Young Adult Reads: The Inheritance Games series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Jennifer Lynn Barnes is an acclaimed writer of more than a dozen young adult novels. She wrote her first novel when she was 19 and sold her first five novels when she was still in college. Jen holds advanced degrees in psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science, as well as graduate degrees from Cambridge University. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge as well. Jen also received her PhD from Yale University in 2012. In case you aren’t impressed enough already, Jen has written multiple pilot scripts for television networks. She is also considered a leading expert on the psychology of fandom as well as the cognitive science of fiction and the imagination. In addition to her work as an author, Jen is an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma where she teaches in both Psychology and Professional Writing.

Author photograph © Kim Haynes Photography

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

The Inheritance Games is the first book in the series of the same name. This book was recommended to me by our teen librarian and oh, she was so right that I would enjoy this book! Let’s dive in.

Avery Grambs is brilliant. Her mind has helped her survive high school so far and if she’s lucky, she will hopefully win a scholarship and escape the crappy town where she lives. All of her plans change when she is called to the office to find a dapper young man telling her that her life is about to change.

Flying off to Texas with her older sister Libby, Avery finds herself ensconced in the lives of the mysterious Hawthorne family. Avery soon learns that billionaire Tobias Hawthorne has left Avery virtually his entire fortune – and his family almost nothing. Avery didn’t even know Tobias Hawthorne, so why would he leave his entire billion dollar fortune to her? Avery must live in Hawthorne House for a year in order to inherit, a rule that doesn’t seem like much at first, but the longer she stays, the more daunting it becomes.

Hawthorne House is massive – full of secret passages, as well as riddles, puzzles, and codes hidden everywhere. The entire Hawthorne family also lives in Hawthorne House and they are not pleased. They see Avery as an unnecessary interloper, but also as a sort of clue to the inner workings of Tobias Hawthorne’s last wishes. Avery frequently finds herself butting heads with the four Hawthorne grandsons: handsome, dangerous, magnetic, and brilliant boys who all thought they would inherit billions one day. They see her as a con-woman, a teenager who must have known their grandfather. Others see her as a puzzle to be solved. After all, Tobias Hawthorne’s deep love of puzzles, riddles, and codes permeated every part of his living life, so adding them to his will seems exactly like something he would do. Avery is thrust into a dangerous world of wealth of privilege where in order to survive, she will have to play Tobias’s game.

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Inheritance Games series

    1. The Inheritance Games (2020)
    2. The Hawthorne Legacy (2021)
    3. The Final Gambit (2022)

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