The Inheritance Games

- Jennifer Lynn Barnes


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.



When I was a kid, my mom constantly invented games. The Quiet Game. The Who Can Make Their Cookie Last Longer? Game. A perennial favorite, The Marshmallow Game involved eating marshmallows while wearing puffy Goodwill jackets indoors, to avoid turning on the heat. The Flashlight Game was what we played when the electricity went out. We never walked anywhere—we raced. The floor was nearly always lava. The primary purpose of pillows was building forts.


not my cup of tea:
I’m struggling to articulate my disappointment in The Inheritance Games. I usually like to have at least some positive aspects to discuss, but the longer I think about what to say, the more I want to keep dropping stars off of the rating.

Let’s start with the characters. Avery starts out promising as an overlooked, unwanted teenager, working hard to provide for herself but so kindhearted that she’s also looking after others around her. But this facade is dropped pretty quickly once we arrive in Texas, and the more time we spend with her, the more selfish she becomes. And it’s not the money; it’s the drama. Her best friend always has to listen to her problems with no reciprocation, her sister is going through some pretty big things, but it’s pushed aside for some nonsense game, and she changes her mind about with rich teenager she wants to be with based on who is standing in front of at that particular moment. Not to mention, someone has died (well, two somebodies, but Emily’s death seems to be much more important than the death that brings them all together), she has zero details about what happened, but she chooses to bring it up every chance she gets as a way to poke and prod at others and get information out of them. Then we have four brothers who Barnes tried to differentiate by giving them wildly different characteristics, but they’re just Hawthornes. Because barely a chapter goes by without having to acknowledge how important and strange the Hawthornes are – because, didn’t you know, having money is a personality trait?

I started that paragraph, and it just got away from me. I told you the more you think about this book, the more you realise how bad everything was, like the whole mystery aspect here. We get it; you’re rich. You spent your entire lives tormenting each other, playing mind games, and competing against each other because you didn’t have to worry about anything else happening in the world. I was very interested to find out why at the beginning – why Avery? But the longer this ‘game’ went on, the less I cared about it. Which is good because the reveal was so benign it was like an after-school special with a creepy stalker surveillance twist.
Let’s not mention that the whole ‘Avery is kind to others’ part that is supposed to make us like her at the beginning here turns out to have been a contrived plot point to set up The Hawthorne Legacy
I finished The Inheritance Games, not really sure what I was supposed to get out of it. I’m trying to be better at giving up on series that are complete nonsense, but I think I’m going to give The Hawthorne Legacy a chance. There’s such a disconnect between how popular these books are and what happened in The Inheritance Games; there’s got to be something here, right?



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