Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith: Review

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Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

 

“We have all sorts of words that could describe us. But we get to choose which ones are most important.” 

What would you do if you had a million dollars? You’re more likely to be killed by a falling vending machine than winning the lottery, but Teddy is pretty lucky then.

Alice never wanted change. Her parents both died eight years ago, and so since then, she’s been living with her cousin Leo, best friends with him and his other friend Teddy, who she’s been in love with for years. For Teddy’s 18th birthday, Alice buys him a joke lottery ticket before heading off to party with him and her cousin and their other best friend Leo. And come morning, it turns out that her random numbers were enough to win them $141 million dollars.

And so their lives begin to change irrevocably. It seems that the money starts to get to Teddy’s head, and threatens to rip their friendship apart. And the three of them start to deal with the lottery curse, and wonder if money really is worth it all, and whether or not change and luck can be good.

Reading about Alice’s tragic childhood was so touching and sad, and made me really root for her. She was a well developed character, really fleshed out in her strengths and weaknesses, and how her tragedy had affected her life.

I really liked the frienship relationships between Alice, Teddy, and Leo. It was great to see the strong bond the friends have, and how much fun they can have without even being romantically involved. I also loved the strong relationship Alice had with her aunt and uncle, and was touched by how they really treated her as their own daughter.

The teenagers really acted like teenagers here (shocking, right?), and had many relatable struggles. They weren’t perfect in any way, and could act rather immature, but that’s just a part of growing up. I could relate to Alice and Leo not knowing where to go to college, and having to choose between staying close with family and friends, and going far away.

I didn’t really get the relationships in this book. There’s a minor love triangle between Alice, Teddy, and one other character, but to be honest, I wasn’t really rooting for either of the male love interests. I didn’t really get feels from either of their relationships, and was kind of sick of how poorly Teddy could treat Alice.

This book also felt very cliche and predictable. From right away when Teddy wins the lottery, I was pretty sure that I knew what was going to happen in the end, and it pretty much played out exactly how I expected it. However, it was definitely a fun light, fluffy, easy read. I settled into it wanting a quick contemporary to make me feel good, and that was what I got!

3.5 out of 5 money green stars

 

You can also read my review on Goodreads here.

Check out Windfall on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. 

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