Unfolding the Mysteries of The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: A Book Review


Lizzy Khater

A picture of the front cover of The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Lizzy Khater, Senior Staff Writer

To begin, this book review will contain spoilers to the first book of this trilogy, The Inheritance Games. 


By the end of the first book, Avery and the Hawthorne Brothers had to overcome their differences, old grudges, and dramatic pasts to unlock what Avery thought to be Mr. Hawthorne’s final clue. After arriving at what seemed to be the finish line of Mr. Tobias Hawthorne’s first game, the Hawthorne brothers—having known their scheming grandfather—realize that the journey is far from finished. Truth be told, this s oinly the beginning. 

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the second book in the Inheritance Games trilogy. This series of books explores the thrilling and engaging secret pasts of the Hawthorne family. Buried beginnings and lost ends plague the family history and block any clear paths to take through the obstacles laid out for Avery. 

As it turns out, that first game Mr. Hawthorne put in place was for Jameson and Grayson, two of the four Hawthorne brothers. Meanwhile, it is now Xander Hawthorne’s turn to play. His grandfather left Xander a letter to find his long lost son, Toby Hawthorne, who is presumed dead after a terrible accident when he was 19. 

Unlike the previous book in this trilogy this book is not as clue oriented. Instead it digs deeper into the characters’ pasts, tying some loose ends and unraveling others further to be solved in the third, and final book. 

Math teacher Mrs. Lisa Shah enjoyed the way Barnes connected the brief mentionings of Toby in the previous books to the main plot of The Hawthorne Legacy. However, she also expresses certain dislikes regarding this book. 

“It really went off the rails and lost the fun of the first book. That’s what I loved in the first book and felt it was lacking in the second since it became less about clues and puzzles, but became more about the complexity of the Hawthorne family tree and history.” Mrs. Shah said.  

I agree with her observation since it would often grow confusing while reading and trying to keep track of all the new information revealed as the book progressed at a relatively fast pace without as many clues to follow compared to the first book of the trilogy. 

A picture of the summary on the back cover of The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. (Lizzy Khater)

When asked for her favorite and least favorite parts of the book, English teacher Ms. Daniella Moshi enjoyed Barnes’ writing style.

“Jennifer Lynn Barnes uses a lot of m-dashes which taught me so much about writing structure and her tricks in her writing,” Ms. Moshi said.

 She added that the plot was unique because she loved the twists and turns which “were not obvious.”

“You find out everything when Avery does, it’s not predictable. It’s truly a unique idea for a story that is really refreshing.” Ms. Moshi said. “However, I do not like Jameson Hawthorne and the lack of chemistry in his and Avery’s relationship.” 

The second book of this trilogy, The Hawthorne Legacy, explores the history of the Hawthornes in relation to Avery’s new role in their lives as the girl who inherited their fortune. It takes a short break from following clue after clue having them more spread out throughout the book instead. Readers get to learn and understand the complex Hawthorne family in all its secrets as well as play the game left for Xander: to find long lost Toby Hawthorne. As Avery Kylie Grambs’ name is revealed to be an anagram—a very risky gamble—she continues to inquire for the reason she was chosen and placed in the midst of this mess—the Hawthorne family.