During the summer, my TBR (“To Be Read”) list increased tenfold. I don’t have enough space, time, or money for the unearthly amount of books I want to read. However, there is one series in particular that I have constantly seen people raging about on BookTok, and that is “The Inheritance Games” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. It is the first installment in a soon-to-be mystery trilogy. I knew immediately that this was a story that I needed to read, so I made some room on my shelves, and I ran to Barnes and Noble.
The story follows our main character Avery Grambs. Avery is a girl who is just trying to survive high school and get out, but everything changes when she gets an invitation to go to Texas for the reading of Tobias Hawthorne’s will, a multi-billionaire that she doesn’t even know. Things get even stranger when the mysterious man leaves basically his whole fortune to Avery. In order to fully inherit the money, Avery must move into the lavish Hawthorne mansion and live alongside the family Tobias just disinherited. She has been ripped from her idea of normal and tossed into the world of the rich and famous. As if that weren’t bad enough, there is still the question of “why her?” Why would the wealthiest man in the world leave his money to Avery? Unfortunately the only person who could answer that question is dead. Thankfully, Tobias must have thought about that because Hawthorne House is full of clues and puzzles that may lead to answers as to why Avery was chosen, but her only hope of solving the riddles is to team up with the four Hawthorne grandsons, one of whom is convinced that she is a con woman out to destroy the family. On a journey full of twists and turns, will we ever find out the truth?
This is a book that fans of modern mystery will eat up. The story is very reminiscent of the 2019 film “Knives Out”—minus Chris Evans in a knit sweater, of course. If you liked books such as “One of Us is Lying” and “Truly Devious,” then you will no doubt relish the world of secrets Jennifer Lynn Barnes has crafted. The book is wonderfully written to always keep the reader guessing. Like all good mystery books, you never know what is going to happen next. “The Inheritance Games” got me out of my reading slump, for sure. I couldn’t put the book down. It is a fast-paced read, and I think that even people who don’t necessarily consider themselves as readers would like this book. I enjoyed trying to figure out all the riddles along with the characters, who were created so well. They were very easy to relate to. I cried with them, laughed with them, hated them, and even fell in love with some of them. Writing a very realistic and dynamic group of people seems second nature to Barnes because it is just that good. Not only is this a mystery book, but it’s also a story full of adventure, romance, finding yourself the meaning of family, and, even more importantly, what lines you would cross to protect them. If you like archetypes such as “the chosen one” or the common trope of “enemies to lovers,” then you’re in luck because this book has the best of both worlds. You get a main character with some form of greatness thrust upon them, as well as the witty banter between two people who hate the fact that they actually like each other. I would confidently say this is one of the best books I have read this year. With plot twist after plot twist, I would recommend “The Inheritance Games” to any mystery lover or even just book lover. I feel the story has a little bit of something for everyone, which makes it one of my top reads for 2021.