Margin Notes



The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a fun, fast-paced, riddle-filled, Cinderella story, perfect for readers who like to crack codes and solve mysteries. With riddles that are reminiscent of the Truly Devious series, The Inheritance Games sees female protagonist, Avery, living in her car, when she is summoned to  the late billionaire Tobias Hawthorne’s estate, just to find out that he has made her the heir to his fortune. Avery works alongside Tobias’ four disinherited grandsons, who believe this is all just some elaborate game by their grandfather, to try to solve years’ worth of clues and riddles, and to figure out why a complete stranger has named her as the main beneficiary on his multi-billion-dollar estate. However, the inheritance comes with a catch. Avery must also live in the house with the remaining members of the Hawthorne family that are certain she must have conned her way into the inheritance, and are determined to get the money back from her, whatever the cost.

This would be such a fun addition to a high school classroom library, especially if you have students who love mysteries and solving riddles. Perfect for readers who need a high-interest novel, Barnes does really good job of hooking the reader right away by immediately digging into the plot and mystery of the Hawthorne estate. So much so, that even after the short first few chapters, the reader will be trying to figure out what is going on. Another real strength in this book is the characterization of the Hawthorne House itself. The sprawling mansion and grounds are a twist of secret passageways, hidden clues, and dark secrets. Barnes brings the house itself to life and, in doing so makes it a major player in this book, and these sections could easily serve as a mentor for other descriptive and personification narratives. This book will get everyone who reads it trying to solve all the puzzles and readers will want to talk about them once they finish the book. I cannot wait to talk about this book with my students!

Lauren Sieben is a High School ELA teacher at John Caldwell School in Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Her favourite activity is reading books. Her second favourite activity is talking about them.

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