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The Cousins by Karen M McManus - Review

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Hello, I am SO thrilled to welcome you to my blog for my stop on the blog tour for The Cousins by Karen M McManus! I am a huge fan of her work and was really looking forward to this book anyway, so when I got the opportunity to join in the blog tour hosted by The Write Reads, I jumped at it! Please check out my reviews of Karen's other books here

Where did I get it? I got an electronic copy from The Write Reads, in exchange for this review and stop on the blog tour. I will probably buy a paper copy at some point just because I like to have a complete set of paper books by authors I love! 

What's it about? It's about the Story family, a rich family who live on an island near Martha's Vineyard in New England. Milly. Jonah, and Aubrey are the grandchildren of family matriarch, Mildred. However, they've never met her. When their parents - the four Story siblings, all of whose names begin with A - were in their late teens and early twenties, Mildred sent each of them a note which disinherited them. Despite their repeated attempts to contact her, they've never managed to. Now their children are nearly grown up, and they get invitations to spend the summer on the island working at the resort Mildred owns. 

The story is told from the points of view of each of Milly, Jonah, and Aubrey. They haven't been very close as children, as each of their parents has forged their own lives. Each has their own reason to want to go to the island for the summer. Aubrey wants to get away from her dad, and is desperate to make amends with the grandmother she's never met. Milly wants to learn more about her mother - the only daughter of the A siblings - who has always been somewhat cold and distant. Jonah.... well, Jonah has his reasons too. 

There are also parts interspersed in the present day narrative which goes back to the 90s, to when all four A siblings were on the island and had just lost their dad, Abraham. Mildred is holding her annual ball, despite still grieving her husband, and youngest two siblings are hanging around with some of the locals. 

The setting of the book is absolutely glorious. I loved the island and could picture Mildred's house exactly. I really liked the set up and I did pick up on some of the secrets and mysteries as the book went on. 

What age range is it for? 14+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yeah, Milly's dad is Japanese (oh gosh now I've said that I'm wondering if he was Thai? I'm sorry) and there's a little bit about her looking like both her parents. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, there's someone who comes into the book later who is an alcoholic, so there's a trigger warning here because some bits were hard to read. 

Is there any sex stuff? No. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? I think there's mention of marijuana, but not much 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, some of it is pretty graphic too. 

Are there swear words? Yep a few, I loved them. 


What criticisms do I have? Very few, I really enjoyed the book and loved how visual it was. I also really liked how we got so many points of view, all of which helped to unknit the mysteries

Would I recommend the book? Yes, absolutely. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? Well because of the tour, obviously, but also because I think Karen is one of the best mystery YA writers out there at the moment, and I can't resist getting to her books straight away. 


What do I think of the cover? I've seen a couple of different ones and personally I like the one on the banner above because it matches the rest of Karen's books!


What other books is it like? It is going to get a lot of comparison to We Were Liars and honestly that's a very fair comparison. This is like We Were Liars back when everything was "okay". Like as if We Were Liars went in a different direction. 

How many stars? Four out of five. Loved it!

The Cousins was published on 2nd December 2020. I was given a free electronic copy of the novel but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

1 comment

  1. Great review, I'm glad you liked this book and I really enjoyed the structure of this post!



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