Book Review

Book Review: The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Thriller/Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

TWISTED.

McManus tends to keep me on my toes. This was once again the case in The Cousins.

A audio book tangent: I loved it. Had a full cast and great narration if you want to read it in this format!

Anywho, what a wild web that was woven in this story. There’s lots of twists, not a ton of action, and plenty of mystery. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I’m reading and don’t catch some of the twists. One of the twists really blind-sided me and I was like WHAAAAT. So that’s fun. I tend to base my ratings/thoughts on thrillers by how well it kept me in the dark. This did a pretty good job.

There’s many, many unlikeable characters. I think I came to like 2 or 3 of them by the end. And there’s flashbacks here too! I thought they fit in well to the story, even if I always think flashbacks kind of take you out of the present plot. These were necessary or honestly, I don’t know what would be happening.

Definitely an interesting story. I was entertained and sometimes that’s all I’m looking for in a read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery/thriller
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: multiple murders, miscarriage, car wreck with a death, loss of loved one(s), alcoholism

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Book Review

Book Review: One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying #2) by Karen M. McManus

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Mystery/Thriller
Length: 384 pages
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press for Young Readers
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling thriller everyone is talking about, One of Us Is Lying! There’s a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there’s a whole new set of rules.

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

ANOTHER GREAT READ BY THIS AUTHOR.

Oh guys. We all know I’m not a big thriller fan, but McManus continually sways me to that side with her compelling YA centered novels. I loved this second book and thought it wove the characters from One of Us is Lying seamlessly together to bring another book that kept me on edge.

I can’t be the only one that doesn’t love NOT knowing who’s the bad guy in mystery books? This one did a great job of keeping me in the dark until almost the reveal. I was super excited when I started whispering to myself, OH IT’S —- [redacted, of course]. One of Us Is Next always had a heightened sense of drama to it. It wasn’t a basic tale of why they were doing such things, but a deeper tale of grief and anger that can consume someone.

As a romance lover, I adored the tiny tidbits throughout for our characters. It never overshadowed the plot, but gave the characters another layer. Phoebe, Maeve and Knox each had a nuanced level of complexity and personal issues that made me love each one on their own and as a group of friends.

The story was twisted and had a good flair for theatrics. I was surprised by some of the details and secrets that came out. Plenty of tense moments and quick flipping pages to get to the bottom of the mystery!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery/thriller
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: some kisses/make-outs, general discussion of sex life
  • Violence: murder, physical
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault (unwanted kissing/grabbing – Ch. 8), slut shaming, bullying

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