We’re not halfway through the new year, and there are still a lot of great books waiting for me, but I dare say that “The Inheritance Games” will be on my favorites list. Wow, what an incredibly fun story, with captivating characters and smooth writing style built up in short chapters. And then there is also a sequel, can’t wait!

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 conwoman, 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.

Cinderella retelling?

Not if you ask me. I understand some describe it that way. Young hard-working girl with no money who receives a great inheritance. Alright then, but in my opinion the comparisons end there too. I think it’s demeaning by simply painting the story as yet another “Cinderella” story, because the Inheritence Games is so much more.

Intelligent and delightfully stubborn

The main character, Avery, is a great girl to follow in the story, which is also completely written from her perspective (okay, except for the last chapter) and I loved her almost immediately. Nice and smart, super intelligent and driven to solve puzzles and does not shy away from a challenge. Did I say she was helped by all that money? I better say that’s where the problems start. No, she’s not perfect, that’s also something that touched me personally halfway through the story with her best friend Max. Maybe that’s the reason why I could empathize very well with her character.

The whole entourage is right

Avery wasn’t the only interesting character. The four (handsome) brothers were also each unique and interesting to follow. As well as the grandfather (whom she inherited the money) you learn more about. The bodyguard. The lawyer. Oh, and let’s not forget her blue-haired sister Libby. The interesting, puzzle-like house in which she has to live is also beautifully described throughout the story, without it becoming an info dump. And… everything is just right.

The downside?

If I really had to name something, it might be the “love triangle” cliché / trope that you see in many YA books. But to be fair … I’m a sucker for that trope. So I don’t mind at all. What ís annoying though – is the cliffhanger at the end, and that I will have to wait for the sequal (in Dutch)!

Title: The Inheritence Games
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published: September 2020
Pages: 384
Publisher: Disney Book Publishing Inc.
Rating: 5/5