Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the ARC of this book.
I picked this book because its blurb compared it to ‘Knives Out’ so I thought it would be fun. The basic premise, rich man dies and leaves his estate to working class girl rather than his family, is the same but the plot diverges pretty quickly. This is not a quirky, fun whodunnit; it is an angsty YA whydunnit, trying to solve the puzzle of why he left his fortune to a stranger.
It’s an interesting concept, but, as it is YA, for me there is far too much “The boy with silver eyes is looking at me” and not enough “Excuse me, please could you explain exactly how this inheritance works?”. Seriously, why do all boys in YA fiction have to have silver, gold or green eyes? Have you ever met someone with silver eyes? What is wrong with brown?
The lead character, Avery, does not really have much agency, things happen to her and, even when she thinks she is making her own decisions, they turn out to be pre-ordained. I wanted her to be more inquisitive, less interested in the beautiful boys and more questioning about how her life as a billionaire would be. If I were left that amount of money at the cost of a whole family, I’m sure my first step would be to try to work things out with the family and assure them that I would make sure that they still got most of the money and we’re able to carry on living in their house. This doesn’t seem to cross Avery’s mind, she is entirely lacking in empathy because she has to be self-involved by virtue of being the lead character in a YA novel. She is a cipher for the reader who will inevitably imagine themselves in her position, maybe it didn’t work for me because I’m not a teenage girl and, if I were, maybe it would make sense to me that she chases the boys around rather than trying to nail down the practicalities of inheriting billions of dollars.
The mystery element is really just backdrop for a love triangle which goes nowhere because it is clearly setup for a sequel. So the ending is fairly unsatisfying. In addition, there’s a twist right at the end which I’d guessed was going to happen when I was about halfway through the book, so I was also frustrated not to read the resolution of that plot-line. Love triangles are a staple of YA fiction, but I’m not sure why they are so popular, if the lead heroine doesn’t have the presence of mind to know which of the perfect men drooling over her is the one she actually wants, then probably neither is the right one for her.
This is an easy read, with lots of YA tropes and a fun mystery at its centre, but it doesn’t quite live up to its potential and would be more satisfying if were a standalone book with a firm resolution and not the beginning of a series with a strung out messy love triangle.