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Title: The Inheritance Games (#1 The Inheritance Games)

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Published: 3rd of September 2020 – Penguin

Format: Paperback – 384 pages

Hello Hello! How are you?

I’m kicking September and this new week off with yet again another blog tour organised by Dave from @The_WriteReads. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I love Dave’s tours, he offers amazing books and I definitely recommend getting on his blog tour list, you’ll not be disappointed!

I was so excited when Dave announced the tour for this book, I haven’t read any other books by this author yet, but I love YA mysteries and the blurb just pulled me in. I was also lucky enough to receive a free physical copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, so thank you so much to Dave and to Penguin for sending it to me. All opinions are my own.

Now, on to this awesome book, I can’t wait to tell you all about it!


A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists, perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.

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.


The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a YA mystery. In this book, we meet Avery, our main character, just as her life is turned upside down as she learns that she has inherited nearly the whole estate of Tobias Hawthorne, a philanthropist and multi-billionaire. She moves into the Hawthorne House and meets the four grandsons who were supposed to inherit, but have been left with nothing.

Ever since I read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, I’ve been obsessed by YA mysteries, probably because I spent all my teenage years watching and rewatching Pretty Little Liars aha. This book immediately appealed to me, I love mysteries and even though I prefer murder mysteries, this one really took me by surprise, I laughed out loud multiple times and I just flew through it!


This book is set in the United States, and Hawthorne House is on a massive estate in Texas. Avery now owns this house, along with hundreds of other assets, including a sports team, a hotel and a bowling alley, in her new house! I’m not a massive fan of reading books where a massive fortune is part of the plot, but I really didn’t mind it here as Avery is not a greedy person. I’ll tell you more about her in a bit, but first I wanted to talk about the House, yes, it has a capital H.

This house was so cool, right from the start, Avery is blown away by what she has inherited and even at the end of the book I’m not sure she even knows the scope of what is now hers. This house is absolutely immense, on a massive estate and it has so many rooms. There wasn’t really much of a setting in the sense of world-building in my opinion, but the house and it’s secrets more than made up for it and I really enjoyed discovering the house with Avery and the brothers.


Avery: Avery is the main character of this book. A few years before the events of this book, her mum died and she went to live with her half-sister. We meet Avery when she is in a quite bad place in life, she is sleeping in her car because her sister got back with her abusive ex-boyfriend and Avery was sick of it. I thought Avery was a really great character, she is only 17, but she is so intelligent, a quick-thinker, she is older than her years and wise, she has gone through a lot but she is not greedy and wants to change the world for the better thanks to her inheritance. I really liked her character, and how she evolved throughout the book, I don’t often absolutely adore a character, but here I did and I can’t wait to read more!

Libby: Libby is Avery’s sister and I have to admit that even though their relationship is really sweet, I didn’t really like her. I felt like she was almost a bit mean towards Avery a few times, and even though you can tell she loves her and wants to protect her, sometimes she came across as a bit weird to me.

Nash: Nash is the oldest Hawthorne brother. We don’t really get to know that much about him, other than he wants to save people. I honestly can’t say much more about him because we only really see him a few times, but I’m hoping he will be more present in the second book.

Alexander: Xander is the youngest and probably nicest brother. He’s the baby of the family, but he is also the genius in a way. I was really surprised by his character and I thought that he was kind and trying to look out for Avery. I can’t say too much about any of these characters really or I’ll give some spoilers away, but I think I did quite like Xander and I think that he will be the focus of the second book!

Grayson: Grayson is one of the middle brothers and he is totally the dark, mysterious one, I still have no idea what I think of him as he was quite difficult to understand, but I want to know more. I have to say I would gravitate toward this brother the most, I have no idea why, but I got kind of good vibes from him even though he did his best to push Avery away. I want to learn more about him, along with Nash, I think they are kind of the caretakers and protectors of the family.

Jameson: I would definitely call Jameson the badboy of the family. We see the most of him as he works with Avery to uncover the riddles and mysteries in Hawthorne House. I have to say, all of the brothers are what you could call hateable and loveable characters, I hated them all and loved them all within a few pages, it jumped back and forth but Jameson really annoyed me, and I also totally loved him, do you know what I mean? I think the next book will take a step back from the focus of the book and we will see more of Xander, but I am still totally clueless as to what is going on between Avery, Grayson and Jameson.

Tobias: Tobias is dead, but he is such an important part of this book, he is the one who leaves basically his whole estate and worldly treasures to Avery, he also leaves a letter to Avery and each grandson. I can’t say more because you really need to read this book for yourself, but even though Tobias is dead, he is still playing and manipulation and giving riddles and dropping secrets and I can’t wait for the next book and the next riddles, it was such a great reading experience and it was also cool getting to know Tobias through his family and his house.


