ARC Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith



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.


I fell in love with this book, but also felt hesitant about some of the book at the same time. The concept of winning the lottery on your 18th birthday really intrigued me when I received the book in the mail from winning a BFest trivia quiz this past May.  I have read other Jennifer E. Smith books, as well, which definitely made me want to read this book asap. (If y’all haven’t read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, get on that.)

The characters kind of annoyed me… specifically, the love interest. Teddy is such a crappy guy who essentially had no development throughout the entire story. It wasn’t until the VERY last month (The book is separated by the months of the year to better tell time.) when he decided to make a kind act or two. I really wanted to like Teddy because I saw the ending coming, but I could never bring myself to that ending. I just can’t.

I did, however, love Leo and Alice’s relationship. This duo brought light to the book while also keeping it real between cousins. I connected with their relationship on a personal level with my younger cousin who I love. Anyways, Leo kept Alice’s head on straight and Alice did the same for Leo with all of their romantic relationship problems and figuring out life before college.

The focus on senior year and the few months before heading off to college definitely felt realistic since I’m going through the same problems right now. All of the decisions on top of schoolwork and social lives puts way too much stress and pressure on students. Windfall discusses these pressures brilliantly, especially with the special circumstances Alice experiences.

Overall, the book is a great escape for a contemporary read while keeping things realistic. The only problem I had was with Teddy.

Have you read Windfall yet? What would you do if you won the lottery? Tell me in the comments below!

Much love, XOXO,

~A Writer Named Charley~




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