Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Release Date: May 4, 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing
Buy: Available at all good bookstores!

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.

Okay, before I dive into anything I'm going to talk about the cover. Since 2012, when The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (read my review) was released, Jennifer E. Smith's book's covers have always had the same style. Same typography, same-ish colour scheme–the works. But this time round, things have changed. Neither the US or the UK cover follows the pattern, and it's throwing me off a little bit. Anyway. Cover aside, this was the second book I've read by Smith, despite now owning four of her books (well, I'm halfway there? Kind of?). While I enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the insta-love in the story threw me off and now it's kind of fallen into the sea of young adult contemporary plots, and it doesn't really stand out in memory. This one, however, had a lot more depth to it regarding the plot and character relationships, and I ended up loving it more than TSPoLaFS.

"Al, come on," he says. "Yes or no?"
I swallow hard. "I need to check to be sure. I don't want to...I don't want to get your hopes up. But..."
"I think..."
"We might've..." My heart is thundering. "I think you might've won."
p. 49-50, paperback

What would you do with millions of dollars?

I've kind of been thinking about that question ever since reading Windfall. I honestly have not much of an idea. I'd probably use the money to travel, pay for house and education expenses, buy a ton of books (of course), donate to various charities, and so on. I liked how the book examined the ups and downs of winning the lottery, and it was a great exploration into how money can change people, both for better and worse.

Alice, Teddy and Leo were such cute friends! I really enjoy reading about friendships that stem from childhood. Alice was a great character. She's touched by tragedy as her parents died when she was young and she now lives with her Aunt Sofia, Uncle Jake and her cousin Leo. Speaking of whom, I love supportive families or parental figures in young adult fiction. Sometimes they're portrayed rather terribly, so I'm always happy when I see nice adults in literature, and this was no exception. Leo was super cute too–I just wish that he didn't keep disappearing in the book. His little quips were pretty funny here and there, and it looks like he goes through quite a bit too with his own stuff. And then there comes Teddy. Okay, so I liked Teddy, but I didn't love him. I think he was a little too cocky for his own good, and yes, I get that he's cute, but that doesn't excuse being over-confident. His character definitely undergoes a lot of change–along with Alice, of course–so it's interesting to see how it all turns out in the end.

Whimsical, moving and full of heart, Windfall was a lovely read. Jennifer E. Smith examines a larger-than-life situation with a loveable cast, which now has me desperate to read more from her. A story of friendship (and something maybe more than that) put to the test, Smith's latest had me smiling from ear to ear by the end of it. Cute and poignant, don't miss out on this one.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...


  1. Your review made me want this even more, and I always want to read JES books. =)
    Sam @ WLABB

  2. I actually adored her debut novel, and found it to be super cute. Maybe it helped that I didn't focus too much on the insta-love-y aspect of it. Anyway, sounds like this one will be a tonne of fun! Thanks for the review!


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I'll try to visit your blog (if you have one) and comment back!