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The Inheritance Games #1

The Inheritance Games

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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.

384 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2020

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About the author

Jennifer Lynn Barnes

38 books20.4k followers
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen.

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 57,138 reviews
Profile Image for elisa.
200 reviews1,283 followers
February 14, 2021

my thoughts (mild spoilers ahead)
• i ain't never seen four emotionally intelligent brothers. two of them always gotta have unaddressed trauma.
• the young adult threshold for personality is in HELL. all you need to do is give your teenage main character a vaguely tragic past, enough stubbornness to allow her to mildly bump heads with love interests every once in a while, a weakness for hot emotionally unavailable rich boys, and a best friend of color to carry things (for flavor).
• not this billionaire secretly surveilling a low income teenage girl for most of her adolescence while she's struggling to stay afloat and literally living out of her car? taking and saving photos of her without her knowledge? and hoarding his wealth all the while? while she's barely scraping by? until the day he dies and finally decides—now that he no longer needs that wealth—it'll all go to her in exchange for using her as a pawn in his family's trauma olympics? GUILLOTINE!
• i clocked the endgame from the moment the hawthorne brothers were introduced, which is always irritating, because love triangles only really work (at least for me) when there seems to be a genuine struggle to decide between two equally interesting, three dimensional characters.
• this is how all of jameson and avery's interactions went:
"can you point me to the bathroom?" i asked.
"he who leaves the game, loses, heiress," he said.
"please, i really have to pee, can you just—"
"the ball always looks for the best player," he replied with the glint of a grin, cutting me off.
"jameson, please—"
"play alone and you’re bound to win, mystery girl."
• the amount of times the narrator repeats lines of dialogue verbatim in her head did in fact give me a migraine.
• xander was the best brother—a puppy, if you will—and i stand by that.
• this was textbook young adult in that i could feel the plot mechanics moving as i zipped through the pages. the inheritance games is very much a predictable "mystery" that ended up slowed down by the tediousness of a love triangle i still don't really buy.
• HOW OLD IS AVERY? are we ever gonna ask that? because she's interacting romantically with adult men as a minor? just wondering hehe
• on that note, this concept would have been so much better if the characters were all college-aged. imagine the shock, the intrigue, the comedy of a low income, jeff bezos-hating college student with loans out the ass suddenly coming into billions? and having to live with two hot white guys? this concept is a lot funnier than it was written. buying into a high school girl solving a billionaire's years-long puzzle and catching the attention of the 18 + 19 year old brothers while she's at it is just a bit too much of a stretch, even for ya.
• i also can't get over the whole emily subplot. this book was literally just....avery: Mf's be in relationships with their dead cheating Gf for like 3-5 years 😒 like damn other ppl wanna date you too 🙋‍♂️❗️😂🤣 and for most of the novel, that is exactly how jameson and grayson act. then 75% in, jameson suddenly changes his tune and goes the whole "i actually don't care about emily at all despite constant references to and comparisons between you and her” route. like, okay, buddy.

having said all of that, yes, i will be picking up book two for gay ally and HoC (Hawthorne of Color) xander.
Profile Image for Yun.
513 reviews19.9k followers
May 16, 2022
Traps upon traps . . . and riddles upon riddles.
Yes! Except, no. The thing is, if you're going to promise me puzzles and riddles, you'd better deliver. And The Inheritance Games fell way short.

Avery is your standard teenager trying to get through high school when she receives news that billionaire Tobias Hawthorne has died and left her almost his entire fortune. The only stipulation is that she must move into his mansion and live there for one year. When she arrives, she meets the enigmatic family, including his four handsome grandsons. But it's all rather awkward since the old devil disinherited them all. Soon though, she realizes that he's got one more trick up his sleeve and it's up to her to figure it out.

At first, this story reminded me of Knives Out, probably my favorite whodunnit film of all time. They both have the wealthy old man kicking the bucket and leaving his fortune to an outsider, along with a mystery/puzzle to solve. But that's where the similarities between the two end, and unfortunately, so did my enjoyment.

At the very least, I expected the majority of this book to be about the puzzle that Avery is supposed to solve. But that was such a small part, and it was unnecessarily convoluted. Reading about her searching through every book and desk and tree on the property doesn't really quicken my pulse with excitement. And the end result is so lame, I forgot it almost as soon as I read it.

Instead, the majority of this book is spent on very immature interpersonal drama between Avery and the ten other teenagers in here (the four brothers, her sister and her sister's ex, her only friend, and three other girls). If that sounds like a lot of people, I assure you, it was.

None of the characters have real personalities, so I had a hard time keeping straight who was who. Especially among the four brothers, it felt like they were all approximately the same person, just slightly apart in age. They all spoke in the same ostentatious way and all seemed to have varying degrees of crushes on Avery.

In fact, the romances in here really confused me. It seems like every teenager was in some sort of romantic entanglement/flirtation with every other teenager. There were so many implied love triangles and quadrangles, I really just didn't get it. Why is all this in here, other than to fluff out the pages?

The other thing that really got on my nerves is the dialogue. It's somehow both bland and pretentious. It's basic as can be, but presented as if it's some sort of witty repartee worth savoring. Then to further rub salt in the wound, random dull sentences are treated like epiphanies, italicized and repeated over and over, just so the reader wouldn't miss it when they come across it for the tenth time.

Unfortunately, this was a case of overpromising and underdelivering. The best part of the book was the premise and initial pages. As I read on, the mind-numbing dialogue and YA melodrama/romance between all the characters really grated on me. Add to that the underwhelming conclusion, and I'm sorry to say that this is really not for me. Maybe if I were still a teenager, I would enjoy this more. But that's too many decades in the past for me to remember now.

As an aside, if you've never seen Knives Out, I totally recommend it. It's absolutely fabulous and actually lives up to the premise. Imagine that.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
January 4, 2021
I found this book absolutely delightful. Exactly the fast-paced, entertaining escape I was looking for!