Inheriting a fortune/enemies: I’m not usually a fan of this theme as I don’t like when books have a money plot in them, but I actually surprised myself by how much I enjoyed this book and the money/inheritance aspect of it. Avery is such an intelligent and witty young girl but she has really struggled in life, she inherits the money and she could literally go out and splash the lot, but she doesn’t and I loved that this book has this theme, without the characters being shallow and greedy. The brothers and the family are sort of greedy and money-orientated because they’ve always had it and aren’t used to basically owning nothing, but because Avery is new to this world, I think it makes it so much more intriguing to see what she does and why. Avery also gets a lot of enemies because of her inheritance, and I’ll leave it at that because this book is binge-worthy and you need to read it right now.

Teenagers: Again, I don’t read that many books with teenagers anymore, but I really like when it’s done well like this and they aren’t immature. They probably aren’t wholly mature in this book either you could say, but there is more of an adult side to them and their relationships which I like, I like when characters are more developed and I especially love to see such intelligent, great teenagers all coming together trying to work out riddles and such.

Family: This book has so many family secrets! I really enjoyed reading it and discovering all their secrets and having little reveals throughout the book. They are a family that wasn’t close emotionally, but what they lacked in love and emotion, they more than made up for with riddles and secrets. I still feel like there is so much more to learn about this family, I want to know more about Nan (I think I like her), and even though I hated Skye and Zara, I also want to find out more about them. Tobias is the patriarch of this family and he definitely lives on through all of them.

Mysteries/riddles/secrets: This was my absolute favourite part of the plot, I’m not that big a fan of the other ones individually, but all together, and especially paired with these themes just really made this book for me. I love reading books with mysteries and riddles, games, secret passageways and this book has all of those things. I also really liked how this was executed as you only work out things when they are also worked out by the characters. There were loads of riddles in this book, it was really fun to read and I am so excited for the second book. Also, if anyone has any YA mystery recommendations, please tell me about them in the comments, I think I’m currently in a book hangover.


Overall, this book was GREAT. I actually laughed out loud, loudly, multiple times, I even scared my fiancé once and that attests to how funny, witty, intelligent, fast-paced and well-written this book was – if you know me, you know virtually nothing in books makes me laugh. This book had some great dialogue and really good comebacks between the characters, I’m not a fan of snide remarks and such, but I liked how everything was a game, this whole book is a game and I really enjoyed it.

I loved getting to know the characters and even though I hate them all, I also love them all and I need more from them. I think that the four brothers and Avery have a great character dynamic when they were trying to work out the riddles, I love when things fall into place seamlessly and this was one of those instances. I loved Avery, she is a great, strong-willed and determined young lady and I can’t wait for the second book to find her again and see what new riddles she has to solve.

The writing style was great, really fluid, the pacing was also really good and this was just a good book on the whole, definitely binge-worthy and I’m definitely going to be reading more books by this author while I wait (for the insanely long time) for the next book to be released. I gave this book 4 stars, I highly recommend it, it was fantastic. I just felt that the ending was maybe a tad rushed and I would have liked a few more answers and maybe for it to be a bit more precise, but other than that I loved it. You can find my ASPECTS rating breakdown below.

Thank you once again to Dave for letting me be part of this tour, as always it was amazing! And thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of this book, it’s a beautiful addition to my shelves and I can’t wait to add more books by this author next to it!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post and will consider picking up this book, I guarantee that you’ll be missing out if you don’t. See you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx


Atmosphere – 6

Start – 7

Pacing – 8

Ending – 6

Characters – 7

Theme – 8

Style – 7

Total = 49


Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed young adult novels. She has advanced degrees in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science, including graduate degrees from Cambridge University, where she was a Fulbright Scholar, and Yale University, where she received her Ph.D. in 2012. Jen wrote her first published novel when she was nineteen-years-old and sold her first five books while still in college. In addition to writing YA novels, Jen has also written original pilot scripts for television networks like USA and MTV, and she is one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of fandom and the cognitive science of fiction and the imagination more broadly. Jen is an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma, where she holds a dual appointment in Psychology and Professional Writing.

Jennifer’s Links: WebsiteTwitter

If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Audible FR (affiliate link) – Amazon USWaterstonesBarnes and NobleAudible UKKobo

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  1. That’s awesome that it made you laugh! I love when a book can make me laugh out loud but it doesn’t happen that often.

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