The Inheritance Games is a young adult mystery/thriller published in 2020 by author Jennifer Lynn Barnes. It monitors a teenage girl, Avery Kylie Grambs, who is surprisingly left a billion-dollar fortune by a mysterious philanthropist, Tobias Hawthorne. In his will, Tobias stipulates that Avery must live in his mansion, Hawthorne House, for one year if she inherits.

Avery shares the home with the Hawthornes, who are angry and confused about why Tobias left his fortune to Avery. The book follows Avery’s journey as she unravels the clues Tobias left behind, hoping to understand why a man she doesn’t remember meeting left her billions of dollars. In her sleuthing, Avery is join by the four Hawthorne boys, Tobias’s brilliant grandsons, and discovers sordid secrets about the Hawthorne family’s history. She also develops an attraction to two of the brothers.

Who is the Author of The Inheritance Games?


Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the author of several young adult novels. The Inheritance Games is the first book in a series, and the second is The Hawthorne Legacy. The Inheritance Games was a New York Times bestseller and an Amazon Top 100 Book of 2020. The book was also nominated in the Best Young Adult Mystery category of the Edgar Awards. The edition of the book used for this study guide is from Penguin Books UK, London, published in 2020.

Jennifer Lynn is the New York Times bestselling writer of more than twenty commended young adult novels, with Little White Lies, Deadly Little Scandals, The Lovely and the Lost, and “The Naturals” sequence: The Naturals, Killer Instinct, All In, Bad Blood, and the electronic novel Twelve. Jen is also a Fulbright Scholar with progressive psychology, psychiatry, and cognitive science degrees. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 2012 and is presently a professor of psychology and professional script at the University of Oklahoma. Photography (c) Kim Haynes Photography Photography

About The Inheritance Games

The Inheritance Games is told by Avery Kylie Grambs, a high school student living in New Castle, Connecticut. Avery’s mother is dead, and her father is gone, so she lives with her half-sister Libby. Avery maid after school to help make ends meet. Avery is intelligent and ambitious, with a talent for games like chess and a knack for numbers. She regularly plays chess in the park with a homeless man named Harry. His poverty history made him sympathize with Harry, for whom he bought food.

Avery was surprised to learn that he was name in the will of Texas billionaire and philanthropist Tobias Hawthorne. He and Libby flew to Texas to read the choice. The Hawthorne family included Hawthorne’s four lovely and charming grandchildren: Nash Westbrook Hawthorne, Grayson Davenport Hawthorne, Jameson Winchester Hawthorne, and Alexander Blackwood Hawthorne (“Xander”). The family is outrage when the will is read, and they learn that Avery is the primary beneficiary of Tobias’ billions of dollars. The will stipulates that Avery must move to Hawthorne House and live there for an entire year to inherit. He and Libby moved on.

A Cinderella Story with Deadly Stakes and Thrilling Twists

Avery Grambs has plans for a better future stay in high school, win a scholarship, and drop out. But his luck changed instantly when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne died, leaving Avery with almost his entire fortune. Capture? Avery didn’t know why or even who Tobias Hawthorne was. To accept his legacy, Avery must move into the sprawling Hawthorne House filled with secret passageways, where every room has the older man’s touch and his love of puzzles, riddles and also the code.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House was also occupied by the family Tobias Hawthorne had just capture. These include Hawthorne’s four grandchildren dangerous, magnetic, brilliant children who grew up hoping they would one day inherit billions. Grayson Hawthorne’s heir is convince that Avery must be a con man and is determine to take him down. His brother Jameson sees him as his grandfather’s last hurrah a twisted puzzle to be solve. Trapped in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger at every turn, Avery must play the game alone to survive.

Characters of The Inheritance Games

Honestly, who doesn’t love four super rich and super crooked brothers? The dynamics of the relationships in this book alone are giving me a headache. Anyway, I will try to be coherent. Avery is our main character, and I think he’s very likable. He’s an intelligent cake, though his plot happens to him a lot in this book. But that’s the point. He should can seen only as a pawn in the game, not a player. I hope we see more of his wit in the second book.

The book also has a fair amount of character, but it’s not at all difficult to keep track of. The Hawthorne brothers were fascinating indeed. Especially Grayson and Jameson. Their relationship with Avery is odd, and I love how all the siblings interact with him. I’m not a big fan of love triangles and the drama that goes with them, but love triangles aren’t a central plot point (yet) in this case, so it’s tolerable.

The Inheritance Games Series

The Inheritance Games is an exciting YES mystery from Jennifer Lynn Barnes for readers 13+ and followers of One of Us is Lying and also Knives Out.

Described by the publisher as a “Cinderella story with a lethal gamble,” it was hugely popular with readers and critics on TikTok. There are rumors of a The Inheritance Games movie or TV series on Amazon coming soon.

The books follow Avery Grambs, a teenager working hard for a better future, whose fortunes change instantly when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves his fortune to her.

The problem is that Avery must move to Hawthorne House and live with Tobias’s family, including his grandson Grayson Hawthorne, his heir, and his three brothers. The four boys have it all and are determine to solve the mystery of why Avery took their the  inheritance games. How far will they go to keep the wealth from him?

The trilogy should can read in order, starting with the first book in The Inheritance Games.

For more great books to read for young adults, check out our list:

  • The best mysteries and thrillers for teenagers
  • best romance books for teens
  • Books to movies on Netflix

All the Inheritance Games books in order:

  • The Inheritance Games (2020)
  • The Hawthorne Legacy (2021)
  • The Final Gambit (2022)

How Did The Inheritance Games End?

Everyone must be present to unlock the final puzzle in the tunnel under the house. Avery is need for facial recognition and all four children for fingerprints. Hence they opened the box by dividing “Avery Kylie Grambs” into “A Long Shot,” Everyone received a new envelope from Tobias. It seems that Tobias is trying to give the boys a reason to reconcile after Emily’s death tears them apart.

The contents of Avery’s envelope reminded her that she had met Tobias in a restaurant when he was a child. She must have followed him because there were many photos of her on the table in her room. When Avery sees a picture of Tobias’s late son Toby, she realizes it is Harry, a homeless man playing chess with Avery in the park. Tobias Hawthorn’s eldest son didn’t die. It turns out that Xander helped the others with the game at the request of his grandfather. His letter from his man told her to find Tody.

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