Comparisons to Knives Out were pretty accurate, though that says nothing about all the puzzles, riddles, and pretty guys that make The Inheritance Games virtually unputdownable. I don't care that that one twist was obvious-- everything about the journey of this book was delicious!

The Inheritance Games follows Avery Grambs, a poor orphaned girl with a plan to work hard, get into a good school, and leave her shitty life behind forever. But then something unbelievable happens. Billionaire Tobias Hawthorne leaves his fortune to Avery in his will, even though Avery has never met him, never seen him, and, as far as she knows, has no link to him whatsoever.

Even stranger, the will sets out a series of odd requirements. One being that Avery must spend at least one year in Hawthorne house, the family manor, and that she must allow Tobias's disinherited family to live there with her. Talk about awkward. And maybe even dangerous.

Hawthorne House is a sprawling mansion of hidden passageways and dark secrets. The more time Avery spends there, the more she becomes convinced that the will, the letter she received alongside it, and the house are all clues to something bigger; that Tobias Hawthorne is playing a game from beyond the grave.

Add to this Tobias's angry daughters, the media who won't leave her alone, and the four Hawthorne grandsons (Nash, who wants to take care of everyone, Grayson, the enigmatic businessman, Jameson, the adventurous rebel, and playful Alexander) and it's clear Avery is in way over her head. Unlucky for her; pretty thrilling for me, honestly.

I love puzzles and riddles. In fact, I don't usually enjoy YA mystery because I can never understand why they decide to be detectives and don't call the police, but here it makes a lot more sense because Avery and the Hawthorne brothers are not crime-solving, they are puzzle-solving. It's very fun.

Also, I sound about twelve years old, but, hell, do I love me some short chapters 😂

There may be a love triangle brewing here, if that's something that bothers you. It's not totally clear, but it is suggested that there's something between Avery and more than one of the Hawthorne brothers. Still, I don't care when a book is this enjoyable.
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
611 reviews87.5k followers
March 14, 2021
This was like 0% what I had been expecting, but it was super cool! I was sent this unsolicited and had thought it was a fantasy, and then I kept hearing a lot of buzz about it and thought it was like a competition thing, but it's more like a puzzle game, kind of like Clue. It was really interesting to try and put together the pieces of the mysterious puzzle. The story is filled with questions from the beginning and as you get answers, you also get more questions. The biggest question is why and I enjoyed watching Avery and the disinherited grandsons puzzle that out. The setting of Hawthorne House was really cool. It was a great backdrop for all the puzzles and riddles of the story. I also liked how there wasn't an overload of intense action scenes. It was a really interesting mind game more so with lots of inaction, if that makes sense. I had thought this was a standalone when reading it but I think I will definitely check out the sequel because as much as I think it provided a satisfying enough conclusion, there are still some things I'm interested in. Overall this was a really unique mystery and I had a great time reading it! It also reads incredibly fast, so that was a plus. I think a combination of the writing and the fact that you're kept on the edge of your seat wanting to know what's going on makes it a breeze to get through.
Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews112k followers
January 7, 2021
Rating this solely based on how much fun I had buddy reading this with my friend, cuz screw it, why not? This is a fun Cinderella story tailored specifically for anyone who enjoys Knives Out, reverse harems, and wish fulfillment stories for poor girls. There's just something satisfying about seeing a poor humble girl get a buttload of money while the rich don’t get anything. The mystery was surprisingly compelling: there were so many questions brought up, and every time there was a new development or answer, it would only unlock even more questions?! (“THIS MAKES NO DAMN SENSE! Compels me though…”) I also surprisingly liked all of the characters; they all have strong personalities, unique qualities, and fun dialogue. Though I don’t buy the instant attraction some of the characters have with each other, the dynamics and relationships between them are interesting enough for me to not mind it. I would definitely be open to reading the sequel.
Profile Image for Jaimie.
384 reviews303 followers
December 27, 2020
A+ idea, D execution. What a letdown.

I wanted a puzzles and riddles and games. I wanted questions with seemingly impossible, shocking answers. I wanted a posse of fascinating, well-developed characters with secrets. I wanted complicated, dramatic romantic entanglements and family drama in spades.

Instead, The Inheritance Games is slow and a tad dull, light on the puzzles and "games." The drama feels forced and I never felt engaged with the characters. In fact, Avery's two potential "love interests," brothers Grayson and Jamison are indistinguishable. Until the very end, I was at a loss who was who and what I was supposed to know about each of them. Which makes it difficult to feel anything but apathy when the romantic tension comes to a head.

And then there's the lackluster ending with a "twist" I did not care about and a cliffhanger (apparently this is a series for some baffling reason) that left me frustrated. Why did I waste my time on this book if I was going to get zero resolution? There is not enough plot here for more books. Hello, cash grab.

How disappointing.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Sofia.
258 reviews6,463 followers
December 12, 2021
I, too, will be expecting a surprise billion-dollar inheritance as compensation for how much I suffered while reading this.

Review to come...
January 25, 2021

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Ever since I heard this book was supposed to be like Knives Out, I was super interested, since that's one of my favorite movies of all time for its brilliant plotting, complex characters, sympathetic protagonist, and brilliant satire about class stratification in the U.S. Obviously with a comparison like that, a book has huge boots to fill and sadly, I'm not sure THE INHERITANCE GAMES can really hack it. If anything, it's more like a modern, reverse-harem version of THE WESTING GAME, but since that book is older (from the 1970s) and more obscure, I guess such a comparison won't sell as many copies.

Avery is a poor teenager who lives with her older sister who is constantly in this off again, on again thing with an abusive boyfriend. One day, she finds out she's become the heiress to one of the nine biggest fortunes in the world-- even though she's pretty sure she has no relation to the eccentric billionaire. So why her? That's what everyone else in the family would like to know, too.

