Title: Inherit Midnight
Author: Kate Kae Myers
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Outlandishly wealthy Grandmother VanDemere has decided to leave her vast fortune to the family member who proves him or herself worthiest-by solving puzzles and riddles on a whirlwind race around the globe, from the mines of Venezuela to the castles of Scotland. There will be eight competitors, three continents . . . and a prize worth millions.
Seventeen-year-old Avery is the black sheep of the VanDemere clan, the ostracized illegitimate daughter. Finally, she has a chance to prove herself . . . and to discover the truth about her long-lost mother.
Marshall might be Avery’s uncle, but there’s no love lost between the two of them. He’s her main competition, and he’ll do anything to win-including betray his own children.
Riley is the handsome son of Grandmother VanDemere’s lawyer. As the game progresses, Avery falls hard for Riley. Suddenly, losing the game might mean losing him, too.
As the competition takes treacherous turns, it becomes clear there can only be one victor. Who can Avery truly trust? And is winning worth her life?
I hadn’t heard anything about this book until I saw a review of it in Entertainment Weekly that compared it to The Westing Game – and I was instantly sold. I didn’t love this book as much as The Westing Game – mainly since that book is amazing and I have a lot of nostalgia for it, so it’d take a lot to dethrone it – but it was still pretty enjoyable.
The beginning made it clear that this book was going to go over the top most of the time. The first chapter begins with Avery escaping from her boarding school, which is over-the-top terrifying and such. It wasn’t bad or anything, but it definitely wasn’t realistic, and the beginning made it obvious that I shouldn’t expect realism.
This story involves a competition to win the huge family fortune. There are different challenges, all across America and in a few different countries as well, and they all involve family history. The plot is definitely where this book shares similarities with The Westing Game, and they tended to be the most exciting and interesting parts of the book.
I feel like the characters who really interested me, like Thisby, one of Avery’s cousins, didn’t get nearly enough attention and growth. Avery was a bit too plain to me – she seemed a bit too plain and perfect. I wish the rest of her family had been more fleshed out. It was also a little confusing how her uncle was mentioned in the summary but there wasn’t much more of a focus on him than many of the other family members.
There wasn’t a lot of diversity at all in this book. We learn that Avery’s mother was Croatian (most of her family members thought she had been Russian, though, to make it very clear that they are close-minded people who aren’t worthy of Avery), but that’s really the only diversity, and Croatia is part of Western Europe and doesn’t play a big role in the book, so this book was really lacking in diversity.
The Adult Situation
There really isn’t much at all. Avery was raised by her distant grandmother after her mother died and her father abandoned her due to alcoholism, and as a result she has the lawyer’s son tagging along in the competition as her “guardian” since she isn’t quite 18. Considering how unrealistic this book was in other areas, though, this really isn’t all that surprising.
This was the part I cared the least for. I actually would have been totally fine is there was absolutely no romance in the book, and I’m the type of person who loves to read into romantic subtext where there probably isn’t any. It wasn’t that it was bad, but it just seemed out of place, like it was thrown in simply because this is a YA book.
I was kind of hoping for more by the end. I was satisfied with the ending, but there were lots of characters I would have liked to learn more about, like Avery’s half-brother and his wife. The ending was kind of open with regards to some plot points, which was its intention, but it left me wondering how some things would turn out.
This book wasn’t perfect and it definitely wasn’t too realistic (I was seriously expecting a twist at the end where the grandmother would come out and say “surprise – there is no inheritance because I spent all my money on this game!”), but it was still lots of fun while I was reading it and went quite fast for a book that is nearly 400 pages long. I will certainly keep an eye out for other books from this author.