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."