I really forced myself to keep reading because I thought the beginning was really interesting, but I quickly began to get bored, as you can see from my status updates. The romance felt forced and I wasn't as amazed by the "puzzles" as my friends seem to be, and I thought the "twist" at the end was hugely anticlimactic and disappointing. I really don't care about any of these characters and I don't think I'll be reading the sequel. Younger readers will probably enjoy this but I couldn't suspend my disbelief.

2 to 2.5 stars
Profile Image for jessica.
2,534 reviews32.5k followers
September 20, 2022
you know the saying ‘time flies when youre having fun?’ thats the best way i can describe reading this. it felt like i had just started it when all of a sudden it was over. i could have easily read another 300 pages of this.

as everyone is saying, this has a very ‘knives out’ meets ‘truly devious’ vibe with a little bit of ‘paper princess’ thrown in there. its fun, full of riddles and games, all wrapped around a mysterious inheritance. its honestly better than i was expecting it to be.

im also so glad i realised this is the first book in a series, because i was about to go off about that ending. there are so many questions that are left unanswered, so im relieved to know the story will continue because my curiosity is going haywire!

4 stars
Profile Image for Lia Carstairs.
409 reviews2,191 followers
March 4, 2021

it did not just end like that i-

also, jameson and grayson are mine😼 i cant choose one

ah, its been so long since I last read a mystery and this just made me remember how much I miss it. Once again, I have fallen in love. The characters, the plot, everything about this was just amazing.

Excuse me while I suffer waiting until September for book 2.✌


“If there's one thing the Hawthorne family isn't, it's fine. They were a twisted, broken mess before you got here, and they'll be a twisted, broken mess once you're gone.”

I still can't get over that Avery just randomly got called to inherit a billionaire's fortune?? How awesome is that? You don't even know said billionaire and have never come across anyone close to them and yet you get all the money that was originally all supposed to go to his grandsons???

I couldn't stop laughing when that happened. They were sooo pissed it was hilarious. Although I can't blame them, I would've wanted to kill her... which is probably why she got all those death threats-


I love Avery. She's literally so smart and the way she wouldn't let her personal feelings get in the way in trying to find solve the case was really admirable. Also, being able to show no emotion on her face?? I wish I could do that -- it sounds so cool and it'd be really useful for me during those games of chess i lose.

And Jameson ahhh Jamie my bby🥺 demon mashie mentioned how he gives off Matthew Fairchild vibes and seriously why is that so true??? TLH has gotten to us smh.

But anyways, I'm in love with his chaoticness (thats not a word) ughh I'm seeing a trend in the type of guys I keep falling for. i mean, he's like matthew so how could i not love him?? Getting drunk to run away from his problems and acting like a maniac even sober... I love it. And the way he talked omg-
"If I do what I should no more often than I say what I shouldn't—" his lips twisted—"then what does that make me?"

I had no idea what he was saying here?? Although he was drunk, so maybe that's why, but ohmygod I literally spent 10 minutes trying to understand that sentence. god i love jamie.🥺 oh what a coincidence that he has the same nickname as james herondale...okay ill stop now

Okay, and then there's the broody older brother, Grayson, who I absolutely despised at first, but he's actually so sweet??? I can't blame him for always putting his family first sdfsdfs what is this? Me falling in love with two potential love interests for the love triangle?? oh no, not good, not good. *cries* is it too much to ask for both of them to be happy?

There was also Nash, the oldest brother of the 4, but I don't like him. There's something off about him and I just cant with him. Now Xander, the youngest one, is such a sweet cinnamon roll. The bright and happy one of the group... or so it seems. Who knows? I definitely can't wait to see more of him next book hehe

“Sometimes things that appear very different on the surface are actually exactly the same at their core.”

This has to be the first time that one of the first few guesses I made ended up being right?? I am beyond shocked. This needs to be marked in history. I, Lia Demonstairs, have actually guessed correctly.

ah, this feeling... so satisfying. But anyways, I had it from the beginning but throughout the book I kept changing because everyone was acting so sus. smh I still don't know who to trust!! what is this sorcery??

And that twist at the end --

Dear Authors, you cannot just end a book like that. You're literally killing us. And when we die, we cant read the 2nd book, and when we cant read the book, that hurts you so in the end we both suffer, right? So why not take pity on our poor mortal souls and not end it like that?? Thank you.

just kidding, the masochist in me loves this torture


Buddy read with some demons krizzie, mash, lucy, ish, charm, and devika.

i wish a billionare would leave me his fortune🥺
Profile Image for Erin.
89 reviews134 followers
September 10, 2021
I hate this book, I really hate it. I tried my best not to hate it but just couldnt do anything but hate it. Without further ado, here is my review rant.

Question 1: How did you find the characters?
A) Love (1 star)
B) Like (0.75 stars)
C) Okay (0.50 stars)
D) Dislike (0.25 stars)
E) Hate (0 stars)

Explain your answer:
The characters were teetering back and forth off of the cliff I call “tolerable” and into the chasm I call “annoying.” I had no love at all for any of the characters. I have no desire to go fight over the characters. They could all go fall in a hole and die, and I couldn’t care less. So now, to begin…
Avery: Level of annoyingness: 7.5/10 Avery is the teen who Tobias Hawthorn chose to inherit just about everything he had owned. (BILLIONS of dollars) She’s really annoying and I didn’t really see any personality in her. *shrug* Would I want to be her? Probably.
Jameson: Level of annoyingness: 10/10 Brother numero dos or tres. I honestly forgot at this point. He’s the rebellious brother who’s really annoying. 10 reasons why I find him annoying to support my 10/10 annoying meter rating:
1. Promptly goes to call Avery Mystery Girl
2. Because Avery didn’t like him calling her Mystery Girl, changes it to M.G. which stands for Mystery Girl.
3. Changes to calling her Heiress (which, mind you, she also didn’t like) because SHE DIDN’T LIKE THE FIRST TWO.
4. Sneaks into her room like a creepy stalker using a secret passage. Creepy x100.
5. Sprouts random nonsense that takes you too long to understand
"Everyone is going to want something from you soon, Heiress. The question is: How many of us want something you’re willing to give?”

