Family Book Club: The Inheritance Games

Book cover for The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Reading level: young adult

Synopsis: 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.

Categories: mystery/thriller, family dynamics, abuse, class disparity


  1. If you inherited a billion-dollar fortune, what would you do with it?
  2. Which of the four brothers—Xander, Jameson, Grayson, or Nash—did you like the most at the beginning? How did that change as you kept reading?
  3. About midway through the book, Avery and Jameson have an exchange where he accuses her of wanting the fortune, saying, "How could you not? Growing up the way you did." Avery retorts by parroting his words back to him. Which do you think would be more difficult: growing up poor and never accruing wealth or growing up wealthy and losing everything?
  4. A common factor among of all the characters is that they had been or were currently in a toxic relationship—familial, platonic, or romantic. Have you ever had a similar experience? How did you recognize what was happening? Who helped you through it? 
  5. Were you able to solve the mystery before the end?

Activity: It's a little tough to mimic inheriting an enormous fortune, but you can do the next best thing: choreographing—and perhaps even solving—a murder mystery. These free murder mystery resources are perfect if you have a big household (most require a minimum of six players), but if your family is on the smaller side, there's a host of virtual mystery games available, though most come with a price tag.

Thank you so much to Red Balloon Bookshop for partnering with us on this series! If you'd like to see all of the Family Book Club picks in one place, check out their FBC page