A young woman in a desperate situation finds her fortunes changed when she is called to the reading of a billionaire’s will. Though she’s never met Tobias Hawthorne before, he has left Avery virtually his entire fortune, essentially cutting his children and grandchildren off. But, to receive her inheritance, Avery must move into the man’s sprawling mansion, along with the eccentric members of his family who feel she’s stolen their futures.
If Knives Out and The Westing Game had a baby, this book would be it and I am HERE FOR IT. Tobias Hawthorne was the quintessential eccentric billionaire, building a sprawling mansion to which he added a new room every year. He loved puzzles, and often sent his grandchildren on challenging quests throughout the home. His will is his final puzzle, and everyone in the mansion is determined to solve it. Both Avery and the Hawthorne family want to know why she was chosen to inherit, seemingly randomly, and someone in the house is determined to stop her from claiming the fortune.
The Hawthorne family is full of eccentric characters. Tobias Hawthorne had two daughters, one free-spirited and one driven, and four grandsons. Nash, 25, is a heroic cowboy type. Grayson, 19, is slightly snobbish and convinced that Avery has conned his grandfather. Jameson, 18, is addicted to the thrill of the game; he loved his grandfather’s puzzles and is convinced that this inheritance is his final game. And Xander, 16, is super-smart and incredibly charming. Avery is a very likeable character, fiercely loyal to her half-sister, and struggling with her adjustment from essentially homelessness to being a billionaire. Her half-sister and legal guardian, Libby, is lovingly protective but struggling with her own demons. I truly loved every character in this book, which is a rare find.
The book ends with a big reveal that will make you desperate for the next book. Though I guessed the twist, I thought it was incredibly clever and the storyline took enough turns to make it a satisfying reveal. Also, just to be up front, I consume a lot of true crime so it is very rare that I am surprised by a book. I really think the twist will sneak up on many people.
There’s another storyline mixed into the main plot that I was not as keen on and I felt that it diverted and slowed the main plot. But, I believe it will come to be more meaningful as the series progresses. Other than that, I loved this book. It’s fast-paced, suspenseful, witty, and filled with cryptic clues that are fun to solve. In YA I tend to stick to fantasy and sci-fi, but I am so glad I diverged from my normal habits for this fun mystery.
Have you read this one? Did you guess the twist? Let me know your theories!