by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find It: Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
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.
It’s no surprise that a contemporary-loving reader like myself enjoys Jennifer E. Smith’s writing. She’s actually one of my favorite contemporary writers. I adore how she’s able to keep a book on the light and fluffy side, yet address very real and sometimes difficult issues so effortlessly in the process. Windfall was exactly that.
Alice, Leo and Teddy… the Three Musketeers. Each struggling through his or her teenage years dealing with a boatload of stress. Alice lost both of her parents at the young age of 9 and was taken in by her aunt, and uncle and cousin Leo, where she’s lived most of her life. Though it’s been nine years since their death, Alice is still struggling to live the life they would have wanted her to live, making them proud at every turn. Teddy lives with his mom in a tiny apartment after his father, who suffers from a gambling addiction, took the family’s savings and left them. Teddy feels a strong desire to always take care of his mother and do the best he can as a son. Then we have Leo, who is struggling to understand why he’s had it so “easy” all of his life, compared to his two best friends. Even his process of coming out to his parents about his sexuality went smoothly and perfectly. So why is everything so easy for him when it’s so hard for his besties?
From here, (as you can gather from the title and synopsis) Alice gives Teddy a lottery ticket as a birthday present on his eighteenth birthday. This just so happened to be the winning ticket… and Teddy won over 100 million dollars. (Can you even imagine?!) As you can imagine, life is going to change… for everyone in Teddy’s life. This is where alllllll of the fun begins. 😉
These three were the best of friends, and I adored the friendship they shared. Always having each other’s back through everything, whether they were on-board with the specific decisions or not. Friendship is STRONG in this story, and that’s a major plus for me!
“[…] Sometimes, through good luck or bad, through curses or fate, the world cracks itself open, and afterward nothing will ever be the same.”
I loved how despite this being a very light and fun read, it addressed several very sensitive and emotional topics. I really enjoy when an author can bring in such important topics, yet not make them feel forced and inserted haphazardly into a story. The way these issues were addressed was really quite perfect. It never changed the tone of the story, yet had me thinking on several different issues and what I would have done in a similar situation. Any author that can make me think while making me smile is a gem!
“We have all sorts of words that could describe us. But we get to choose which ones are most important.”
This coming-of-age story is definitely one to add to your list. While I wasn’t blown away by it, I was definitely touched, and I loved how it made me think so much. Life isn’t perfect, we’re all well aware of that… but having the hope that things WILL be okay is something I always try to remember. Whether you believe in luck or fate, I believe this story will leave a lasting impression on you.
If you won the lottery, or came upon a large sum of money for some reason, what’s one thing you would like to do with it? What would be the first thing you would buy?