Review: Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

The Details

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published: May 2nd, 2017
Genres: YA, Romance, Contemporary
My Rating: 4

32048554 GoodReads Blurb

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.

My Review

This was a wild ride.

I, like I’m pretty sure most everyone else, have thought about what I would do if I won the Powerball. First, I would pay off my student loans, and with the other $35, I would go to town at Chipotle. I can’t even begin to imagine what 18-year-old me would do with millions of dollars.

This is a book about many things, friendship, love, heartbreak, and luck. The two main characters, Teddy and Alice, have had a rough go of life. Teddy’s dad is a gambling addict who ran off after losing everything when Teddy was 12. Alice lost both of her parents in a 13 month period when she was 9– then she moved from California to Chicago to live with her Aunt,  Uncle, and the third member of the trio of friends, her cousin Leo.

The first few chapters set up how Teddy was before the money. He seems like a charismatic average teenage boy. He wants to fit in, he’s a three-sport athlete, he seems like a kid I went to high school with– then he wins 141 million dollars, and things changed.

He went from being a normal kid and a good friend to I don’t want to say jerk, but there are times in the book where that’s exactly what Teddy is. Money changes people. It just does, even if you don’t think it will, going from having nothing to have access to everything changes you. It has to. I don’t think Teddy changes completely, Teddy is still Teddy, but there’s something about him that’s not the same anymore, and Alice can feel it.

As a narrator, I liked Alice. She does have the slightly cliche, but totally believable crush on her best friend. However, she feels it’s stupid and does have a second love interest during the book. It’s not a love triangle exactly, and I think it was a nice addition to the book, especially because Teddy is kind of being a terrible person at that point in the book, and Alice doesn’t want to have a crush on Teddy, but you can’t help who you love.

What I really enjoyed about this book is that it felt so real. Teddy is an 18-year-old boy who came into a crap ton (official measurement) of money. He did exactly what I thought he would do. He buys a bunch of stuff, and he buys his friends stuff. He brings his basketball team to Mexico for spring break. Teddy is the kind of person that people like, and I think that he wants to make sure the people still like him. People who aren’t Teddy think they know what’s best to do with the money. It reads how I imagine winning the lottery would be.

Overall this was a great book. I think lovers of true to life fiction, would enjoy this story. It’s not a fantastical story about sudden fortune, it feels legit. It has my recommendation. This isn’t a book I think I would have picked up if Uppercase didn’t send it to me, so this is another excellent selection from the service.

Have you read Windfall? What did you think?

Until next time Internet,



1 thought on “Review: Windfall by Jennifer E Smith”

  1. I liked it for some of the same reasons you said. Teddy did what any teenager would do. I wished that he had come to the realization that he wanted to do something more with 5e money than to just buy things, but if he had done that the book would’ve been pretty short. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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