BOOK REVIEW | The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

TITLE: The Inheritance Games
SERIES: The Inheritance Games #1
AUTHOR: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
PAGE COUNT: 384 pages
PUBLISHER: Penguin
PUBLICATION DATE: 3 September 2020
GENRE: Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller

SYNOPSIS: She came from nothing. 

Avery has a plan: keep her head down, work hard for a better future. Then an eccentric billionaire dies, leaving her almost his entire fortune. And no one, least of all Avery, knows why.

They had everything. 

Now she must move into the mansion she’s inherited. It’s filled with secrets and codes, and the old man’s surviving relatives – a family hell-bent on discovering why Avery got ‘their’ money.

Now there’s only one rule: winner takes all. 

Soon she is caught in a deadly game that everyone in this strange family is playing. But just how far will they go to keep their fortune?

An utterly addictive and twisty thriller, full of dark family secrets and deadly stakes. Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Many thank yous to Penguin Random House South Africa for sending a review copy my way!

I saw this book going round the book community numerous times and after receiving a copy, I was especially intrigued. I did not think I would be so captivated by the story as I was. It has been a while since I enjoyed reading a mystery/thriller as much as I enjoyed this one but despite it all, I ended up giving the book only four stars.

The story follows Avery Grambs, a high school student trying to keep head above water because of all the challenges she has to face. Living with her stepsister, trying to build a better live for herself, and still trying to process the passing of her mother is no easy feat. However, that all changes when she needs to go to Texas for the will reading of one of the richest billionaires in America.

There, Avery meets many interesting characters, all of who would want to get rid of her after she is left with their family’s fortune. Avery is thrust into a world she never would have imagined possible for herself and needs to race against time to find out why a stranger would leave her all his money, before she loses the ultimate game. To Avery, it all sounds like one risky gamble…

Everything about this book intrigued me and I am still thinking about it. This is the perfect dark academia mystery/thriller that I never knew I needed. I was captured in the world of the rich Hawthrones and could not put it down because I needed to know what would happen next. I get scared quite easily, so the amount of mystery was perfect and in my opinion, really well written. I loved the guessing, riddles and games that the reader could do along with the characters as the story went on.

I understand that this book is part of the young adult contemporary, but I did not like the love triangle that took place between Avery, Grayson and Jameson. I think that it was a bit unnecessary but it does make more sense as the story reached its ending.

Overall, this is such an amazing and intriguing book that one cannot put down and I am counting down the days for the next book in the trilogy!



Sometimes things that appear very different on the surface are actually exactly the same at their core.”

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

“We aren’t normal. This place isn’t normal, and you’re not a player, kid. You’re the glass ballerina—or the knife.”

Traps upon traps. And riddles upon riddles.

“He left you the fortune, Avery, and all he left us is you.”

“As awful as it sounds, money is power, and power is magnetic.”

“The more complicated a person’s strategy seemed, the less likely an opponent was to look for simple answers. If you could keep someone looking at your knight, you could take them with a pawn. Look past the details. Past the complications.”

“Why do I have to tell a story?” I asked.
“Because if you don’t tell the story, someone else will tell it for you.”

Nothing is certain but death and taxes.

Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.



Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a “practice book” and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen. 

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She’ll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.



Keep reading and never stop telling stories.

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