When Avery Kylie Grambs’ single mom was still alive, the two of them had lots of little games they’d play when the household budget was empty. There was the Flashlight Game, played when the power was switched off; the Marshmallow Game when the heat was off, and they’d bundle together and munch little treats. And, of course, little Avery always enjoyed the I’ve Got a Secret Game they’d play just for the fun of it.
But 17-year-old Avery is now thinking that her deceased mother may have had some secrets that she never shared. And they may include more than just a deadbeat missing father that Avery doesn’t really know.
The story starts when Avery is simply going along to get along. She’s got some future plans. But they mainly involve surviving high school, maybe wheedling out some kind of college scholarship and getting a good enough job so she can stop living in her beat-up old Pontiac. Hey, her guardian half-sister, Libby, has an apartment that’s open to her; but with Lib’s abusive boyfriend around, living out of a car is the wisest bet for Avery right now.
Then, however, something completely unexpected happens: A polished, handsome guy, just a few years older than Avery, shows up in the school office. This Armani-suit-wearing teen says his name is Grayson Hawthorne, and he tells Avery: “I’ve taken the liberty of making travel arrangements on your behalf.” The young man’s tone makes it clear that this isn’t an invitation. It’s nothing less than a summons.
It seems that a certain billionaire named Tobias Hawthorne—the ninth richest man in the world—has passed away. And his will stipulates that the surrounding Hawthorne family members can’t read his final testament unless Avery Grambs is in attendance. So, when Avery shows up in the impossibly sumptuous Texas mansion of the Hawthorne family, they all seem as mystified by the situation as her.
But the mystery only deepens from there. When the will is read, it turns out that old crafty Tobias—a man known to be a master of games and manipulation—left only paltry sums to his family members. And to one Avery Grambs, he left the massive sprawling Hawthorne mansion and estate and the sum of 46.2 billion dollars.
All Avery has to do is move into the mansion, with its full staff, libraries, bowling alleys, gyms, secret passageways, hidden chambers and much more, and live there for a year. Do that and everything is hers.
Unfortunately for Avery, there’s one other little twist: The Hawthornes will be residing in the massive house, too. Family members in residence include the four Hawthorne grandsons: handsome, brilliant guys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. The magnetic but coldly perfect Grayson, whom Avery already met, thinks she must be a con woman. One of the other younger teen brothers, the charming daredevil Jameson, thinks she just might be his grandfather’s opening move to his greatest game: a puzzle to be solved, a riddle to unravel.
Poor Avery, however, feels completely ensnared, in an ironic way. For while she’s been offered an opulent life filled with literally anything she could ever dream of, a treasure to share with anyone she’s ever cared for, she also feels like this may all be a dangerous trap … and she’s the cheese. This could even be a deadly situation, unless of course, she can play the Inheritance Game better than anyone else.