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  • Writer's pictureKellie Burke

Review: The Inheritance Games

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Cover of the book "The Inheritance Games" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

A lover of riddles, puzzles, and code Tobias Hawthorne created his final masterpiece when he named teenager Avery Grambs as the sole inheritor of his fortune, leaving almost nothing to his family. Which is confusing as Avery had never met Tobias or any of his family and has no idea why she would get everything. To solve this mystery requires Avery to navigate the sprawling Hawthorne House for clues while also trying to resist the charms of the three Hawthorne grandsons. With Agatha Christie vibes, this novel is suspenseful and fun, with the sequel The Hawthorne Legacy even more gripping than the original (in my opinion).

My Thoughts

The first two books of the Inheritance Games trilogy (the third book, The Final Gambit released August 30, 2022) have an old school, Agatha Christie mystery feel, which I absolutely love. The setting is mostly modern, with Avery having to deal with social media and paparazzi with her newfound fame. But once they're at the Hawthorne mansion it feels very classic mystery with secret passageways, grand libraries, and codes that cannot be solved with technology. It's a great blend of reality mixed with a fantasy world of what we would like to imagine being rich would be like (at least I would- it always involves libraries with rolling ladders and sky high bookshelves- ha!).

Predictably, Avery is entangled with more than one Hawthorne boy in a potentially romantic way but I appreciated how independent Avery remained regardless of her feelings for the boys. The potential love interests post just another challenge for Avery in her quest to figure out why she was chosen to inherit and as a smart, feisty character she is well aware that any of the boys could be playing her to get closer to the money. She questions whether she can trust any of them, regardless of her feelings. At no point does Barnes let that overtake all the other complications in Avery's life, which can easily happen in YA novels.

Avery does find herself in life threatening situations but the book never turns into a thriller; danger is kind of a background threat, where the reader knows Avery will be just fine but is along for the ride anyways. As a fan of mysteries, The Inheritance Games and The Hawthorne Legacy are a fantastic addition to this YA genre.

Book Information

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publish Date: September 1, 2020

Publish Date: September 7, 2021

Publish Date: August 30, 2022

Genre(s): Mystery Themes: family, loyalty, trust Protagonist Description: 17 year old girl, straight & white Trigger Warnings: Some implied sexual content

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