Review by Liri
“The next day, I paid a price for sleeping in my car. My whole body ached, and I had to shower after gym, because paper towels in the bathroom at the diner could only go so far. I didn’t have time to dry my hair, so I arrived to my next class sopping wet. It wasn’t my best look, but I’d gone to school with the same kids my whole life. I was wallpaper.”
Avery Kylie Grambs goes to school every day and never makes any trouble, she can’t afford to. Her sister got custody over her two years ago. And as a Junior in high school, she knows she can get all A’s in her classes and work her job at the diner, paying for some of the rent and paying for Harry, her chess opponent’s breakfast when she wins. But over the span of two days, she gets called to the principal’s office twice. She finds out she has inherited the estate of a billionaire she doesn’t even know. Avery is no longer “wallpaper”.
As Avery gets sucked into the world of dead Billionaire Tobias Hawthorne, she meets new people almost every day, between Mr. Hawthorne”s enormous mansion and her new fancy private school. She learns of a world in which she could help people live to see another day, but she also becomes the target of the media. She has to navigate the hate and mysteries of the Hawthorne family, and with an attempt on her life, she has to decide whether to stay and get the money or lose it all and go back to sleeping in her car.
“To some people, you’ll be Cinderella. To others, Marie Antoinette…”
This story is fueled by the fact that you constantly want to know how it ends. Why was Avery chosen? What are all these games and riddles Mr. Hawthorne played with his 4 grandsons? Why is the Hawthorne family so messed up? This played out really well with the short chapter format, which made this story super easy and enjoyable to read! Whenever I sat down to read I felt like I was sucked back into the story just as quick as Avery was sucked into the Hawthornes’ world.
I really loved all the descriptions of Hawthorne House, the reader really gets to feel the overwhelming sensation Avery feels when discovering new rooms, like the Solarium, 5 massive libraries, the bowling alley, etc. I love how we get to see all these rooms, and I hope that in the next book we get to see more rooms and different hallways and figure out more of this maze that is Hawthorne House.
This book has a lot of characters, between Avery, her sister, Avery’s friend, the sister’s ex, at least 10 Hawthorne family members, and their numerous employees. So at first I really had to pay attention to who was who, but once Avery meets and interacts with each character, you really get to see how different they are. I think Jennifer Barnes did a really good job of building a background story for each character and giving each character their own voice and opinion in the story.
One character that didn’t feel as fleshed out was Avery herself. I think there was so much going on around her: huge house, new people, billions of dollars handed to her, attempt on her life. I think her personality got a bit defeated by shock. And while we do get to see her background story and her interacting with other characters, I think she spends most of the time just trying to figure out what is going on just as much as the reader is. This is great, but I hope that through the second book we get to see more of her and connect with her personality more than her actions.
Overall, I really loved this book and the story! There’s so much to find below the surface, -😉- and behind the secrets of Tobias Hawthorne. And I like how it’s a challenge, I like how the reader has to keep up with Avery’s quick train of thought, the Hawthornes’ riddles and their challenges.
-Also that cover!? 😍-