Exploring Jennifer Lynn Barnes's books is like getting lost in a good conversation – it's easy, engaging, and leaves you thinking about it long after it's over. Jennifer, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, isn't just an author; she's also a brainy academic with a PhD in psychology from Yale. It's clear how her deep understanding of people shapes her stories, making them more real and relatable.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Jen) started young, getting her first book out while still in high school, which is pretty cool. That set her up for a career where she seems to effortlessly connect with both teenagers and adults. Her books usually have strong female characters at their heart, dealing with real-life stuff like figuring out who they are, navigating complex relationships, and sometimes, just trying to get by in a world that can be pretty confusing.

In this article we'll walk through what I think are her best works. Each one is a great example of how she tells a story – they're not just fun to read but also give you something to think about.

What Are The Best Jennifer Lynn Barnes Books in Order?

(Check also Upcoming Jennifer Lynn Barnes Books)

The Brothers Hawthorne (The Inheritance Games Book 4), by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2023)

We're back with the Hawthorne family, but this time the spotlight is on Grayson and Jameson, and they're as different as ever. Grayson, the one groomed to be the heir, is all about precision and efficiency. It's fascinating to see him handle family crises. His approach is almost clinical, yet there's this underlying current of loyalty and duty that you can't miss. The way he jumps into action to help his half-sisters shows a depth to his character that I didn't fully appreciate in the earlier books.

Then there's Jameson, the risk-taker. His storyline is like something out of a high-stakes spy novel. Infiltrating London's elite gambling circles? That's classic Jameson, but it's also nerve-wracking. Every move he makes in this dangerous game had me on the edge of my seat.

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games Book 2), by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2021)

Picking up right where the first book left off, we're thrown back into Avery Grambs' chaotic world. I mean, imagine finding out you've inherited a fortune from a complete stranger, and then learning you might actually be connected to this wealthy family. That's Avery's life right now.

The whole DNA twist really got me. Avery isn't a Hawthorne by blood, yet there's this undeniable link to the family. It's like every chapter throws a new puzzle piece at you. I found myself trying to piece together this mystery alongside Avery, which made the reading experience pretty engaging.

Honestly, I didn't expect to be so hooked on this series, but here I am.

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games Book 1), by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2020)

Avery Grambs plans to have a better future. But her fortunes instantly change when the wealthy Tobias Hawthorne dies, leaving her his fortune. Avery doesn’t know who he is and can’t determine his intentions.

For Avery to get her inheritance, she has to move into Hawthorne’s house, which is sprawling with secrets. Each room bears Tobias’ touch and his affection for riddles, puzzles, and codes. Unfortunately, this house also houses the family Tobias has dispossessed- his four grandsons, who are brilliant, magnetic, but dangerous.

One of them, Grayson, is convinced that Avery is a con and is firmly resolved to take her down. Jameson sees her as Hawthorne’s last hurrah and a puzzle that needs unraveling. Caught up in a wealthy, privileged, and dangerous world, Avery must play the game for survival.

This book is a blend of illicit romance, family secrets, and a high-stakes treasure hunt. It gives the vibes of Knives Out, and One of Us is Lying. Its mystery is packed in twists and turns and will be impossible to put down. I love that the book is easy to read, but Jennifer’s skillful writing and mastery are evident.

Little White Lies (Debutantes Book 1), by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2018)

You will love this book if you enjoy scandals, schemes, blackmail, and secrets that rouse tension. But you will also find it highly entertaining if you love witty humor.

Sawyer, eighteen, is an auto mechanic and never anticipated her estranged grandmother would show up at her house, offering her a six-figure contract to join debutante’s season. She definitely never thought she would agree to this. But she realizes that getting involved with her grandmother’s society might be the answer to her dad’s identity- her biggest life mystery.

Soon, Sawyer gets into a life of makeovers and gets drawn to some debutantes. Sawyer will find out that apart from her family, there are other people in her grandmother’s dazzling world, and nobody wants her digging into the past.

She will navigate twisted relationships as she searches for her true origins. But this is only the starting point to more trouble.

The Naturals (The Naturals Book 1), by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2013)

The Naturals will highly appeal to you if you are a fan of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder or Criminal Minds.

The book talks about Cassie, who is seventeen and a natural at reading people. She can piece together the most minute details to tell you who you are and what you need. But she has never taken this gift seriously. Until the FBI showed up at her door.

They have initiated a classified program that uses aberrant teenagers to crack disgraceful cold cases, and they now want Cassie’s help. She, however, doesn’t realize that a lot more is at risk than several unsolved homicides.

Cassie will be sent to live with other teens who also possess unusual gifts, and soon it will be apparent that nobody in this program is what they appear to be. Danger will loom following the strike of a new killer, and the Naturals will have to employ all their gifts for survival.

The Naturals is well thought out. You will love the unexpected twists and turns, keep guessing what will happen, and stay glued even more. It also has a dose of romance and chemistry between the characters.

