The Inheritance Games

Little, Brown. Sept. 2020. 384p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368052405.
Gr 7 Up–Barnes’s meticulously crafted novel is like the film Knives Out for the YA world, perfect for any reader seeking suspense, romance, and glamour. This Cinderella story gets its twist when Avery Grambs, a teen living out of her car and dreaming of a financially stable future, inherits billionaire Tobias Hawthorne’s fortune. Avery is sure she’s never met a Hawthorne in her life, but she’s just become the star player in Tobias’s final puzzle. Forced to move into the rambling Hawthorne House to retain the inheritance, Avery discovers that hidden passageways aren’t the only secrets on this estate. She strives to learn all about the enigmatic Tobias Hawthorne—and discovers this inheritance game was decades in the making. Armed only with the letters Tobias left his four grandsons, Avery becomes determined to solve their riddles if only to answer the question: Why her? The secondary cast of characters offers diversity in both race and sexual orientation, within the Hawthorne family and the private high school where Avery enrolls. Barnes crafts high-stakes tension, a swoony love triangle, and a large but memorable cast of characters. The novel manages to tie up the mystery and set up its sequel with a killer cliffhanger.
VERDICT Fun and fast-paced, fans of Karen M. McManus’s One of Us Is Lying and Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious will find a new home at Hawthorne House. Even reluctant readers will devour this book.

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