A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Cousins, by Karen M. McManus (One of Us Is Lying), is all about family secrets. When the fabulously wealthy Mildred Story disinherited and cut off all contact with her four adult children, the only reason she gave was, "You know what you did." More than 20 years later, letters arrive inviting her three teen grandchildren to spend the summer working at her island resort in New England. But when the cousins arrive, they discover their grandmother hasn't invited them. Determined to find out the truth behind "You know what you did," the cousins discover imposters, coverups, and murder. There's strong language ("f—k," "a--hole," "s—t," "Jesus"), and teens drink and sometimes get drunk. One adult character is an alcoholic. While not graphically described, someone is shot and there are several murders and mysterious deaths.
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What's the story?
THE COUSINS is told in the voices of three teen cousins (Milly Story-Takahashi, Aubrey Story and Jason Story) and in flashbacks to 1996. The cousins all know that 24 years ago, their grandmother, Mildred Story, sent letters to her daughter and three sons, disinheriting them and cutting off all contact. The only reason she gave was, "You know what you did." But none of them did. So everyone is surprised when the cousins receive letters from their grandmother inviting them to spend the summer in New England, working at the summer resort she owns on Gull Cove Island. It's the opportunity their disinherited parents have been waiting for, so off the cousins are sent. The three barely know each other and seemingly have little in common. Milly is very much a big city girl from Manhattan, Aubrey is a competitive swimmer from Oregon, and Jonah appears to be a jerk from Rhode Island. But they do have one thing in common -- they're determined to find out what caused their grandmother to suddenly cut off their parents. Solving that mystery begins the moment they arrive, when they discover their grandmother never sent the letters and had no idea they were coming.
Is it any good?
This is "never saw that coming" mystery is all wrapped up in complicated family dynamics, strained parent child relationships, and dark and deadly secrets. Some readers may initially be disappointed in leisurely start of The Cousins. But once the cousins arrive at Gull Cove Island, the speed of the story picks up and readers will have to pay really close attention to keep up with all the plot twists.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the damage that keeping secrets causes in The Cousins. How do you decide when to keep a secret and when the right thing to do is to reveal that secret?
Have you ever wanted to assume someone else's identity? If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?
What do you know about your family history? Are there any ancestors you'd like to know more about?
- Author: Karen M. McManus
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Publication date: December 1, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 325
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: December 17, 2020
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