Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: May 4th 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.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
Whilst the premise of Windfall sounded quite promising, it didn’t really do anything new. It was just your average rags to riches story that was entirely predictable and full of clichés.
Alice doesn’t believe in luck, not after losing both of her parents only thirteen months apart. She’s spent most of her life since trying to honour their legacy by playing her role as the Good Samaritan. But, on Teddy’s eighteenth birthday, she jokingly gifts him a lottery ticket and they actually win – or at least he does.
This isn’t a bad book. I really enjoyed it at the beginning, and the ending wraps it up pretty neatly. It was everything in between that I had issues with. The narrative is easy to follow and it deals with relatable teenage problems such as choosing the right college that will pave the way for the rest of your life. I even learnt a lot about winning the lottery which I didn’t know beforehand and which I most likely will never put to use anyway. But, ultimately, the plot was too predictable and I didn’t care for any of the characters.
The pacing was also far too slow for my liking. After Alice and Teddy realise they’ve won, they spend an awful lot of time locating the ticket which has been lost and then guarding the sacred parchment in a cookie jar whilst they decide what the fuck they’re supposed to do. Even with a number of time jumps, the progression of the plot was just sluggish.
Though the book supposedly tells Alice’s story, since it’s narrated from her viewpoint, it gradually becomes all about Teddy to the point where it gets irritating. Teddy isn’t a particularly likeable character, even before he becomes rich. Yet, Alice spends the entire time being a good friend to him, and especially because she loves him. These feelings aren’t reciprocated even though Teddy knows Alice’s reasoning behind the choice of the lottery numbers. Yeah, he did some cute things for her and they get a happy ever after, but this love story was most definitely not for me.
I think the only thing I really enjoyed about this book was the family dynamic. Uncle Jake and Aunt Sofia were so sweet and supportive. If there’s one cliché this book doesn’t follow, it’s the one where the orphan child is neglected by their aunt/uncle. That being said, I would have liked for Leo to be more than just a side character in the story, considering he’s the reason Teddy and Alice are friends in the first place. But, he was just the token gay character who never really hung out with his two best friends.
Overall, if you’re looking for a light and quick contemporary read then this definitely ticks that box. But it just really wasn’t my kinda book. (See what I did there?)