Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ latest novel, The Inheritance Games – the first installment of an upcoming trilogy – comes to us at the tail end of summer full of intrigue and plot twists. Her latest book follows 17-year-old Avery Grambs as she struggles to make ends meet after her mother’s death. Unexpectedly, she is summoned to the will reading of a billionaire/philanthropist/Texan called Tobias Hawthorne. To Avery’s shock – and the Hawthorne family’s rage – the old man left nearly everything in his possession to her. So begins a twisted game of figuring out why Avery received the billions everyone believed he would leave to the Hawthorne family.

Hawthorne’s will stipulates Avery must stay in the family’s sprawling, labyrinthine estate for one year in order to receive the inheritance. The rest of Hawthorne’s family, already keen on finding some loophole in the will that will oust Avery from their lives, create an unwelcome presence. While she attempts to handle the newfound pressure of public scrutiny, Avery must also contend with the magnetic, inescapable presence of Tobias Hawthorne’s grandsons: Nash, Grayson, Jameson, and Alexander. Nash is uninterested in his family’s wealth, while Xander is preoccupied with his own inventions and games. Grayson and Jameson, on the other hand, create a force field around Avery, demanding her attention.

Grayson, like his mother and aunt, initially believe Avery somehow manipulated Tobias Hawthorne into signing his possessions over to her. But, Jameson believes Avery is the key to his grandfather’s final puzzle. When the trio begins uncovering clues within the will and around the estate, Avery and all four grandsons are sucked back into Tobias Hawthorne’s games. What begins as a game, however, turns into a nightmare as dark secrets from Grayson and Jameson’s past are revealed, and it becomes clear someone on the estate wants to see Avery dead.

The Inheritance Games is a true page-turner. Barnes gives readers short chapters with cliff-hanger endings, compelling us to read on until the very end. It’s truly a YA dream: mystery, games, murder, and love-triangles –perfect for fans of Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious novels. The Inheritance Games will have readers wrapped up in its characters and intricate plot, waiting on the edge of their seats to find out what happens next.

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