Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Star rating: 3 ⭐ / 5 ⭐

Synopsis: from StoryGraph

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.

General information: This book was published in December 2020 by Delacorte Press.

My thoughts:

This book was definitely twisty and kept me guessing.

I say all the time that I’m not usually a fan of YA, but I think I’m slowly changing my mind on that. I really enjoyed the main characters of this book and their individual character arcs, especially Aubrey, who was probably my favorite character.

However, I was a little underwhelmed by this book. I enjoyed it, but I predicted some of the big plot twists early on and that kind of dampened my enthusiasm for the rest of the book. While I might have predicted one or two of the twists, though, there were a couple that I never would have guessed.

One of which felt a little… unrealistic. So much so that I really, really never would have guessed it. It mostly just left me wondering logistics of how things worked. If you’ve read this, you’ll probably know which twist I’m talking about.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the romance arc. It felt a little… forced, and I wasn’t particularly rooting for them to stay together. It also felt a little weird, especially with the way it started off. Again, if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. No spoilers here, though.

It also felt like nothing much happened in the book until a chance discovery 75% through, and then everything happened at once. I mostly kept listening to the audiobook instead of DNF’ing because I wanted to know the solution to the big mystery. And then the solution was confusing at first, then left me like “…really? That’s seriously what happened?” which, I’m assuming, is not the reaction the author was aiming for.

However, the last 25% of the book kept me riveted- I sat there and finished it in one sitting, more or less, because I wanted to know what happened.

Also, this is a minor gripe, but I could never get the uncles straight because they all had names that started with “A.” I’m still not totally sure who was who.

Overall, I wasn’t hugely impressed and I don’t plan on reading this again. If you really enjoy books with big splashy plot twists, then I might recommend it, but with the caveat that you could be disappointed. I enjoyed listening to this, but in retrospect I don’t think I would recommend it.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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