The Inheritance Games Review

What’s it About?

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. 

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: The Inheritance Games

Genre: YA Mystery

Format Read: Kindle Ebook

Final Rating: 4.5 Stars


This book is definitely underrated. You don’t hear about The Inheritance Games when you look at lists for the best YA Mystery.

It should be at the top of those lists.

Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I loved this book. I loved the characters, the intricacy of the plot, the relationships, it was just so good.

The book is about a teenager named Avery Grambs, who has a hard home life. She lives in her car, because her sister Libby’s abusive boyfriend is angry all the time. Avery thinks she has no chance at a good future, until a guy in a suit comes to her school and informs her that Tobias Hawthorne had mentioned her in his will. Thing is, Avery has no idea who Tobias Hawthorne is.

But when she’s at the reading of the will, the entire family finds out that billionaire Tobias Hawthorne has left almost his entire fortune to her.

There’s only one quirk; she has to live with the Hawthornes, AKA the family of the late Tobias Hawthorne who were all expecting to be given the majority of the money, for 1 year.

First off, Avery was so cool. Smart, snappy, confident, she was the perfect MC for this book. The fact that she was also super relatable, she didn’t immediately get into the whole living in a mansion thing, or being under the public eye, was so, so great.

“We aren’t normal. This place isn’t normal, and you’re not a player, kid. You’re the glass ballerina—or the knife.”

I also loved the 3 out of 4 of the Hawthorne Brothers; Nash, Xander and Grayson. They were all so unique, and so likable. And I loved Grayson so much he deserves a paragraph of his own;

Grayson is the 2nd oldest Hawthorne brother. He’s the one who was in the suit who told Avery about Tobias Hawthorne mentioning her in his will. But once everyone hears that Avery was given dozens of billions of dollars, Grayson immediately doesn’t trust her and thinks she’s a con-woman. I loved watching him slowly realize that Avery is as clueless about the whole thing as he is, and watching their relationship grow.

“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.”

Notice, I didn’t mention the 4th Hawthorn brother. He’s Jameson, AKA one of Avery’s love interests AKA the my least favorite brother. I don’t know exactly what it was about him, but he was so strange, and could even be creepy at times. He didn’t take anything seriously. He’s basically the reason this wasn’t a 5 star read.

And that brings me to the 2nd and final thing I didn’t like; the romance between Avery and Jameson. Anyone else not like it? It was so awkward, so sudden. They would have been better off friends. And yeah, there is a love triangle, between Avery, Jameson and Grayson, and love triangles usually annoy me, but in this book it was actually really interesting. As you could probably tell from my notes and highlights in this book, I really wanted Avery and Grayson to get together from the moment they met;

“It would be best, for the moment, for you to just assume that I know everything.” His voice would have been pleasant to listen to if it weren’t for the words.

“A guy who thinks he knows everything,” I muttered. “That’s new.”

“A girl with a razor-sharp tongue,” he returned, silver eyes focused on mine, the ends of his lips ticking upward.

I literally made a note at this part, saying “Ooooh I ship”.

Anyways. I also loved the side characters, especially Thea, Libby and Alisa. Thea, is the Hawthorne brothers’ mom’s sister’s husbands’ daughter, I think. Not cousin because her mom didn’t have any kids. Wait, that doesn’t make any sense. Or maybe she’s the Hawthorne brothers’ 2nd cousin. I don’t actually know. The family tree is confusing. But, Thea is such a cool character, and I loved her personality and carefree attitude.

“You don’t like me much,” Thea noted. “That’s okay. I’m a hypercompetitive, bisexual perfectionist who likes to win and looks like this. I’m no stranger to being hated.”


“If I were a boy,” Thea told him with a Southern belle smile, “people would just call me driven.”

“Thea.” Constantine frowned at her.

“Right.” Thea dabbed at her lips with her napkin. “No feminism at the dinner table.” This time, I couldn’t bite back the snort. Point, Thea.

Next, Libby. Libby is Avery’s sister. She’s sweet and nice, but also cutthroat if someone tries to hurt someone she cares about.

“But for the record, little sis, you’re a minor, and I’m still your legal guardian. The next time someone tries to shoot you, I damn well want to know.”

And also,

“Shutting up now.” Nash picked up a cupcake and took a bite out of it like it was an apple. “For what it’s worth, I vote for red velvet next.” Libby turned back to me. “Salted caramel it is.”

Finally, Alisa. Alisa was Avery’s lawyer and her professionalism, and sometimes, lack of it, made her so likable and interesting.

“Legally,” she said, “the Hawthorne family is required to provide you with keys. Practically speaking…” She narrowed her eyes. “The Hawthorne family is a pain in the ass.”

“That a legal term?” Oren asked dryly.


“Rise and shine,” Alisa said, with the force and surety of a person making an argument in court. “Go away.” Channeling my younger self, I pulled the covers over my head.

“My apologies,” Alisa said, not sounding apologetic in the least. “But you really do have to get up now.”

Let’s talk about the plot. The mystery of this book was so perfectly drawn out, and I loved how the Hawthornes and Avery had to work together to figure it out.

The actual mystery of this book was so well thought out, and so intricate and fit together perfectly in the end. I loved how it took a while for everyone to figure it out, and the hints weren’t obvious. Also, I love the puzzles and SECRET PASSAGEWAYS, duh. Hawthorne House was such a cool place to have a mystery take place, with all of it’s history and secrets.

“Everything’s a game, Avery Grambs. The only thing we get to decide in this life is if we play to win.”

So, in conclusion, I loved this book and need the 2nd one to release earlier.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

What did you think of this book? Did you too not like Jameson, or was it just me being weird?

Can someone please tell me how Thea is related to the Hawthornes?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

12 thoughts on “The Inheritance Games Review”

  1. This book is so so so good! Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of my favorite authors, I’d totally recommend her other books– specifically the Naturals series. The mysteries in them and characters are top tier! I’d also agree with you, Jameson wasn’t for me either. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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