A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Puzzle-solving mystery meant to entertain, but readers can learn some puzzle-solving strategies.
Overall messages are weak. Family loyalty is important, but the story emphasizes that it can be taken too far, and you have to learn when to do what's right even if it has a negative impact on a family member. There's a suggestion that you have to put the past behind you in order to move on, but it's not explored in much detail.
Positive Role Models
Avery's a positive role model for curiosity, integrity, perseverance, and teamwork. She's good at math and logic, and loves to play chess. She doesn't let sudden wealth change who she is or how she sees her place in the world, and she's very perceptive. Her sister Libby is a good model for empathy, but she's unable to end an abusive relationship. Most characters are mysterious, and the reader's meant to guess at their motives and whether they're telling the truth or not. In terms of representation, most characters are White, but an important character identifies as Black and is a genius at engineering and building. A character with an Asian last name (Liu) has hovering and very strict parents. A high-powered female attorney's last name suggests Latinx heritage. A minor character says she's bisexual.
Violence & Scariness
A shooting leaves one character with a non-life-threatening injury from tree bark embedded in her skin. Pain is described and bleeding briefly mentioned. A woman is in a controlling, abusive relationship and appears with bruises and a black eye once. Mention that a mother hit her child in the past.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few kisses and feelings of romantic attraction. An adult nude in the tub is mentioned but no parts are described. A dinner dish is described as "orgasmic."
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A character uses creative sound-alike words instead of profanity, like "goat-dram, mother-faxing elf."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A teen is noticeably drunk a couple of times and models dangerous behavior. An adult asks a teen to pass some champagne, takes a long drink, and offers some to the teen, who declines. Tea with a large dose of whiskey is given to a teen to calm her nerves.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Inheritance Games is a mystery -- the first of a planned series -- with lots of puzzle solving and intrigue. When 16-year-old, Avery, learns that she's inherited $46 billion from a Texas oil tycoon she's never even heard of, she's whisked from Connecticut to Texas, only to learn she must jump through some serious hoops to get the inheritance -- including living in the dead man's family estate for a year. There's a shooting that results in a minor injury needing stitches. Pain is described and blood is mentioned. There are a couple of kisses and some feelings of romantic attraction. There's no strong language, but one character uses creative sound-alike words instead of profanity. A teen is noticeably drunk a couple of times and models dangerous behavior. Most of the characters are White, but there are positive representations of Black and Latinx characters.
Is It Any Good?
This is an intriguing and compelling mystery that puzzle-lovers will especially enjoy. The Inheritance Games is populated with well-developed, colorful, and believable characters readers will enjoy trying to figure out. The setting of a rambling family estate is vividly realized and readers will enjoy imagining themselves moving through it. All of which keep the pages turning as readers enjoy solving the clues, puzzles, and turns along with Avery and the Hawthorne brothers. The ending is pretty weak, but readers can hope that it leaves the door open for further mysteries in this planned series.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.