The Cousins - book cover
Literature & Fiction
  • Publisher : Delacorte Press
  • Published : 01 Dec 2020
  • Pages : 336
  • ISBN-10 : 0525708006
  • ISBN-13 : 9780525708001
  • Language : English

The Cousins

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From the 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.
Fans of the hit thriller that started it all can watch the secrets of the Bayview Four be revealed in the One of Us is Lying TV series now streaming on NBC's Peacock!

Editorial Reviews

"Every twist is gasp-inducing…. Another McManus novel worth pulling an all-nighter for." -Kirkus Reviews

"The twists come fast and furious." -SLJ

"McManus (One of Us Is Lying) once again crafts a taut, multilayered mystery.... [She] weaves past and present to take readers on a well-paced, twisty ride that will hold readers rapt till the last page." -Publishers Weekly

"Masterfully plotted and packed with her trademark twists, fans will be utterly hooked." -The Bookseller

"A slow-burn, uneasy beginning ultimately makes way for a frantically paced end peppered with twists that genre fans will happily take in stride. . . . Fans of McManus's previous offerings and of mysteries steeped in family dramatics will be eager for this." -Booklist

Readers Top Reviews

Polly MorganBTPBookC
I loved One of Us is Lying, the author’s previous book, and so I was delighted when I saw that The Cousins was due to be released! Whilst it was enjoyable, it wasn’t as thrilling as I was expecting. It felt more like a slow-burn mystery and I was left disappointed after waiting for a big twist that never really developed. Despite this, the characters are great and well-developed, each with their own secrets. I enjoyed the reveals throughout and will give the next author’s work a try!
Like with all of Karen M. McManus's books, I had this one on preorder the moment it was available to preorder and I was counting down the days until it appeared on my kindle. I loved the sound of this book--I mean, I love stories about complicated families, generations-old mysteries, and cousins. Not to mention this is set on an island. Having previously lived on an island, I love island stories--especially if they're the locked-room variety. This book tells the story of three cousins who don't really know each other: Aubrey, Milly, and Jonah. Each of them is the child of one of the Story siblings--Adam, Allison, Archer, and Anders--and these siblings were mysteriously disinherited by their mother, Mildred when they were 18-ish. None of the A siblings knows why this happened--but they received a note the following day saying that 'they know what they did'. And this book starts when Aubrey, Milly, and Jonah are invited to Mildred's island. There, they're determined to find out what exactly went on when their parents last set foot on the island. I'll admit, I was expecting there to be more of a present-day mystery and more present-day danger going on--instead, the book is very much just about what happened to the A siblings. And we have even got a few chapters told from Alison's POV which take place twenty years ago (the rest of it is told from the cousins' perspectives in the present day). But I was just waiting for there to be some sort of present day thrilling event that puts the cousins in danger--and it doesn't really happen until the end. The climax itself is great--we do get the sense that Aubrey is in great danger, and it delivers some HUGE twists. I didn't see those twists coming, so that made this read a 4 star rather than 3.5, which I had been veering toward until that point. Having said that, while we don't get much sense of Aubrey, Jonah, and Milly being in danger for most of the book--which I found odd given it's a thriller--there is a huge twist with Jonah pretty early on. Again, I didn't see that coming. While it's not a point of danger for any of the cousins, it does create a lot of tension and intrigue. As always, characterisation is solid--though I did get Anders, Archer, and Adam mixed up quite a bit because their names all begin with A. All in all, I'd recommend this book. My first finished read of 2021.
I absolutely love Karen McManus, i devoured all of her books during lockdown in May and was desperate for her to release something else. I was then browsing online one day and this popped up, so I decided to treat myself and order it (i needed to make up costs to cover postage anyway, but really who needs an excuse!) This sounded quite different from her other works but I was excited to get stuck in. We have three cousins - Milly, Aubrey and Jonah, they haven't ever met their grandmother and haven't really met each other either. 24 years ago, their parents were sent away from their home with a note saying 'you know what you did'. All four of the Storey's deny knowing what that note means, and have just come to terms with life away from their mother and their legacy. But there is definitely something going on, as the once close siblings are now quite isolated and their children have grown up not really knowing the rest of their family or much information about their parent's past. So it comes as a shock when the 3 cousins receive a letter from their grandmother inviting them to her resort for the summer. Is she trying to finally connect with her grandchildren or is there something more sinister going on? The three reluctantly agree to go, keen to discover what really happened all those years ago. The story is narrated by alternative perspectives, Milly, Aubrey and Jonah. Each have agreed to attend for the summer for very different reasons, Milly and Aubrey soon become good friends, but Jonah just seems moody and unwelcoming. Straight away you see some cracks in the group dynamic but you also see that there is potential for more there. The grandmother at the resort if very mysterious, she disappears almost as soon as the cousins arrive and very few people actually interact with her, of course this sets off alarm bells in the readers head and I must admit, part of the big twist and revelation at the end seemed quite obvious to me from fairly early on. This book was a bot slower than McManus' other works and I will admit that I didn't enjoy it as much, but regardless of that, it was still a good read and I finished it in 2 fairly short sittings. The story has enough drama and intrigue to keep you interested and wanting to know more, but I didn't feel like I connected or cared about the characters as much as her other books. In fact, my favourite character was probably Archer and he starts off very much as a side character, though he becomes more involved. I was interested enough to see how the whole mystery panned out and that was enough to keep me hooked. This has in no way put me off McManus' works and I will still read everything that she releases as they are compelling little stories in their own right and I really like her style
Jerrilynn Morristony
I loved One of Us is Lying, and have read Two Can Keep a Secret and One of Us is Next and just finished this. Each book seems like a small step back from the previous, this one being the worst in my opinion. The mystery is just so ridiculous that the twists don’t really hit like they do in the other books. It honestly reads like an episode of Scooby Doo that gets progressively more ridiculous as it goes along. I didn’t hate it, mind you, and some of the characters’ back stories are interesting, but the overall story is a major step back from One of Us is Lying.