The Fixer, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2015)

The Fixer is a must-read if you love a book that delves into a world of power, privilege, and money. It is brilliantly written with unforeseen twists that bring out the plot’s mystery.

The book tells the story of Tess Kendrick. She is sixteen when she is sent to her older sister’s place. She doesn’t know that her sister Ivy is the DC’s primary “fixer. Ivy deals with politician scandals and makes them go away for pay.

Tess will soon begin following in her sister’s footsteps- she enrolls in a school where she becomes the DC’s number one high school fixer. Her job is to solve problems for elite teenagers. These two sisters will live double lives as secrets pile up until their world’s crash. Tess will find herself at the center of a conspiracy with Ivy’s client and her classmate. A lot more will be on the line, and the price for this fix might be a lot that Tess is ready to pay.

Raised by Wolves (Raised by Wolves Book 1), by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2010)

Raised by Wolves is a total treat from its originality and thrill. It is an exhilarating adventure that you will love if you fancy stories about the breaking of governance. Its characterization is unusual and good, like the plot to make you feel each character’s struggle.

Werewolves raised Bryn following her parents’ murder by a rabid werewolf. She now only knows about pack life and the strict social hierarchy in control. However, this doesn’t mean Bryn is averse to rule-breaking.

Her curiosity will lead her to discover Chase, a new teenager locked in the basement. She sees him turn into a wolf and the terrifying ordeal of her mother's murder come back. Bryn will become obsessed with gathering answers to her questions, and only Chase can give her the information she is looking for.

In her quest to find out the truth, will Bryn go past the pack’s constraints and leave her friends and current identity behind?

The Squad: Perfect Cover (The Squad series Book 1), by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2008)

Perfect Cover is a humorous read packed with action and spies. You will love the mission and operations involved among the characters and also marvel at their teamwork. It is definitely a must-read if you would love to merge Charlie’s Angels and James Bond.

Bayport High’s Varsity cheerleading squad has only the hottest members. But there is more to this A-list squad. It is a dangerous cover-up for the best-trained underage US government operatives. They are perfect since nobody expects much from cheerleaders beyond their highlights.

The cheerleading squad will start sending encrypted messages to Toby Klein (a social misfit) about upcoming tryouts. But what do they want with her? Toby just wants to stay in the background while protecting her brother from Bayport’s bullies.

To get out of detention and out of curiosity, Toby decides to go to the tryouts, but she discovers something that will bring her down substantially.

Tattoo, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2007)

Tattoo is a quick and enthralling book if you enjoy a mythical and mysterious read with hints of conflict.

This fascinating book is about the dynamic of four friends- Bailey, Zo, Delia, and Annabell who accidentally find an unusual kiosk that sells temporary tattoos at the mall.

Bailey purchases the tattoos and gives each girl, who puts them on different places. Despite the girls not having water to place the tattoos on their bodies, they stick. Interesting, right?

These tattoos give each girl special powers. Bailey can set anything on fire, Zo can see the future, and Delia will soon be able to transform any object she wants. Annabell can read people’s minds and influence them into action.

These girls are sure they will kill at the upcoming school dance with these tattoos. But killing is just what is in their heads. They get into the battle of their lives. It will be up to them to save the world. But there is a catch. They might stand a chance if they can stop Delia from using her powers.

Golden, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (2006)

If you enjoy supernatural teenage high school drama stories, Golden is your go-to novel. It is a mix of humor, fantasy, and drama.

This book tells the story and life of Lissy James, who possesses the psychic gift of Sight. She sees colored clouds and an aura that surrounds people reflecting their moods.

Lissy and her family move from California to Oklahoma, where she joins a new high school.

There, she meets typical social class divisions; the ‘Golden,’ made up of famous and beautiful people, and the Non (the rest). Lissy meets Lilah, a Golden crew member, and begins to identify with other Nons, Audra, and Dylan. Unfortunately, something evil is happening in the school.

It is up to Lissy, Audra, Dylan, and Lissy’s sister Lexie to find out about the new evil math teacher and prove the same to her mother and grandmother before more deaths occur.

The characters in this book are relatable teens whose lives most young adults will resonate with, and its original and exciting premise makes it a refreshing page-turner.

Inspiring Quotes From Jennifer Lynn Barnes Books

There are bad people in the world: Murderers and psychopaths and telemarketers who won't take no for an answer.

― Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Raised by Wolves

Everything’s a game, Avery Grambs. The only thing we get to decide in this life is if we play to win.

― Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Inheritance Games

Heads, I kiss you. Tails, you kiss me. And either way, it means something.

― Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Hawthorne Legacy


Jennifer Lynn Barnes's novels are more than just captivating young adult reads, they're insightful explorations of teenage life and the complexities of fandom culture. Each book on this list showcases her deep understanding and masterful storytelling, making them must-reads for anyone interested in the psychological landscapes of youth and the vibrant world of fan communities.

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