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The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists.

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.

Goodreads Summary

I came across this book at the perfect time - I was applying for residencies and it was the Fall. There's something about this season that meshes perfectly with this title. 

I loved Avery. She remained loyal to her sister, Libby, despite her sister's repetitive mistakes regarding an abusive boyfriend. She had a healthy level of suspicion regarding her new inheritance and the Hawthorne family. I thought that she stayed open to possible romance and mystery and rarely closed herself off from the reader. Each Hawthorne boy added further intrigue to the list of characters: mysterious Grayson, handsome and slightly depressed Jameson, playful Xander, and country-boy Nash. There was a bit of a love triangle between Avery, Jameson, and Grayson that the author juxtaposed with Jameson's, Grayson's, and Emily's doomed romance. 

The setting of the book was ornately described and the mysterious clues were interspersed throughout the book in a way that keeps the reader holding onto the book throughout the day. This is definitely a book I would have been reading when I should have been studying. I found it impossible to put down. Rags to riches is a fun concept to imagine for most readers and the author does this plot well. I loved everything from the fancy private school to the searching for clues in the Black Woods. I often wondered how the author kept everything straight in order to fully elaborate on the mystery and have it all come to a (bit) of a conclusion. The ending was a cliffhanger and I can't wait to pick up the next in the series!

5 Stars

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