Review: The Inheritance Games

“The more complicated a person’s strategy seemed, the less likely an opponent was to look for simple answers. If you could keep someone looking at your knight, you could take them with a pawn. Look past the details. Past the complications.”

– Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
384 pages
Genre: Young Adult fiction, mystery
Published by: Little, Brown and Company 
Re-readability: Even though this is a mystery and it can be not as satisfying to reread books in that genre, I think I might return to this one. 
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by Indiana 
Spoiler-free review

Synopsis from publisher: 

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 conwoman, 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.


This fast-paced and fun novel takes readers by the hand and leads them through the twisted world of the Hawthorne family, where everything and everyone is shrouded in mystery. 

We explore the winding home and exquisite libraries of the late Tobias Hawthorne and attempt to uncover what his will means, along with the letters he left behind, and why he left it all to Avery. 

The mystery deepens as she gets closer to the family, particularly the two middle brothers, and begins to uncover the story surrounding the death of a neighboring teen. The added layers help to add depth to the characters and strengthen the core mystery as well. 

Certain sections of the storyline were campy, similar to Knives Out, and that made it all the more fun to follow along. 

I picked this one up on the recommendation of a local bookseller and I’m so glad I did. Looking forward to The Hawthorne Legacy, the follow-up which is slated to be out in September. 

Has anyone else read this one? What did you think? 

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