Blog Tour: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Hello, reader!

It feels like it has been awhile since I’ve done a blog tour! I think I burned myself out just a wee bit in my first year of blogging, haha. But it’s hard to say no when so many incredible opportunities cross your path! Which happens a lot when you’re part of the Write Reads gang 😉 Dave @ The Write Reads has pulled me in once again with a tour that I couldn’t hop on fast enough! I’ve mentioned before that Karen M. McManus is quickly becoming one of my favorite YA thriller authors so, when Dave said there was going to be a tour for her newest book, The Cousins, I jumped at the opportunity!

That being said, I want to, first and foremost, thank Dave @ The Write Reads, the publisher, Penguin, and Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC of the book in exchange for my participation in the tour. As always, I am forever grateful 💖

And now, let’s talk about The Cousins!


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying comes your next obsession. You’ll never feel the same about family again.

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.”

Book Details

  • Author: Karen M. McManus
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House
  • Publication date: December 1st, 2020
  • Genre: Thriller/Mystery
  • Age group: Young Adult
  • Content/Trigger warnings: To see all the potential content and trigger warnings for this book, follow this link to

Book Links


About the Author

Karen M. McManus is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, and One of Us Is Next. Her fourth novel, The Cousins, will publish in December 2020. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels.

Author Links


My Review

How does one review a book when the first thing you said when you finished it was a very emphatic “WHAT THE $%&^”?

Like… in a good way, y’all!

The Cousins is a novel full of twists that follows three cousins, Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story, who barely know each other and even less about their mysterious grandmother. That’s because said grandmother very publicly disinherited her children before they were even born and cut all ties. But now, they have all received an invitation to come work her resort for the summer and their parents make sure they know that the only appropriate response is to jump on the opportunity to get back in her good graces. Now the secrets of the Story family may finally come to light.

I went into this book fully expecting to enjoy my reading experience. I’ve read almost all of Karen M. McManus’ books and I haven’t given any of them anything less than four stars. There is something about her writing that just immediately captures me as soon as I crack open one of her novels. It’s engaging, it’s digestable, and it’s so fun! This book was definitely no exception. It was like a delicious, indulgent snack that I was trying to eat before my kids found me: incredibly enjoyable and over too soon! I tore through this book because it’s so compulsively readable. The pacing was perfection, the tone was crafted in a way that I felt like I was on summer vacation in the middle of fall, and the twists… the twists!

Actually, let’s take a moment to talk about how well the twists were executed in this book. There was a moment, towards the beginning, where I sat there, smug as all get out, because I thought “I totally know where this is going.”

Reader, I did NOT know where it was going.

I thought I did and then McManus pulled the rug out from under me. As someone who loves herself some thrillers, I do love when an author can keep me guessing. McManus does a fantastic job of dangling one tantalizing trail in front of you and then completely flipping the script. I think where she truly shines is with her endings. HER ENDINGS!!! The last few chapters of this book had my mouth absolutely agape. I threw my water bottle across the room at one point and I legitimately flailed my arms. The cat in my lap did not appreciate it 😂 I do love a book that can illicit a physical response! And a thriller that can get me that invested in the characters and their fate is always a winner in my book.

Speaking of the characters! Can we talk about how the author once again crafted a group of characters that felt so freakin’ alive on the page? Seriously, I absolutely loved Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah. They are all such beautifully crafted characters complete with nuance and depth that makes them feel like people you could meet in real life. And I loved their relationships. I grew up in a military family and a lot of my extended family are also military. We never lived close to my cousins, so we never really got to know one another. The first time Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah meet… I felt that awkwardness in my soul. The way they relationship develops felt so organic and made my heart happy. All at the same time that I was suspicious of LITERALLY EVERYONE! I think this is why I love McManus’ thrillers so much. She always infuses her characters with so much personality that I quickly become invested in whatever mess they find themselves in.

Final thoughts: Karen M. McManus has wow’d me again! This thriller is compulsively readable, filled with twists and turns that will keep you on your toes from page one until the very end. I especially loved the blossoming familial relationships in this book and how quickly I became invested in the characters and their story (haaaaaaaa). If you like your thrillers to be fast-paced with a lot of twists and a fantastic cast, I think you’ll enjoy The Cousins!

Star rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.


8 thoughts on “Blog Tour: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

  1. I hear you on the physical reactions. The worst I ever had was in the first book of Game of Thrones, I actually threw a book across the room. I’ve never disrespected a book like that before. My daughter was on a train and a copy of Game of Thrones went flying down the aisle. She said several commuters just nodded and said they understood. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I absolutely agree that all McManus’ books are so compulsively readable and as I’m always terrible at guessing whodunit, I’m always pleasantly shocked at the many twists and turns in her stories, and this was defo no exception 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] The Cousins by Karen M. McManus: Oh, this glorious, twisty book. Karen M. McManus is now my go-to when it comes to YA thrillers as I’ve loved every single one that she’s published. Well… and I’ve read. I still have to get to One of Us is Next, but that will be happening soon! I read this book as part of a The Write Reads Ultimate Blog Tour and I’m so glad that I got to participate. The book was incredible! You can see my tour stop here. […]


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