What is this book about?
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.
What did I think about the book?
I have never read a book by Karen M. McManus before. I know her other books are highly popular but I was never really that interested in them. However, my baby sister loves them. She’s not a big reader and this blog tour was my chance to read something I could connect with her over. Obviously I had to take this chance. And hey, who would have known, that I would fall in love with this book too.
The book is written in four different perspectives: Milly, the slightly snobbish, cool princess that really just wants to know why her mother is the way she is. Aubrey, the All-American-Girl whose life just fell apart and who really just wants that somebody cares about her. Jonah, who is not keen to work in his grandmother’s resort and would have rather gone to a prestigious science camp. And last but not least, some of the chapters are written from Milly’s mother Allison’s perspective from the summer when she was 18.
I think I liked Milly best. It was so intriguing to see her through her own eyes in the chapters narrated by her and how she was seen from the others’ perspective. For this reason she felt like the most rounded character to me. She’s also the one character that was the driving force in the mystery. Jonah was obnoxious and I found him slightly annoying although there was a good reason for it. Aubrey was sweet and somehow I just really wanted her cousins to care about her, so she would be happier. Allison’s chapters where an interesting interlude, where you could witness how everything spun out of control.
The book has a great atmosphere. There seems to be something looming over their heads, like a storm brewing at all times and I felt myself hooked after the first few chapters and being pulled farther and farther in. The island setting gives the whole story also a feeling of isolation as time goes on. I read this book at high speed and got curiouser and curiouser to discover what stood behind the letter, behind the big family secret. There were some hints scattered along the way which can lead you on the right path to solve the mystery which I did since I have some experience with mysteries. The way to the end was nevertheless thrilling and exciting. I wish I could discuss this book in greater detail but don’t wanna give away too much and let you discover this wonderful piece of writing for yourself. I highly recommend.
Read this book when:
- you like dysfunctional family stories, especially the ones with lots of secrets
- you like to have your expectations subverted
- you like interesting characters that are totally different on the outside than on the inside
- you want a great contemporary read
- you are looking for a new book that totally hooks you
- you want a thrilling novel without having to go for full-on crime fiction
Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. When she isn’t working or writing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, McManus loves to travel with her son. One of Us Is Lying is her debut novel.
“The Cousins” will be released on December 3, 2020. It’s published by Penguin Random House UK. It’s categorized as Contemporary Fiction and Young Adult Fiction.
As always, I wanna thank Dave from The Write Reads for organizing and for bringing me and this book together. Also, thank you to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.