6. More random nonsense:
"If I do what I should no more often than I say what I shouldn’t - then what does that make me?”

7. [insert more random nonsense here]
8. A few more things for the last three, but they’re spoilers so let’s leave it at this.
Grayson: Level of annoyingness 8/10 Grayson is also either brother numero dos or tres. He doesn’t really do much throughout the entire book. He’s just… kinda there? Still, he was annoying. He was annoying at the beginning and got even more annoying as the book progressed.
Xander: Level of annoyingness: 5/10 Brother numero cuatro. The youngest brother. I surprisingly didn’t find him as annoying as everyone else. *sigh of relief* I actually don’t remember half the things he did. Which might be the reason I find him less annoying. But
Nash: Level of annoyingness: 8/10 Brother numero uno. The oldest one. He has this aura about him that makes you want to cringe and die inside. and not in a melt-your-heart kind of good way. Just, eww. (I legit thought his name was Nate until 5 minutes ago)
Max: Level of annoyingness: 100000000/10 AND… DRUMROLL PLEASEEEE… THE MOST ANNOYING CHARACTER AWARD GOES TO MAX!!! [says sarcastically] CONGRATULATIONS!!! Here, I’m gonna put a few quotes that should explain it all:
”Are you foxing with me, beach?”
”Bull fox-faxing ship”
”What the everlasting mothing-foxing elf is going on here?”
And the best worst one:
Yes. THREE exclamation marks.

Do I ship?
Avery x Jameson? No. I couldn’t care less
Avery x Grayson? No. I also couldn’t care less
Avery x Xander? Why am I even putting this here? No.
Avery x Nash? Also, why am I even putting this here? No.
Avery x no one? The best option out of all of them. *points to screen* THIS ONE!

Question 2: How did you find the plot?
A) Love (1 star)
B) Like (0.75 stars)
C) Okay (0.50 stars)
D) Dislike (0.25 stars)
E) Hate (0 stars)

Explain your answer:
I had no idea what the plot was going into this book. Then when I began reading the book, I was like “wait- is there even a plot?” So confused. Then I eventually got around to reading the blurb thingy, and I was like [say in extremely dull tone] “oh.” I judged this book by the title, and I was expecting the characters to have to play a riddle and puzzle game to win the inheritance Tobias Hawthorn left behind. Which definitely would have been more interesting than *waves hands around in the air* whatever this was.

The plot follows Avery, a poor teen living in her car, who becomes the world’s youngest billionaire when Tobias Hawthorn leaves almost all of his inheritance to her. But, there’s a catch. Avery has to live in Hawthorn House, which is filled with secret passages and riddles, for at least one year, or else all of the money would be sent to charity. Naturally, the deceased Hawthorn guy’s family is… to put it mildly, jealous of her. To put it as it is, they’re feeling murderous. Now, Avery has to survive in the house for a year. Yes, I said survive. Because there’s danger waiting at every turn, yadda yadda. *rolls eyes in boring*

Question 3: How did you find the setting/worldbuilding?
A) Love (1 star)
B) Like (0.75 stars)
C) Okay (0.50 stars)
D) Dislike (0.25 stars)
E) Hate (0 stars)

Explain your answer:
The setting of this book takes place mostly in Hawthorn House. The secret passages and riddles that are hidden all over the house were kind of cool. But, I feel that it could have been explored further. We get to see… what? 3 secret passages the entire book? 2? And a map of the house would have been really nice. I felt like I had no idea where anything was in the supposedly huge house that the grandfather “added a new room or wing every year.

Question 4: How did you find the writing/POV/pacing?
A) Love (1 star)
B) Like (0.75 stars)
C) Okay (0.50 stars)
D) Dislike (0.25 stars)
E) Hate (0 stars)

Explain your answer:
The writing, was very average. Nothing special. Mediocre at best. Unless you’re counting Max dialogue. The suspense was nonexistent. The chapters were too short. WHY ARE THE CHAPTERS THAT SHORT.

The POV gets an annoying meter rating of 10000/10. We get a first-person POV from Avery, and just [insert screaming]. As if Avery wasn’t annoying enough, we have to get thoughts STRAIGHT FROM HER HEAD.

The pacing wasn’t altogether terrible, just boring. A little bit on the too-fast side. I didn’t find myself wanting to continue but just get it over with. AND WHY ARE THE CHAPTERS SO SHORT.

Question 5: How did you find the conflict/resolution?
A) Love (1 star)
B) Like (0.75 stars)
C) Okay (0.5 stars)
D) Dislike (0.25 stars)
E) Hate (0 stars)

Explain your answer:
I didn’t see that coming. But I had no idea what I was even supposed to see coming. It really wasn’t that surprising. Dull, like the rest of the book.

Total: (1/5)
Deductions & Bonuses:
-1 because i truly hated this book
Final Total: (2/5)

Other notes:
- I’m so glad I didn’t buy this book when I had the chance to. Oh, the horrors. *shudders*
- The sister is named Libby and I was reading this on Libby and I was laughing out loud like half the time.
- I sincerely apologize to anyone who loved this book, it just wasn't for me.

Other Reviews:
The Hawthorn Legacy: (UPDATE 9/9/21) the book is out and im in the mood to rant so yes, i will be reading and most likely ranting
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,537 reviews9,793 followers
May 31, 2023
Since her Mom passed away, Avery Grambs has had a rough go of it. She's been living with her half-sister, working as much as she can, while also trying to finish high school.

