Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing The Cousins by Karen McManus.
The Cousins is a fascinating tale of secrets, lies and betrayal. McManus intricately weaved a spiderweb of mysteries that will keep you guessing until the very end. It follows three cousins’ journey to their grandmother’s resort on a remote island, twenty four years after she’d disinherited her children, making for a very interesting read.
I think one of the aspects which made this so interesting was definitely the premise. It was really intriguing, and I was more than a little curious about why their parents had been disinherited. It certainly left me with a lot of questions, which made the big reveal at the end all the more satisfying! The fact that the cousins hadn’t properly met before too only added to the intrigue.
Despite this being their first real meeting, the close bond between the teenagers was great. Each of their personalities was really different and unique, which made for a great dynamic between them – Milly was quick-witted and cool, Aubrey was shy and sensible, and Jonah was mysterious and (at least at first) a bit of an idiot. I particularly loved the bond that Milly and Aubrey shared; they just instantly clicked and became fast friends!
The Story family in general was marvelously well written, to be completely honest. There were so many mysteries between them and it was really interesting to read. The book was full of lies and secrets and as a reader it was fascinating to watch it all unfold. Let’s just say if you’re looking for a book that includes family drama and inheritance, this one’s for you!
I also loved the main relationship in the book. I don’t want to give too much away by saying who it was between, but it was really fun to read the progress of their relationship, and the flirting between them was great. It was definitely really well written on McManus’ part, and I found myself rooting for the characters to end up together throughout!
The character development was just another brilliant aspect of The Cousins. Each of the characters changed during the book and it was lovely to see the progress they made towards improving themselves. As well as the teenagers themselves (who were definitely very flawed, at least to begin with), some of the adults also developed, which was refreshing to see and proved that it’s never too late to change – if you’re willing to, of course.
The POVs from Allison (Milly’s mother) the year before the siblings got disinherited were also fascinating. They broke up the main story nicely and provided some insight into how the Story siblings functioned before being disinherited, as well as demonstrating just how many secrets there were between the family. I was definitely searching for clues over why they’d been disinherited in each of these chapters!
The sheer amount of plot twists was also shocking. McManus included plenty of smaller twists in addition to the main mystery, which was refreshing to read. The Cousins is definitely a real page turner, and I found myself tearing through the pages, waiting to see what would happen next – and what secrets would be revealed in the next chapters.
McManus also briefly touched on body image in this book, which I really appreciated. It’s really important to include important issues like these, and I was glad to see McManus’ inclusion of this. I felt really bad for Aubrey and what her problem stemmed from – let’s just say some of the characters in this book were jerks.
I also loved the epilogue… I’ve always loved reading epilogues, and this one in particular was fascinating. I loved seeing where the characters were five months on, and I also loved the way McManus included little details to address some questions the ending had left.
The only aspect of this book that I didn’t absolutely love was probably how slow paced the first two thirds or so were. Despite the twists and turns, it was very slow moving in parts, although this was good for seeing more of the characters themselves. Even so, I definitely would’ve liked to see a bit more action.
Overall, I would recommend The Cousins for anyone looking for an intriguing family mystery full of twists and turns. It’s also perfect for someone who’s looking for a quick exciting read. I have to say, McManus is a huge name in YA mysteries, and there’s a reason for that… I’ll definitely be picking up You’ll Be The Death Of Me at the end of this year!
I hope you enjoyed this review!