Myers, Kate Kae. Inherit Midnight.
February 10th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Avery VanDemere has been raised by her stern, unloving grandmother after the death of her mother and her father's descent into alcoholism. Most recently, she's been in a boarding school for wayward children after minor infractions, and has decided to escape. She does, only to run into Riley, the son of the family lawyer, who has come to take her home. Her grandmother has been ill, and has set up a family competition to see who has been paying attention and knows the most family history. That person will come into the VanDemere fortune, while the other members will receive smaller sums of money. The competition will challenge the qualities that the grandmother wants her descendants to have but which she feels may be sorely lacking. Incorporating the family history into the trips, the group is sent to diamond mines in South American, Plymouth, and Scotland, to complete various physically and mentally demanding tasks. Since Avery is a minor, the slightly older Riley accompanies her, and there is a sweet romance between the two. Other members include her half brother, two uncles, and some snotty cousins. Avery also finds out a family secret that directly impacts her, and is distracted by it. Still, she has learned well from her grandmother, and uses her knowledge of family events, as well as her good character, to do as well as she can in the competition.
Strengths: This was one of the better books I have read in a while. Lots of action and adventure, a nice touch of romance, fun family history, and traveling. Nothing was pat, and the ending had some very nice twists. Avery evolves from being a snotty character to one who is sympathetic, and the National Treasure type story line was fun. The supporting characters were fully developed as well, which I liked.
Weaknesses: I didn't think that Avery's longing for her mother added anything to the story. Yes, it was a clever way to point out that the grandmother's definition of family was lacking, but there was so much going on that it would have been a better story without this (slightly whiny) sub plot.