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.
Hi and welcome to my review of The Cousins! Huge thanks to Dave @ TheWriteReads for organising another huge blog tour and to Penguin and NetGalley for the eARC!
Let’s cut right to the chase: I have been a Karen M. McManus fan since her debut One of Us is Lying back in 2017 and with The Cousins she knocks it out of the park. I really do love me a YA thriller every once in a while and Ms McManus has the genre down to a T. I think it’s safe to say that if you enjoyed her previous work, you’re bound to enjoy this one as well. And if you’re new to the author, or even to the genre, but you want to give her, or it, a whirl, this is an excellent place to start.
A past and present storyline tell us the story of the Story family. On a remote island off Massachusetts, past Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, the Story family rules. They’re that rich family that everyone envies and adores in equal measure, the ones who own half the island, hotels, resorts, the whole nine yards. In the late 1990s, the mater familias of the Story family kicked her four children to the curb. None of them has heard from her again, until twenty-odd years later, their children receive a letter inviting them to spend the spend the summer at her resort.
I’ll come right out and say it: I LIVE for this kind of setting! There’s just something about rich American kids and their secrets in a summery setting that really works for me. Adding a resort, a wealthy but aloof grandma, tons of family issues to get to the bottom of, a mysterious death, difficult relationships of all kinds, and some great chemistry (but no cheesy romance) between two of the characters, well, The Cousins clearly ticked all my boxes!
As always, Ms McManus’ writing is vivid and compelling. I was sucked in from the start and every time I had to put it down, I was looking forward to picking it up again. Many subtle details touch upon themes that enrich the story: self-awareness and self-confidence, alcohol addiction, family bonds, love and loss, money, guilt.
The Cousins is a twisty story, boasting both small and big reveals, some of which I suspected, some of which took me entirely by surprise. It is fun, it is clever, it is hugely entertaining and I would definitely recommend it!
The Cousins is out on 3 December in all formats!