but I was excited to get stuck in. We have three cousins - Milly, Aubrey and Jonah, they haven't ever met their grandmother and haven't really met each other either. 24 years ago, their parents were sent away from their home with a note saying 'you know what you did'. All four of the Storey's deny knowing what that note means, and have just come to terms with life away from their mother and their legacy. But there is definitely something going on, as the once close siblings are now quite isolated and their children have grown up not really knowing the rest of their family or much information about their parent's past. So it comes as a shock when the 3 cousins receive a letter from their grandmother inviting them to her resort for the summer. Is she trying to finally connect with her grandchildren or is there something more sinister going on? The three reluctantly agree to go, keen to discover what really happened all those years ago.

The story is narrated by alternative perspectives, Milly,  Aubrey and Jonah. Each have agreed to attend for the summer for very different reasons, Milly and Aubrey soon become good friends, but Jonah just seems moody and unwelcoming. Straight away you see some cracks in the group dynamic but you also see that there is potential for more there.

The grandmother at the resort if very mysterious, she disappears almost as soon as the cousins arrive and very few people actually interact with her, of course this sets off alarm bells in the readers head and I must admit, part of the big twist and revelation at the end seemed quite obvious to me from fairly early on. 

This book was a bot slower than McManus' other works and I will admit that I didn't enjoy it as much, but regardless of that, it was still a good read and I finished it in 2 fairly short sittings. The story has enough drama and intrigue to keep you interested and wanting to know more, but I didn't feel like I connected or cared about the characters as much as her other books. In fact, my favourite character was probably Archer and he starts off very much as a side character, though he becomes more involved.

I was interested enough to see how the whole mystery panned out and that was enough to keep me hooked.  

This has in no way put me off McManus' works and I will still read everything that she releases as they are compelling little stories in their own right and I really like her style.

My Rating


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