Avery wants to go to college, but at this rate, she's going to need to qualify for every scholarship known to man in order to be able to attend.

Making matters worse is the fact that her sister, Libby, as sweet as she is, has terrible taste in men. When her on-again-off-again boyfriend comes around, Avery goes as far as sleeping in her car to avoid him.

On a day that Avery is just about at the end of her rope, she receives an unbelievable invitation.

She is asked to attend the reading of the last will and testament of one, Tobias Hawthorne, an eccentric billionaire.

Without explanation, the recently deceased elder Hawthorne, decided to leave almost his entire estate to Avery. The only catch is, she needs to move into the extravagant Hawthorne House and live there continuously for a full year.

Sure, that sounds easy enough, but also residing in the manse are the family members that Tobias basically disinherited in favor of Avery. As you can imagine, they're not happy.

His four grandsons and their mother are understandably puzzled by the whole turn of events. Is Avery possibly a con-woman of some sort, come to steal their vast fortune?

Particularly intriguing to Avery, who is positive she's not a con-woman and entirely innocent of conspiring in this strange twist of fate, are Grayson and Jameson Hawthorne.

The two handsome brothers keep her fairly well occupied during her time in Hawthorne House. There's riddles, puzzles and games of all sorts, as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery behind the infamous Will.

I had a lot of fun with this story. It completely sucked me in. It was easy to sympathize with Avery and root for her once she started living at Hawthorne House.

The puzzles and riddles were super engaging. I loved that aspect; trying to figure it all out along with the characters.

I also enjoyed the hint of danger threaded throughout. Who was angry enough to try to take Avery out?

Inheritance stories are always fun for me; it's just a trope I tend to really enjoy. Family drama and secrets, backstabbing, plotting, revenge, confessions; it's a good time. What else can I say?

If you are looking for a fun and fast-paced YA-Mystery, with twist and turns galore, as well as intriguing and suspicious characters, you should definitely give this one a shot!

I am really looking forward to continuing on with this trilogy. Oh, the places it could go!
Profile Image for ale ‧ ₊˚୨୧ ₊˚.
398 reviews1,822 followers
July 28, 2022
2.5 stars.

“Sometimes things that appear very different on the surface are actually exactly the same at their core.”

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1. If you haven't read the book and want to, but don't want any spoilers, please don't read any further. It seems like I can't restrain myself when it comes to write a review without any single spoiler. I'm sorry, I didn't ask for this, lmao.

2. I'm sorry in advance because I tend to deviate from the main topic, like a lot. A lot.

While I was taking a shower and cutting my hair (this is what happens when you leave me alone for like 10 minutes with my own thoughts and with scissors very close), I had the time of writing my review in my mind because I'm the kind of person who has to do like 2 or 3 things at the same time or I get desperate. Multitasking? Perhaps. Let's call it like that.

So, let's begin because there's a lot to unpack.

I read a couple of reviews without spoilers saying that this book was like Knives Out and I really love Knives Out, so I picked it up and hoped for the best... Well, well, well, look how it turned out.

Avery Grambs is a common girl with a common YA life: absent parents, average girl with average appearance, a really smart student. So, everything's fine here. Until one day, she's summoned to Hawthorne House because it turns out that Avery inherits all the money that Tobias Hawthorne has in his will. A random girl with no connection or memories of Tobias Hawthorne is inheriting his entire fortune, like 100B dollar. (Holy shit, the amount of books that I'd buy with that money!)

But the thing is that everyone is asking who the hell is Avery Grambs, where did she come from? Why is Tobias Hawthorne picking her to inherit all of his money? Is there something special with this girl?

The plot:
I can't complain a lot. To be a mystery book, it was fine. Just fine. There wasn't anything special or that blew my mind and that you found me saying "holy shit, I didn't see that coming", because I honestly could guess many things, lmao. It was fast paced, which was cool. The beginning tho wasn't so gripping and interesting as I thought: it was rather boring and I really thought of dnf at chapter 13 or so, lmao.

However, there were many things that felt off for me. Like for example, how some chapters jumped to another things/situations totally different from the last chapter. Like we didn't have a proper closure or knew how things ended up. I don't know if I'm explaining myself because it seems like I suck at explaining, yikes.

The end of the book left me "???" because I had right one of my theories: Toby is alive. But, Toby being Harry was something that came out of the blue, why? Oh, because we didn't have any clue about it! I can't think of any clue that links Harry with being Toby, at all. My two theories for this (in the second book) is that he escaped to that fire to become a "regular" guy, or that he had a plan with his father, Tobias, I don't know to this point. This was really messy.


I don't hate her, tbh, but I'm not a big fan of bland girls. I found out that my girl over here and I share MBTI: we are INTJ. I'm not saying that I could have solved those puzzles really quick like she did, but, it doesn't seem a little bit... easy? I felt it that way, tho. (For being INTJ myself, I'm not like a smart person when it comes to numbers, that's why I picked up literature as my career, lol, but I love solving some problems) I don't know how to explain this, but I felt like everything was so easy for Avery and the Hawthorne brothers. I also want to know more of Avery, that she stands up for herself and stop being so bland. Honey, you're better than this, I know that.

I kind of liked him... Until I didn't. I came to totally dislike him. One moment he was okay for me and then he was being a total jerk. He was boring as hell. The only line where I agreed with thim was with this:

"Where are you going?"
"Hell, eventually".

Otherwise, I was rolling my eyes everytime he appeared. The kiss scene was really weird and awkward to me. Also, very disappointing. Jameson wasn't really thinking in Avery when he kissed her AFTER ALMOST BEING SHOT (I say almost because the Drake missed it and hit the tree). No, my dude over here was thinking about the mystery and possibly on Emily. He became grumpy towards the end just to give Grayson the space and chance to make his move with Avery.

