The Cousins

Listening Library. 2020. 929p. $69. ISBN 9781984842152.
Gr 9 Up–Three teenage cousins who have met only on a few occasions are asked by their estranged grandmother to work for a summer at her exclusive island resort. Years before, their grandmother cut off contact with and disinherited their parents without notice. The last words given through the grandmother’s lawyer to her own children were, “You know what you did.” Their parents each insist that the cousins attempt ingratiate themselves with the family matriarch. From the beginning, all is not as it seems. Lies upon lies pile up as the three cousins slowly unravel the truth behind their family’s true inheritance: secrets. Though this winding plot will enthrall mystery lovers, the lack of real jeopardy and poorly foreshadowed plot twists take away from the intensity of a thriller. A predictable and unsatisfying resolution detracts from the strength of the piece—interesting and multifaceted main characters. Though narrators Sarah Skaer, Kate Reinders, David Garelik, and Julia Whelan provide excellent performances individually, they are not significantly different in tone. At times the readers’ cadences and the writing style of the characters are so similar that listeners may not realize which character is speaking.
VERDICT This is a supplementary purchase for libraries with young adults clamoring for more suspense like One of Us Is Lying.

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