The Cousins by Karen M McManus
|The Cousins by Karen M McManus|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Olivia Mitchell|
|Summary: An addictive YA book about 3 cousins unravelling the 25 year old secrets behind their notorious family, and all the horrific lies that have kept their family apart. Full of twists and turns and bombshell truths, this is a great read!|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: December 2020|
|External links: Author's website|
The rich and famous Story family led a life of luxury on Gull Cove Island, until 25 years ago when each of the Story children - Anders, Archer, Adam and Allison - received a mysterious letter from their mother and were cut off completely. But now, a quarter of a century later, their children have been called to return to the island for the summer by their grandmother. What does she want with the cousins? Why did she cut off her children all those years ago? Are the deaths on Gull Cove Island really what they seem? The dark web of twisted lies, secrets and tragedy that has held the Story family up - and held them apart - for a quarter of a century is about to come crashing down.
Milly is a bold, glamorous but damaged metropolitan teenager. She grew up with the Story wealth, and has craved the attention and respect of her mysterious grandmother for as long as she can remember. Her growth from a cold yet worshipping granddaughter to a girl who truly cares about her cousins and the mystery behind the family was enjoyable to read.
Aubrey is a classic good girl. Champion swimmer, strong morals. But she and her branch of the family are seething with shame and secrets. She feels the odd one out - she didn't get the Story family looks, except for a birthmark on her hand, identical to one her grandmother has - and harbours both a resentment bordering on hatred for her father and a desire to be loved by him. She is a fascinating character to read, and watching her break out of her shell was fun and exciting as a reader.
Jonah is an enigma. From the second we meet him, we know he looks nothing like the Storys. Any of them. He's rude, standoffish. He has no desire to be on the island - he's forced to be there. But he has an agenda. However, as he grows closer to the cousins - and to the truth about his family - the bombshell truth about him is revealed, nearly throwing everything he planned out of the window. Jonah's progression was one of the best to read, and he ends up a likeable character.
Every character in the book, no matter how seemingly minor, ends up having a key role in this book in one way or another, which is something I really enjoyed.
The book is told from 4 perspectives - each of the cousins, and then from the perspective of Allison in 1996. This adds a great element of perspective, as in the present the cousins try to unravel what happened in Allison's timeline, as we find out about everything building up to the moment the children are cut off from her own perspective. It adds mystery and intrigue, as well as keeping the book fluid and interesting to read.
The story is very well written. Each character feels authentic and diverse, contrasting with each other but also bonding in wonderful ways. The book is full of twists and turns and endless mystery – a particular skill of McManus – and every single person in the story seems to be sitting on one secret or another. Watching the cousins try to unravel the lies their family was built on is a wonderful read. The language is easy to digest and feels natural. Gull Cove Island feels very authentic and the places within the book feel real and tangible. This is a wonderful YA read!
A book about lies, secrets, tragedy, family and the painful truth behind a notorious family secret 25 years in the making.
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