Short Excerpt Teaser

Chapter One


I'm late for dinner again, but this time it's not my fault. There's a mansplainer in my way.

"Mildred? That's a grandmother's name. But not even a cool grandmother." He says it like he thinks he's being clever. Like in all my seventeen years, no one else has ever noticed that my name isn't the fashionable kind of classic. It took a Wall Street investment banker with slicked-back hair and a pinkie ring to render that particular bit of social commentary.

I sip the dregs of my seltzer. "I was, in fact, named after my grandmother," I say.

I'm at a steak house in midtown at six o'clock on a rainy April evening, doing my best to blend with the happy hour crowd. It's a game my friends and I play sometimes; we go to restaurant bars so we don't have to worry about getting carded at the door. We wear our simplest dresses and extra makeup. We order seltzer water with lime--"in a small glass, please, I'm not that thirsty"--and gulp it down until there's almost nothing left. Then we wait to see if anyone offers to buy us a drink.

Somebody always does.

Pinkie Ring smiles, his teeth almost fluorescent in the dim light. He must take his whitening regimen very seriously. "I like it. Quite a contrast for such a beautiful young woman." He edges closer, and I catch a headache-inducing whiff of strong cologne. "You have a very interesting look. Where are you from?"

Ugh. That's marginally better than the What are you? question I get sometimes, but still gross. "New York," I say pointedly. "You?"

"I mean originally," he clarifies, and that's it. I'm done.

"New York," I repeat, and stand up from my stool. It's just as well he didn't talk to me until I was about to leave, because a cocktail before dinner wasn't one of my better ideas. I catch my friend Chloe's eye across the room and wave good-bye, but before I can extract myself, Pinkie Ring tips his glass toward mine. "Can I get you another of whatever that is?"

"No thank you. I'm meeting someone."

He pulls back, brow furrowed. Very furrowed. In a behind-on-his-Botox sort of way. He also has creases lining his cheeks and crinkles around his eyes. He's way too old to be hitting on me, even if I were the college student I occasionally pretend to be. "What are you wasting my time for, then?" he grunts, his gaze already roving over my shoulder.

Chloe likes the happy hour game because, she says, high school boys are immature. Which is true. But sometimes I think we might be better off not knowing how much worse they can get.

I pluck the lime out of my drink and squeeze it. I'm not aiming for his eye, exactly, but I'm still a little disappointed when the juice spatters only his collar. "Sorry," I say sweetly, dropping the lime into the glass and setting it on the bar. "Normally I wouldn't bother. But it's so dark in here. When you first came over, I thought you were my dad."

As if. My dad is way better-looking, and also: not a creep. Pinkie Ring's mouth drops open, but I scoot past him and out the door before he can reply.

The restaurant I'm going to is just across the street, and the hostess smiles when I come through the door. "Can I help you?"

"I'm meeting someone for dinner? Allison?"

Her gaze drops to the book in front of her and a small crease appears between her eyes. "I'm not seeing--"

"Story-Takahashi?" I try. My parents have an unusually amicable divorce, and Exhibit A is that Mom continues to use both last names. "Well, it's still your name," she'd said four years ago when the divorce was finalized. "And I've gotten used to it."

The crease between the hostess's eyes deepens. "I don't see that either."

"Just Story, then?" I try. "Like in a book?"

Her brow clears. "Oh! Yes, there you are. Right this way."

She grabs two menus and winds her way between white-covered tables until we reach a corner booth. The wall beside it is mirrored, and the woman sitting on one side is sipping a glass of white wine while surreptitiously checking out her reflection, smoothing flyaways in her dark bun that only she can see.

I drop into the seat across from her as the hostess places oversized red menus in front of us. "So it's Story tonight?" I ask.

My mother waits until the hostess leaves to answer. "I wasn't in the mood to repeat myself," she sighs, and I raise a brow. Mom usually makes a point of pushing back on anyone who acts like they can't figure out...