I was hesitant with him being a total asshole. But I get it: he wanted to protect his family. I wanted to beat the shit out of him on the first chapters... And then, I was like "he's hot" and started to questioning myself about this fact. However, he, as his brothers and Avery, felt bland. Like, c'mon, dude, have a little more of personality. His lasts scenes with Avery, the romantic ones, were so random for me. One moment he was saying "stay away from my family" and the next one he was saying "I'm going to protect you". LIKE WHAT, HOW??

Xander; Nash:
They were actually my favorite characters, lmao. Xander is my favorite favorite (yes, x2), he's such a cutie and I kind of saw coming that he knew his grandpa's plan/game to keep them together. For me, it was very obvious since the moment that Xander said that he saw his brothers fight for win while he was close to his grandpa and ate with him. Xander is funny and charming. Nash also was okay, with his cowboy boots and his lazy smile. I can't complain of him, tho I wished he would've had some more of participation. I need more of these two boys, ok? ok.

Libby; Max:
Libby just was there. If she has a bigger purpose, then I want to know it. Just don't make her invisible or make her appear in key moments and then forget about her... Like the author did. (That's how I felt it). I want to know more of my goth girl. Max was okay, and she was totally right when she told Avery that she never asked her how she, Max, was feeling, if she was okay, etc. But that was it. We didn't see or knew anything else from Max anymore. Like, she gave her speech and then left the chat for good. The false swearing was getting into my nerves, please.

I for sure hated (in its entirety) the fact that 60% of the book was "Emily was like this...", "Emily would have done that...". Emily, Emily, Emily, and she's dead. I was getting exasperated. Is everything spinging around her?

I would have also liked to see more of the Hawthorne family, their struggles or things like that, their reasons to do what they do. Like the foundation that Zara was helping was only mentioned and explored ONCE and then, nothing. Nada. The school was not explored very well, or the kind of treats that Avery could have received there.

The romance/love triangle:
I'm not a big fan of love triangles... I'm not a fan of that trope. Period. Even more when they're not well developed and it's clear as day with whom the mc will end up with. It seemed like Jameson was pushing himself away from Avery just to give Grayson some space to make his "move", which was ridiculous and illogical. Avery was just a pawn.

I didn't feel any connection between Avery and Jameson, nor Avery and Grayson. I don't ship them because I don't think that they have chemistry or a spark. One moment, he's threatening Avery and the next one he's pinning for her. How did this happen? I was so confused by this. And I still am. The same guys who were "in love" with Emily are falling for Avery... Seriously?

I understand part of the hype for this book, I really do. But it wasn't for me. I don't know if I am the problem or what, but I found some characters annoying and bland, or some things unbelievable. Overall was okay, nothing new, nothing that blew my mind or left me shocked, just okay.

Am I going to pick up the second book to see how things go? Perhaps, If I'm on the mood, lmao.

With that money, you can pay me therapy, because after this book, I really need it.

previous review:

i'm gonna give you a chance. let's see if the hype is worth it, lmao
Profile Image for Haley pham.
63 reviews77.9k followers
November 7, 2021
4.5!!! I loved this book. So fun. Short chapters. Knives out vibes for sure. Loved the characters and the riddles did not dissapoint
Profile Image for Ali Goodwin.
143 reviews11.9k followers
May 11, 2022
um… WOW. I did not expect this to be a 5 star read but it definitely is!! First of all, the plot is wild. Avery is just a normal high schooler, but then one day she finds out she’s inheriting billions of dollars from a random guy and she has no idea why. And she has to live with his disinherited family. And that family includes 4 brothers around Avery’s age.

The mystery of the inheritance is definitely the main plot but the romance was also 👌🏻. And I was on the edge of my seat the entire time as the characters try and solve riddles and look for clues to find the reason behind the inheritance.

Would highly recommend! I will be reading the sequel immediately
Profile Image for Grace (kanej & evajacks' version) .
234 reviews138 followers
May 25, 2023
♧ Reread #1:

Rereading this was literally so so fun!! 🤭🤭❤❤ Loved this series the first time round, so I had such a great time revisiting these characters and this story 🥰 I'd honestly completely forgotten the mystery, so some of the twists actually surprised me on the second time round too!! 🤭😂 So yeah, this series is amazing and deserves all the hype 💖💖

Also, I'm still #TeamGrayson. GRAYSON SUPERIORITY 👊❤


Rereading ❤❤ I loved this series the first time round, so I'm so excited to read it again 🥳🥳


Original review:

This was SO GOOD!👌 I DEFINITELY understand the hype now. The Inheritance Games was a twisty, entertaining mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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

Firstly, the characters. This book was from the point of view of Avery Grambs, a teenage girl who suddenly inherited an enormous fortune from billionaire Tobias Hawthorne, a guy she'd never met. His will said that, for her to get the money, she had to move into Hawthorne House, the sprawling, mystery-filled home of the wealthy Hawthorne family. Once she's moved in, she teams up with the handsome grandsons of Tobias Hawthorne to solve the mystery of why she inherited that money.

I really liked Avery as a character. She was genuinely likeable and smart, and reading from her point of view was really enjoyable! However, despite being a great heroine, she is by no means the star of the show. Nope, that's definitely the Hawthorne grandsons themselves.😏🤭

~ Grayson, the cold, calculating businessman
~ Jameson, the trickster and troublemaker
~ Xander, scone-obsessed and really fun
~ And Nash, the cowboy

My favourite was Grayson, for obvious reasons, but I found them all intriguing and complex characters. Jameson was a really interesting (and sometimes confusing) character and I have a lot of respect for Xander's scone obsession (I mean, who doesn't love scones). As for Nash, I'm not an enormous fan of his, but I think there's a lot more to be discovered about him. I'm really looking forward to learning more about him and his brothers in the Hawthorne Legacy. 😁

As for the romance, I'm firmly #TeamGrayson. WE LOVE THE COLD BUSINESSMAN ♥️

“As awful as it sounds, money is power, and power is magnetic.”

