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.


This was the first book I ever read by Karen McManus and oh yeah I can see why her other books are so popular and why I often see my students with one of her books in hand not being able to put it down. The Cousins takes us on a journey to Gull Cove Island and to unravelling family secrets.

The book is told from different points of view in first person narrative. The main characters – The Cousins- have most of the chapters. Some few chaptes are told by Aubrey, Milly’s mum, and give inside into her past and help to slowly solve the mystery.

I instantly liked the book but I couldn’t put it down anymore once I crossed the 60% line. Then it really picked up speed and I wanted to know what was really going on. Of course you know straight from beginning that there is something wrong with the Story family but although I manage quite often to spot the murderer in advance when watching crime films, I had no idea what was really going on here.

The  characters really grew on me and throughout the book there is a great character development. I kept disliking most characters I didn’t really like straight from the beginning but some characters really grew on me, like for example Aubrey. Being a mother myself I had huge problems with her behaviour towards her daughter at the beginning but was really able to feel for her at the end.

The book offers everything the young reader – and also the older reader like me- wants from a book. Suspense, mystery and love. In my opinion it is the perfect book for young adults as it is a up to date, contemporary book actuating many topics young people are interested in.

I definitely recommend reading it.



Never judge a book by its cover:

After finding out that I was approved to take part in The Write Reads blog tour of Karen McManus The Cousins I looked for the book online to get a glimpse at the cover. Online I found three different covers, two English ones and one German one. Personally I like the German one best as it stays in line with the covers of the German editions McManus former books. I also liked the English one with the house and only the legs of the protagonists visible. I would definitely have picked up those two covers in a book shop. The third one I found was the least intriguing one for me. The cover leans too much into a different direction than the book really takes. It looks more like a real murder story with the crossed out pictures on it.  So most likely I would not have chosen to have a closer look at that edition. 


The official English cover:

Karen McManus

The German cover:

German Karen Mc Manus

The cover to be found on goodreads:

Good reads