Recommended Age: 13+
Tags: Competition, Diversity, Drama, Romance
- Mild violence: Scenes with lightly detailed physical attaches, including use of guns, as well as brief details of physical abuse.
- Mild sexuality: One brief kissing scene, allusions to sexual flings, and a mention of infertility.
- Mild language: Threats and use of fear.
Avery Kylie Grambs has always been an expert at calculating risks. With no parents or college fund, she knows she has to work for everything she accomplishes. She knows exactly how well she needs to do in school in order to get into the university, sacrificing extra study time for extra shifts, and has carefully selected the most practical major for her skillset.
But then Grayson Hawthorne shows up with a private jet and a will declaring her a billionaire.
Avery has never met Tobias Hawthorne, but now she has to live in his huge mansion of clues and secrets for a year in order to inherit the fortune. While Avery gets to know the house and all its tricks, she also warms up to the Hawthornes. She needs all the help she can get if she’s going to unravel Tobias Hawthorne’s last riddle: Why her?
In The Inheritance Games, Jennifer Lynn Barnes shows her love of secret passageways, chess, poker, and education. She has a doctorate degree in psychology, and it shows in her writing. The connections she shows in all the clues and codes are impressive, and every detail is deliberate.
Something small that really stands out is the school Avery transfers to. She moves into this billionaire puzzle house and starts going to the same school as the Hawthorne boys. There could have just been a private tutor that kept Avery in the house more, but Barnes uses this super fancy private school to show how education should be focused towards cultivating interests at a young age. It was a small detail, but it added to the overall tone of the best ways to make a difference. Obviously, this book is a mystery full of secret tunnels and insanely vague notes, but when someone poor inherits billions of dollars, it’s hard to avoid the topic of distributing wealth and the most effective ways to support people.
The characters are as colorful as the mansion, especially the four brothers. Siblings are always fun to read about, and these four definitely have their history. Nash is a southern gentleman with a soft spot for charity cases and no interest in his family’s legacy. Grayson is the serious businessman who carries himself like a king, or like a disinherited protégé that doesn’t believe in coincidences. Jameson is the irreverent joker with nothing to lose, and Xander is the genius inventor who is always hunting scones. Between Grayson keeping a suspicious eye on Avery, Jameson entertaining her with exploring the house, and Xander blowing up robots, there is never a dull moment.
Avery also has a sibling, a half sister named Libby, who gets to come along for the ride and stress bake dozens of cupcakes in one of several kitchens that the house contains. I very much relate to Libby’s sweet tooth. I would love a chef’s kitchen with all the bells and whistles, the baking would never cease.
The sweet moments between sisters and comedic antics of the younger Hawthorne boys lighten the tone of the book. There are so many secrets and mysteries, and a few threats and moments of danger, but most of all are the methodical sequences of solving puzzles and hunting riddles that only lead to more questions. Any fans of mystery, libraries, cupcakes, and secret passageways will love this book.
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