By Grace Gardener
If I ever got into the situation where I had to choose between two emotionally damaged boys who made a habit of smirking and standing indecently close to me, I would simply not choose either of them. RIP to every single YA protagonist, but I’m different. Now we’ve gotten that out of the way, and it’s clear that I am smarter than everybody else, we can get on with the review. This month’s review is about The Inheritance Games and its sequel, The Hawthorne Legacy. It’s described as a modern-day mystery Cinderella: teenage Avery is suddenly bestowed billions of dollars and has to figure out why on earth anybody in their right mind would do that.
According to the will, Avery has to live in Hawthorne Mansion for a year, or else she will lose everything. There, she finds out that not only did the man who left her the money have 4 grandsons, he also left clues as to why he did such a strange thing. Dodging angry relatives, avoiding the press, and figuring out how to live the life of a billionaire, Avery uncovers more and more of the dark, ugly secret behind Tobias Hawthorne’s legacy. Most of the discoveries could also function as a caution against premarital sex, unfaithfulness and polygamy (it’s that kind of family).
First, the mystery itself: it was interesting – although personally I was a lot more interested in how the man got all of that money and which organisations his company was funding exactly. But anyway, the mystery hinged mostly on extramarital babies and broken hearts, to be honest. The main point of the book was that Tobias Hawthorne – the man who gave her all that money – absolutely loved puzzles. Not only that: he’s angry at his family for something, and is using the inheritance as a way to get back at them. At first, it seems as if Avery is just an innocent bystander who got roped into the proceedings, but in the second book her role in the mystery is revealed. I didn’t like the mystery of that book as much, because it felt less like a puzzle. The whole second plot felt a lot more like a dramatic soap series.
I wasn’t very pleased with how sexuality was dealt with in this book. As I said, free love abounds. In some cases, it is rewarded with pain and years of hassle, but there are other cases where it does not. There was also a lesbian relationship I would’ve gladly done without. (I would also gladly have done without those two girls. And I was of that opinion before I found out about their sexuality, mind you. They were just annoying.) The protagonist also spends a large part of the books mooning over two of the boys, Jackson and Grayson. Their personalities are completely different, and the main thing we are told in their encounters are that they make her feel good and that they are hot. Worst of all was the scene where Avery’s friend wakes her up in the middle of the night to inform her that Jackson is in the hot tub. Any sane person would turn around and go back to sleep. Not Avery. She puts on her bathing suit and joins him. She had not, in fact, tried to go swimming in it at any point in the preceding weeks, even though the house had its own swimming pool. Nothing much happens in the pool except that Avery gets shot at, which was funny. At another point, Avery and the boys play “strip bowling”, where you take off articles of clothing if you miss. So healthy and normal.
Avery’s best friend, Maxine, is apparently “religious”. According to Avery, Maxine takes this very seriously and might even go on a mission trip. I didn’t like Maxine at all. She kept on swearing, but with different words. We’d get ridiculous words like “mother-faxing”, “goat-dram” and “beach”. Maxine does this so her mother doesn’t realise she’s swearing, which makes me think her mother is phenomenally stupid. Later, Maxine sends nudes to a boy. When her parents find this out, they take away her phone. This is seen as a terribly unjust thing of them, and Avery’s lawyer secretly sends Maxine a new phone. Other than that, Maxine was the friend I mentioned who decided it was a good idea to send Avery off to a nighttime hot tub in her revealing bathing suit. Oh, and she was constantly trying to get Avery to hook up with boys. It was tiresome.
Other than that, I don’t have too much to say about the books. Like I said, they have some terrible role models, and the people in it act very inappropriately. The mystery also becomes of much less quality in the second book. The Inheritance Games series was entertaining, but if you’re a Christian, I’d say the immorality makes it a waste of time.