Tuesday, September 29, 2020

#Review - The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes #YA #Thrillers #Suspense

Series: The Inheritance Games #1
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre:  Young Adult / Thrillers & Suspense

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.

The Inheritance Games is the first installment in author Jennifer Lynn Barnes The Inheritance Games series. This book has been compared to Knives Out, and One of Us is Lying. High School Junior Avery Grambs is a really good student who wants to attend the University of Connecticut upon graduation, if she can get enough scholarships. Avery has been living with her half-sister Libby since her mom died. But, after an argument with her sister’s boyfriend, Avery finds herself living in her car. Then the unexpected happens.

Avery is called to the principal's office where she receives the shock of her life. Thanks to her sister’s idiocy of tossing away mail, Avery discovers that she has been named in the will of a recently deceased Texas billionaire and philanthropist Tobias Hawthorne. She has no idea who the man is, or why he would have left anything to her, but she has no choice. Avery is flown to Texas where the reading of the will take place by Tobias's lawyers. Avery discovers that Tobias left much of his money to her. But there is a catch. She must move into Hawthorne manor and stay there an entire year or lose everything. 

She must share a home with Tobias's four grandsons; Grayson, Alexander, Jameson, and Nash who have no idea where this interloper came from. Could she be Cinderella or is she Marie Antoinette? She must deal with the angry Hawthorne women who are willing to be cutthroat if it means getting rid of Avery for good. She must figure out why any of this happened to her by playing a mysterious game while trying to survive the Hawthorne family who have all been disinherited. If she can survive for a year living with the boys, she will inherit a fortune. If she doesn't, things get really twisted as to whom will get the money.

Avery is not only likable, but someone you want to root for. While she isn't perfect, she cares about those around her and learns from her mistakes, which is an excellent example for readers of all ages. She finds herself attached to Jameson, as well as Grayson who seems to want to help. Then there is Xander who may be the most intelligent member of this cast as well as Nash who seems nonchalant about the whole charade. They all have  a game to play as well, and I don't think that we've uncovered the end of the games that Tobias left behind for Avery and his Grandsons. Then there's the mystery that her own mother took to the grave when she said, "I have a secret."

After living with her older sister and struggling to get by, she enters a strange world of money, power, danger, and family secrets where everyone seems to be carrying daggers ready to stab Avery in the back. The closer she gets to the truth as to why she was chosen to be the heir, her relationships with the boys, and her very survival are tested. Even though the boys and Avery have vastly different agendas, they end up working together to solve the games puzzles and clues. Just when you think you have solved the clues; each clue revealed another secret.

The Inheritance Games will captivate readers with not one, not two, but three mysteries--all interwoven in one masterful thriller. The puzzle-filled family estate, privileged and complicated family, and fish-out-of-water protagonist all make The Inheritance Games a must read. Avery not only lives the dream of inheriting billions from an unknown benefactor (not to mention a mansion and staff), but she also moves in with four gorgeous, intriguing guys who are all playing a game where Avery is either Cinderella or Marie Antoinette.

This was a fantastic mystery with a lot of twists and turns right up until the final page. Give this to fans of the high stakes teen mystery of One of Us is Lying, the clever puzzles and riddles of The Westing Game, the love triangle of Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty, and the clever, snarky, high stakes action of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series.


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