Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith ARC Review

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House
Pub. Date: May 2nd, 2017
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.


Windfall was everything that I wanted it to be—simultaneously super sweet and complicated. Jennifer truly knows how to capture real life problems without making them seem overdramatic or silly. They felt tangible, and it made me pause and reflect on my own similar circumstances. I also love how family is addressed in this book. Even though Alice's parents have passed away, she has an amazing uncle and aunt who I wish could adopt me. Another fabulous thing is that there are no perfect characters in Windfall, but they are seen through loving eyes, so their imperfections are depicted in a softer light, which I found to be incredibly pleasant. 



1) Typically, my main complaint when it comes to contemporary books is that I find them to be melodramatic. They also normally make me relive things in life that I was so happy to be done with. I mean,  who wants to experience high school over and over again? (Hint: Not me.)


However in Windfall, Jennifer E. Smith manages to capture high school in a realistic but enjoyable way, which made me reflect on my personal high school experiences in a fonder light than I naturally would otherwise.

2) The dialogue in this book is absolute gold. Every exchange between the characters set me into a fit of laughter. The characters' humor is utterly infectious, and it absolutely was my aspect of the book. The voices and personalities of each person truly shined through, and it was a joy "meeting" them all.

3) Aunt Sofia and Uncle Jack get the award for best book parents of the year. They are supportive, sweet, and most importantly, they're wonderfully loving. We all know how rare it is to have present parents in a young adult book, but in Windfall, not only are they present, but they are also charming.


4) I adore Alice and Leo's friendship. They are so freaking cute—I just want to squish them! The two of them have this palpable bond that made me gush. I especially enjoyed the flashbacks from when they were little kids. Jennifer really provides you with a full backstory on how their relationship developed from the beginning, and it was fantastic.

5) Leo and Max are so adorable! Although they were not the main focus of the book, I kept finding myself searching for them in every scene. They really need their own book because I wanted more of their story. I wanted more insight to their ups and downs, and just more of them, period.


1) In general, Windfall focuses more on friendship and family relationships (and I do love that!) but I would have liked a bit more romance. Since I liked the couple in this book, I would have preferred if they had more one-on-one time together where I can see their relationship grow and develop more from friendship to love. 

Life doesn't bend to anyone's will. And it doesn't run on credit either. Just because the world stole something from me doesn't mean it owes me anything. And just because I stockpiled a whole lot of bad luck doesn't mean I'm due anything good.

Still, it doesn't seem like all that much to ask: that the boy I love might love me back. 
And at a bookstore he plucked a copy of The Bell Jar out of my hands. "I heard that one's really sad," he said, handing me Little Women instead.

I raised an eyebrow. "And you think this one's happy?"

"Why?" he asked, alarmed. "It's not?"

"You do know that Beth—"

"No spoilers," he said, taking the book back and shoving Oliver Twist at me.

"Dickens," I said. "Sure. He's always upbeat."

30 comments:

  1. Windfall sounds like fun!! I haven't paid much attention to this one but I'm thinking I should now! Thanks for sharing your lovely review :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really fun and fast read. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. This sounds like a book I would love! I am going to check it out now thanks to you :) Awesome review, Brittany

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh this one sounds good. I agree with your assessment on most contemporaries. I think that is why I don't often gravitate toward the YA contemps. Glad to hear that this one doesn't fall into the too much drama trap. That alone makes me want to read it. Brilly review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? Though I'm really liking contemporaries this year but I still prefer fantasy and sci-fi. I hope you enjoy this one!

      Delete
  4. Yay, glad to see you liked this one! It's on my list of books to grab as soon as they release. I'm super excited that it focuses so heavily on family and friendship, honestly - I feel like there aren't enough books that do. Awesome review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There really isn't a lot of books that do that but I'm seeing that change. I hope you love Windfall!

      Delete
  5. I have been really excited to read this one and I am so happy that you enjoyed it. I do know what you mean about the melodrama in contemporaries. For some reason, I am drawn to that. I am surprised that there is humour in this book and I think that when the family theme is mixed in, it will be wonderful. Lovely review, Brittany! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would be really curious to see what you think of this book! Since you like more contemporaries than I do, I want to know your thoughts on it. I hope you love it! Thanks for stopping by ^_^

      Delete
  6. I haven't had a chance to read my ARC yet but I am quite excited to because it seems really good and I trust your judgement so I look forward to it! Lovely review as per usual Brittany!

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get to read it soon, can't wait to see your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Brittany! I've been seeing quite a bit of praise floating around for it. I love that it focus on family and friendships and the last quote you included had me cracking up. I'm definitely going to have to give this one a read. Great review! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That last quote is definitely my favorite in the entire book haha. I hope you love Windfall!

      Delete
  8. This sounds like such a lovely read and I like the idea that it explores high school in such a way that it doesn't make you cringe to think back on your own high school days. That's refreshing. I think I'll be adding this one to my TBR. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? I thought it was refreshing. I hope you feel the same away about it. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  9. I haven't read anything by Smith! I actually just sent an ARC of one of her older books to a Jennifer E. Smith collector, because I'd had it for years and at this point I don't think I was going to read it. o_o I was actually interested in this book! Which is rare for me, I don't really try a lot of YA contemporary. But I think you're the same way? I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! I may borrow it from the library and see how it goes for me. :D

    Excellent review, Brittany! Have a lovely week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should fix that! And yes, I'm totally the same way that's why the contemporaries I read have to be something special, and trust me, this one is. I hope you love it! Thanks for stopping by <3

      Delete
  10. I love the cover of this one, but I'm not much of a YA contemporary reader, so I probably won't get around to it. The reasons for why you said you don't always like contemporary for YA are the same reasons I usually have. I prefer my YA to be post-apocalyptic or dystopian. :-) Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a great cover and I'm also not much of YA contemporary reader but some of them I can't resist, and I love Jennifer E. Smith. So, maybe give it a try? Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  11. OH MY GOD THIS SOUNDS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I love the Best Friend Romance trope and $140 MILLION? O.O

    I just added this to my Amazon Wishlist and hopefully I'll get my hands on it ASAP!

    Thanks for the LOVELY review, Brittany!
    Aditi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's one of my favorite tropes of all time haha. I love it as much as I do! Thanks for your kindness and for stopping by <3

      Delete
  12. Ooh this sounds SO CUTE!! I mean I generally go for pirates/explosions/dragons books, but there are also some seriously cute fluffy contemporaries that I like too. ;) Plus excellent parents?!? THIS IS AN UNCOMMON THING AND SHOULD BE CHERISHED.😂

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you on pirates/explosions/dragons but yes some of these are just so adorable that I can't resist.

      AND YES, THEY'RE LIKE UNICORNS!

      Delete
  13. AHHH Brittany! You've made me so so excited to read this one - it sounds so sweet!
    Megan @ http://wanderingsofabookbird.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  14. You know, this book is entirely new to me, but, thanks to your EXCELLENT and VERY entertaining review, now I want to read it!! YAAAAAASS!!! The story just sounds so delightful and cute! It's too bad that one set of parents died, though.... However, I can tell that this is a book that not only touches the heart, but the funny bone, as well, lol. LOVE those quotes, especially the second one. I chuckled when I read that Dickens "is always upbeat". Lol.

    Thanks for reviewing this book, which I'm now going to add to my Goodreads shelves!! <3 <3 :) :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yay :D So glad you enjoyed this book a bunch Brittany. <3 As always, gorgeous review :) Sweet books are awesome. I'm unsure about this one, but curious too. I do like that cover :D

    ReplyDelete