Are you ready to dive into a world of mystery, secrets, and unexpected twists?

Look no further than "The Inheritance Games" series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. This young adult novel series takes readers on a thrilling journey alongside Avery Kylie Grambs as she navigates the enigmatic world of the Hawthorne family.

With five books in the amazing book series, including the upcoming new release "Games Untold," there's no shortage of suspense and intrigue to keep you hooked from beginning to end.

Join Avery as she unravels the mysteries left behind by billionaire Tobias Hawthorne and embarks on a quest for the truth. Get ready to be captivated by the gripping storyline and unforgettable characters in "The Inheritance Games" series.

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The Inheritance Games

Avery Grambs is a girl who unexpectedly inherits billionaire Tobias Hawthorne's fortune, despite never having met him. As part of the inheritance, Avery must live in the Hawthorne family mansion with Tobias's disinherited family members.

The story unfolds with riddles, puzzles, hidden passageways, juicy secrets, thrilling twists, and a touch of romance. Avery navigates the mysterious world of the Hawthornes and uncovers the truth behind her sudden inheritance.

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Book Details


The Inheritance Games


Jennifer Lynn Barnes (bestselling author)

My rating



Mystery, Young Adult, Romance, Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller




Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date

September 1, 2020


Inheritance Games Series

Other books in the series

"The Hawthorne Legacy" (Book 2), "The Final Gambit" (Book 3), "The Brothers Hawthorne" (Book 4), "Games Untold" (Book 5)

Spice Level


Want to know more about how I rate spice in the books I read? Go here.

Tropes & Themes


Forced proximity

Love triangle

Dark Secret


Rags to Riches Quest

Family secrets

Wealth and inheritance


Fans of Knives Out will likely love this book

This book was a hit, making it onto the New York Times bestseller list and ranking in the top 100 books on Amazon in 2020. It was even nominated for the Best Young Adult Mystery award at the Edgar Awards.

Spoiler-free Review

In the beginning, I was instantly drawn into the story. The concept of an unexpected inheritance and the mystery surrounding the Hawthorne family hooked me. I couldn't wait to follow Avery Grambs on her quest for truth as she unraveled the secrets left behind by billionaire Tobias Hawthorne.

However, as I reached the middle of the book, I have to admit that my excitement started to wane. The plot twists began to feel a bit predictable, and I longed for more original surprises. Despite this, the author's skill in maintaining my interest should not go unnoticed. Barnes weaves an intricate web of hidden secrets that still manage to keep me turning the pages.

Just when I thought my disappointment might outweigh my enjoyment, the ending came crashing in with an unexpected cliffhanger that left me wanting more.

It may have its moments of predictability and a touch of disappointment, but the characters the storyline, and the desire for answers will keep you engaged until the very end.

In-depth Review

While I will discuss some plot details, I will not cover every intricate detail of the narrative. If you don't want any spoilers, proceed with caution as I delve into my thoughts on this book.

What is the book The Inheritance Games about?

The Inheritance Games drops us into the world of Avery Kylie Grambs, a high school student from Connecticut, who is no stranger to hardship. With her mother gone and her father absent, Avery lives with her half-sister Libby and works as a waitress to help support them. Despite facing challenges, Avery is intelligent, ambitious, and skilled at games like chess and numbers - traits that catch the attention of the billionaire Tobias Hawthorne.

When Avery unexpectedly finds herself named in Tobias's will, she and Libby journey to Texas for the reading. There, they meet the Hawthorne family, including Tobias's four grandsons: Nash, Grayson, Jameson, and Xander. The Hawthornes are shocked and outraged to discover that Avery is the main beneficiary of Tobias's vast fortune, with one condition - she must move into the sprawling, secret-passage-filled Hawthorne House and live there for a year to inherit.

As Avery settles into her new home, she becomes entangled in a complex puzzle left behind by Tobias. Determined to uncover the reasons behind his decision to leave his estate to her, Avery follows the trail of clues he left behind.

She discovers each room in Hawthorne House is filled with clues and challenges that lead to hidden secrets. Throughout her journey, Avery faces numerous challenges and encounters suspicious characters who may have ulterior motives. She must navigate the complexities of the Hawthorne family dynamics, where secrets and rivalries run deep. Avery also has to contend with the constant media attention and scrutiny from the public, who question her worthiness of the fortune.

As Avery delves further into the puzzle and grows closer to the intelligent brothers, a love triangle develops. Grayson, the serious eldest brother, and Jameson, the rebellious yet charismatic middle brother, both vie for Avery's attention.

This adds an element of romance and tension to the story, as Avery tries to balance her feelings with her mission to uncover the truth. Avery discovers shocking revelations about the Hawthorne family's past and uncovers dark secrets that some will do anything to protect.

My final thoughts

One thing that stood out to me in this book was the cast of characters. At the center of it all is Avery Grambs, who unexpectedly inherits the entire fortune of the mysterious Hawthorne family, thrusting her into their tangled web of drama. The Hawthorne brothers, each with their distinct personalities, really added depth and complexity to the story.

Now, let's talk about romance. While I'm not usually a fan of love triangles, I have to admit that the one in this book was interesting. Avery's conflicting feelings for the brothers added an extra layer of tension and excitement to the narrative. However, I couldn't help but wish that the author had made a clearer choice about Avery's romantic interest. The idea of brothers vying for her affection felt a bit uncomfortable at times, and I think I would've been more invested if they weren't related.

But what really kept me turning the pages was the unraveling of the Hawthorne family secrets. Learning more about Tobias and his motivations for leaving Avery his fortune was truly fascinating. Sure, some parts of the mystery were a bit predictable, but I still enjoyed the journey of discovery.

And just when you think you've got it all figured out, the book hits you with a great cliffhanger ending. Avery's recollection of a chance encounter with Tobias from her childhood brought me right back into the story. I must admit, I was feeling a bit bored in the middle, but that ending left me craving for more.

And then, as Avery delves deeper into the mystery, she stumbles upon a photo that stops her dead in her tracks. It turns out that the homeless man she played chess with is Toby, Tobias' supposedly deceased son, whom she knows as Harry. I couldn't believe it.

The excitement grew when Xander's involvement in the game at Tobias' request was revealed, followed by him receiving a letter to find Toby. This left me eagerly anticipating the next book. Overall, The Inheritance Games was a solid read, although it didn't completely blow me away.

Thanks for reading!