Now, onto the writing style. I'm a HUGE fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes' writing style- it's rather simplistic, but this makes the book really easy to enjoy. I think the simplicity of the writing style really worked in this context, especially as it contrasted with the complex plot & characters. I really hope to read more of Jennifer Lynn Barnes' work in the future. 😏😏

“Traps upon traps. And riddles upon riddles.”

And lastly, the plot. THE PLOT. It was AMAZING!! I expected a great mystery, and it definitely delivered. With the plot being at a really fast pace and having twists & turns at every corner, I was riveted and absolutely desperate to find out more. AND THAT CLIFFHANGER---- 🤯🤯🤯🤯


“He left you the fortune, Avery, and all he left us is you.”

Overall, I loved this!! I would definitely recommend this if you are looking for a fun mystery with great plot twists & an awesome cast of characters. I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel! 😁💖

~ 4 stars


Really enjoyed this! Definitely the fun and twisty mystery I was hoping for. 😁 💕 RTC!
Profile Image for myo ✧༺ ༘♡ ༻∞.
742 reviews6,482 followers
October 24, 2020
one day i hope to be as much of a bad bitch as nan is

going into this book i was a bit nervous because everyone said it was like knives out and when a book is compared to something i love i get nervous because they usually don't compare but this one definitely is amazing, it isn't too much like knives out actually. it also reminds me of the princess diaries and i'm not just saying that because there was a makeover scene.

this book has great characters, the main character is so likable! and it has my favorite trope where a girl has to live with a bunch of brothers who are stand offish. it has a love triangle which i LOVE! but most importantly the mystery kept me on my toes. it's not very much a thriller but i still highly recommend this book!
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,236 reviews26.6k followers
September 30, 2020
This was just alright for me. Maybe it's because I'm not super into young adult anymore, but I don't know I expected to love this book because of the comparison to Knives Out. This book was fine, the first 100 pages or so was exciting but after that I started to lose interest, and I could've done without the love triangle. I also didn't realize this book is the first in a series and was disappointed by a cliffhanger ending.
Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
497 reviews1,143 followers
December 6, 2022
That old man really did have a lot of free time and nothing better to do. He must be laughing up at them from hell.
Profile Image for Madita.
522 reviews18.9k followers
September 28, 2022
I want to reread this already.

The mystery in here was amazing. I was so invested and wanted to solve all the riddles. I took breaks to solve the riddles because I wanted to be fully in the story.

I loved Avery and her entire story. Her development was really interning and I loved seeing how invested she got in solving the riddles the longer she stayed at the Hawthorne house.
Her relationship with Xander and Libby were definitely my favorite.
And I was team Jameson. I kept trying to compare it to how Juliette first fell for Adam and then Warner because everyone was team Grayson but nope.
I am a fan of Jameson till the day I die. I loved his introductions and the mistakes he made were one not fun but two made sense for what character he was supposed to portray.

Now I do need to mention that Grayson and Jameson need to go too therapy because these people hate themselves more than I hate myself and I go to therapy.

I also really liked the development of the plot and the secrets were revealed in a way that made the tension rise and rise. The pacing was also really nice and since I was invested from the beginning, the foreshadowing and little hints were visible at times but after reading the reveals, all of them were clear.
I think that was my favorite part because I could really tell that everything was planned out even before Jennifer started writing the first page.
Sometimes authors come up with the plot as they go on with the story but it was clear how everything was thought through and it was amazing.

The Hawthorne brothers were also all great individual characters and here are my rankings for them:
Nash is my husband I do not care what anybody say. I have never been attracted to a guy with a cowboy hat so this was funny.
Team Jameson for Avery. Sometimes I wanted Avery to just be team avery.
Xander is my best friend and we would solve riddles together.
Grayson is too much like me and hates himself.

last note: Using Max as a comedic relief by not cussing was annoying
Profile Image for Coco Day.
105 reviews2,424 followers
April 14, 2022

it gave me the same vibes as Truly Devious and A Good Girls Guide To Murder (both of which i’m obsessed with) and it’s so satisfying figuring out the puzzles with them

i also enjoyed the character stories along side the mystery solving but i do find it hard to believe the reason for the whole game and think there must be something more to it!
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
January 15, 2021
A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

i am very much a fan of knives out and not so much of One of Us Is Lying, but fortunately for me, this is only like that book in that it is a fast-paced distraction-read. and YA. to me, it was like knives out meets the liza, bill, and jed series by peggy parish that i devoured as a kid, loving its scavenger-hunt mysteries and solve-along word-nerd clues. but i guess no one reads those anymore. they should. you should.

the 'inheritance' part of this title is indeed very similar to knives out—a tension-filled will-reading with all the assembled heirs getting less than they'd expected, side-eyeing the charity case who's just been left billions by their eccentric relation. in this case, however, there's no suspicion of foul play, and the recipient of the money isn't the kindly care worker whose years of service have made her part of the family, it's a sixteen-year-old orphan who's been living with her half-sister (or, occasionally, in her car) with no connection to the family whatsoever, and no idea why she's been left this fortune along with a note from the deceased that simply says, "I'm sorry."

and then the 'games' part of the title begins! because our dead billionaire liked a good puzzle, had a penchant for building secret passageways and hidden compartments and for pitting his four high-performing teenage grandsons against each other in competitive games featuring codes and wordplay and secrets. and avery grambs—this stranger in their midst—may be just another puzzle for the boys to crack.

it's all short chapters and intrigue—a one-sitting book if you don't have to spend time baking snickerdoodle cheesecake and, while not without its problems, it is super-fun and will hold your attention and keep you from watching the news.

yes, virginia, there are love triangles. there's a love triangle in the present-day narrative, there's a love triangle in the backstory-narrative, and—since there's a sequel on the horizon, it's safe to assume there's gonna be a love triangle in the future.

