Published by Delacorte Press on May 2nd, 2017
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories
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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’ve only read two books by Jennifer E. Smith, and I wasn’t all that impressed by either of them. But I was still seriously looking forward to Windfall. The concept sounded totally unique: you buy a lottery ticket as a present for your crush and he ends up winning. Unfortunately, the concept itself was more intriguing than the execution turned out to be. Smith’s writing is really beautiful and quotable. What didn’t work for me is that I wasn’t invested in the romance or either of the main characters. I can see the appeal of this book, but it just wasn’t able to work for me. It wasn’t a terrible book, but it wasn’t a great one either. I felt like it could have been about 100-200 pages shorter and still be enjoyable. While I’m sure that a lot of readers will love Jennifer E. Smith’s latest work, it wasn’t totally for me.
Alice was such a sweet girl, but she wasn’t my favorite. I did sympathize with the fact that she lost both of her parents at very young age. I can’t imagine going through something like that and my heart broke for her. I thought that her humanitarian work was admirable. I loved that she volunteered frequently at the soup kitchen and tutored a little boy who also lost his parents. I also identified with her struggles with figuring out what she wanted to do with her life. I have to say that I did want to shake her for turning down half the money. She was the one who bought the lottery in the first place, why in the world would you ever turn down receiving a chunk of that change?! It didn’t make any sense to me. I know that might seem like a petty thing to note, it just bothered me. You have so many bad things happen in your life so you’d think that getting a large sum of money would be some good karma, but I guess she didn’t see it that way. Alice wasn’t a bad character, but she wasn’t the most memorable one either.
You guys, Teddy was a total jerk. I didn’t really see what Alice saw in him honestly. I will admit that it was nice of him to offer half of the money to her in the first place. However, that still didn’t make him all that redeemable in my book. Alice and Teddy have been close friends for a long time now. Alice has been in love with him for a long time as well, but he proceeds to spend a majority of the book jerking her around. There’s no way that he doesn’t know her feelings, yet he never directly talks about it and just keeps leading her on. It also bothered me how he just kept buying pointless things instead of saving his money. I know that it was a luxury to him, but he really has NO interest in saving some for college in the beginning? Maybe I’m just being picky, but all of this seemed weird to me.
I’m not going to waste much time going into details about the romance since it was rather disappointing. I’ve already summed up most of it, Teddy strings Alice along for most of the book. I usually like friends to lovers but it didn’t work for me in this case. So I want to talk more about Leo. He’s Alice’s cousin and is absolutely adorable. He was nerdy, wise, funny, charming, and just wonderful. I wanted more of him! I thought his relationship with his boyfriend was so freaking cute. I honestly wished that this was Leo and Max’s story instead. Maybe they could get a novel focused on them still? I’d be down with a companion.
Windfall was a disappointing read for me. As I’ve said, I wasn’t overly in love with either of the Jennifer E. Smith books that I’ve read in the past. I know that so many contemporary romance fans adore her books and I figured that I’d give this one a shot anyway. I felt like this book was truthfully boring and WAY too long. In my opinion, it wasn’t necessary to make the book as long as it was. I wish that I liked this book a lot more than I did, but it turned out to not really be for me.