Review: The Inheritance Games

Rouse Reads book for November

Snigdha Shenoy

More stories from Snigdha Shenoy

TSA Club
November 7, 2022
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Librarian Holly Hensley purchases copies of each month’s book for every Book Club member. Photo by Snigdha Shenoy

“Everything’s a game, Avery Grambs. The only thing we get to decide in this life is if we play to win.”

– The Inheritance Games

Avery is an ordinary girl with extraordinary luck.

Avery Kylie Grambs has lived with her sister, Libby, ever since her mother died. She has a brilliant mind and a selfless heart, and the day she is called to her school office she can’t think of a single reason why. In the office, a boy named Grayson awaits her. He informs Avery that she will need to be present for the reading of the will of his late grandfather, billionaire philanthropist Tobias Hawthorne. Avery is confused – she never knew this man, so why would he leave her money? Despite this, she and Libby take a private jet from Connecticut to the Hawthorne House in Texas. There, Avery finds out she was left almost 50 billion dollars, while Hawthorne’s two daughters (Skye and Zara) and four grandsons (Nash, Grayson, Jameson, and Xander) were barely left a cent.

Avery and the four brothers think that there might be clues to something bigger in the letters Tobias left to each of them. They soon discover that they are indeed, playing the old man’s games – the inheritance games. The only question left to be answered is, who will play to win?

“The Inheritance Games” is a young adult novel that starts with a mystery that is layered with puzzles, romance, and drama. Though the book starts out a little slow, author Jennifer Lynn Barnes doesn’t stop shocking the reader with twists and turns until the very end.

Avery developed well as the story progressed, and the reader got to see a lot of different sides to her. When her sister’s ex appeared on the house’s premises, Avery became fiercely protective of but also worried for her sister. When she was caught up in solving a riddle, she showed off impressive logic and admirable determination. All of these sides were very relatable to me, and I feel like they work together to make it more appealing. Another thing I liked was that unlike in some other books, the main character had a unique personality. Avery did not just serve as a placeholder for the story to develop around her; instead, she insisted on advancing the plot herself. 

This book really reminded me of “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin. Just like in “The Westing Game,” characters of different backgrounds are brought together for the reading of a mysterious will. In order to keep the money they may inherit, though, they must participate in a series of games orchestrated by the deceased. Though you could compare the two novels, each has a unique storyline in its own right. 

Jennifer Lynn Barnes is an author of young adult novels. Though she is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she studied at Cambridge and Yale and now teaches writing and psychology at the University of Oklahoma. “The Inheritance Games” series now has 3 books; books 2 and 3 were released in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Before this series, Barnes also wrote “The Naturals,” “Little White Lies,” and “The Fixer”.

“A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” can be purchased on Amazon- the paperback version costs $8.79 and on Kindles it is $10.99. It’s also available at the library or online at Sora (soraapp.com).  This book falls under “Young Adult Mystery”. The book is age-appropriate even for middle grades readers, but touches on underage drinking, attempted murder, cheating, and the death of a loved one. Characters keep secrets from each other, and a tragic love triangle took place before the story unfolded.

Here is my final rating, broken down into my normal four categories: 

     Writing Style: 8/10

     Characters: 8/10

     Plot: 6/10

     Logic: 7/10

Overall, I would rate this book a 7.25/10. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but some tropes were predictable and some characters simply unlikable. Here’s a warning from a fellow reader: the book ended on a massive cliffhanger! You have been cautioned.