it's not the book's best feature, but it doesn't overshadow the WHY WE'RE HERE of the story—which is for the puzzles and passageways. it helps that avery isn't dominated by her hormones—for the most part, she's practical and unfussy, smart and normal-person brave (as opposed to mary sue YA heroine brave).

i will say, however, that these people are as casual about attempted murder as their mom is casual about being nekkid 'round the house mega-mansion.

show me the science on that scene, please, because deeply embedded beggars belief.

the ending is a bit of a weeeeelllll, and so much of the book is a house of cards made out of convenient coincidences and fortunate stumbles orchestrated by an all-knowing master of foresight, but if you're turning to these kinds of books for your mirror-up-to-life fix, you're doing it wrong.

i still have questions, and i expect some of them will be answered in the sequel, but i fear i may never learn who is in charge of stocking the fridge in a secret wing behind a combination lock with AN ARRAY of novelty sodas, all for the benefit of someone who comes and goes like a tomcat. also, where can i get a bacon and jalapeño soda?

i hope the sequel sheds some light on this matter. in fact, i hope it is the sequel's central mystery.


1/7/21: today is definitely the day for an escapist book!


pre-review review: it strains credulity, but it's really fun.

plus, i got the bn exclusive edition with the extra chapter, so i apologize to all the indie bookstores.

full review to come.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Nicole.
443 reviews13.4k followers
May 3, 2022
No cóż, nie bawiłam się dobrze.
Mnóstwo schematów, niepotrzebnych fragmentów. Duże rozczarowanie
Profile Image for krista ☽✧.
172 reviews525 followers
March 11, 2021
“Sometimes things that appear very different on the surface are actually exactly the same at their core.”

Buddy read with the precious midnight mansion ; Lucy , demon Lia , Ish , Mashiee and Charms <3 love...

Okay first i have too say this WHY is this compared too one of us is lying. The blurb says '' for fans of one of us is lying '' i personally hated one of us is lying , it has a poor offensive mental health rep used as a plot twist and is full of highschool drama and high school tropes also its a murder mystery? This isnt that at all so i really dont get the comparing but oh well. Needed too get this off my chest first. So if you like me hate one of us is lying , still give this a shot cause its nothing a like.

The inheritance games By Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the first book in the inheritance games series. Its a mystery that takes place in a huge mansion with huge mansion vibes and secret passages and hiding places and lots of libaries [ can i life here please ? , i loved the vibes it gave off i could see myself playing hide and seek there ] that bellonged too Tobias Hawthrone who has died [ rip] and now the rest of the family still lives there with on the main focus in this book , his 4 rich grandsons. Then we have Avery , the main charracter who lives a poor life and is suddenly brought too this mansion and is told that Tobias , who she doesnt know at all has left her all his money and belongings including the house :o so she is a billionaire in one second. The mystery focusses on Avery trying too find out why a man she doesnt know left her everything and his own family almost nothing while she also gets in the life of the Hawthorne grandsons.

The plot this book was for me an enjoyable mystery read , i liked the setting in the house and the mystery the boys have and the whole family. i felt like i was standing besided Avery finding everything out or even was her. We have a lot of clues and i liked getting them together and thinking about them and everytime a bit more is revealed which kept me on my toesss. The ending i personally found meh. It basically has two plottwistst/answers kinda + a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger i loved and one of the twistst , the other one had me a bit meh , i expected more of that.

Charracters We have the main charracter Avery Nash nash is kinda weird idk i dindnt love him , he basically doesnt want anything too do with the money. Then we have Grayson the second oldest son who is a grumpy one and doesnt trust Avery and things she is faking her '' i dont know anything '' thing. Gayson i liked more as the book continued , then we have Jameson I STAN JAMESON. This boy aaah. he is sassy , he is is moral grey , can we trust him ? oh also can we trust any of these brothers and this family hm? and then we have Xander the youngest brother who is a lil cupcake and loves scones and is very witty , i also enjoyed him. but can we trust ? HM. might. i liked the mystery aspect the family and the brothers have and their dynamic with Avery.

Romance there isnt a lot of romance we basically have kinda a love triangle between Grayson + Avery and Jameson + Avery. I liked the interactions between them but i liked Jameson and Avery the most. I didnt really mind the love triangle ish here.

Overall i think this is a good fun mystery book that has lots of great vibes and i loved figuring all of the things out and was kept on my toes the entire time. I finished it in two settings so yay. I reccomend if you want a fun mystery that is set in a rich people house.
Profile Image for Ayman.
202 reviews76.2k followers
January 23, 2021
I love this book so much. I haven’t read this genre in so long and this is like a breath of fresh air. I need a second book immediately. I love these characters and it was so fun to read. It’s only getting four stars because it was kind of slow
Profile Image for Cas.
96 reviews512 followers
September 7, 2022
If yes is a no and once is never. How many sides does a triangle have?

I am still not over that riddle because how tf do you get 2?

Anyway, I liked the plot and the writing style. The characters were interesting too. Sexy brothers, arrogant women, way too much money. We all love that.
The tension was there and you never know who the main love interest really is. The plot twists were pretty unpredictable for me as well. Especially the ending🌚
Basically, a nice light read.

It consists of way too many and too short chapters, which many people like. Truly, I don’t have anything too bad to say about it. But damn this book put me into a mini reading slump. Idk why, it could be a me problem but I’d rather blame the book.

P.S. When will a random billionaire die and leave everything to me?🥲

The Hawthorne Legacy review
The Final Gambit review
Profile Image for sandy.
159 reviews
February 1, 2021
this is just a modern take on the 'white girl is very special but no one knows why and has to choose between two virtually identical white Boys who r both in love with her for some reason whatever will She do ?' also idc about billionaires so can someone give me 5 reasons as to why i read this
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