The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.
Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.
I enjoyed this YA mystery/thriller that is the first book in a series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The second book is slated for release in September 2021, check out this article for more details.
I enjoyed all the riddles, clues, and the secret passages mentioned in this novel. There were also mini mysteries that needed to be solved throughout the novel before the bigger mystery of why Avery inherited Tobias Hawthorne’s fortune was answered. The pacing in this novel was good, it wasn’t too fast or too slow and it keep me engaged the entire time. Once I got into the book I became fully invested in this mystery; it seemed like when one puzzle was solved, there were more questions left to be answered.
I found the characters to be rather dull and not as developed as I would have liked. I think I found them to be less developed because of all the secrecy around the four Hawthorne brothers and Avery did receive a huge shock in inheriting a billion and then some dollars. I’m hopeful that we’ll see more of their development in the second book.
I’m glad that Barnes didn’t push the romance on this one, I think if she did it would have taken away from more of the dark mysterious tone of this novel. The dynamic between the two Hawthorne brothers and Avery was interesting. I’m not a huge fan of ‘love triangles’ and I wasn’t a huge fan of the two brothers that were at the forefront of it. Yeah, they’re attractive and that’s cool, but they seemed to lack some personality? I feel like I all I got from them was “ooohh they’re hot” vibes. That’s not enough for me. Maybe I’m just over love triangles, which I probably am. They were never my ‘cup of tea.’ (I love using this line in my reviews. Hehe)
The family dynamics in this novel had me intrigued — I love a good messed up family dynamic! I can 100% see why Tobias decided to leave all his inheritance to a complete stranger. The family dynamics were well planned and thought out. It was very complex and messy, but it worked very well in this complex and messy situation.
I actually picked this book up based off the cover. If you look closely at the cover, there are elements that are mentioned within the book which I LOVE! The more I looked at the cover the more details I noticed. I love book covers like this, there’s even little details hidden in the green roses just… I’m going to geek out over this cover again.
I really don’t want to give too much away with this book, but it’s worth a read if you’re into YA mystery/thrillers. And that twist at the end had me screaming “WHAT” at 1am. Sorry family.
There were things that left me wanting more, but overall, it was a really good book. It left me engaged and wanting to keep reading. I’ll be picking up the second installment of this book later this September. In the meantime, I might give Barnes 20 other novels a look through.
So go check this book out and let’s talk about it!
Cups of Tea: ☕☕☕☕
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: September 1, 2020