YA Books, Take Notes on Parents in This Book // Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith


by Jennifer E. Smith

Kindle edition, 324 pages

Published May 2nd, 2017 by Delacorte Press


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 received this book through Netgalley in exchange for honest review.

Alice’s best friend (and crush) is turning 18 today and she bought him a lottery ticket as a joke. She means, hey, it’s impossible that he will actually won with her luck. But then he actually won and things started to go awry…

This is my second Jennifer E. Smith’s book. I know her books are pretty big in contemporary, but I tried THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME, didn’t like it, and never tried any of her books again. I mean I’m the type of person who gives second chance to authors, but not so soon. When I see Windfall though, it has a unique premise about lottery (I don’t know how lottery works in the USA) and one of my favorite romance trope, so I requested it. Since I have been dissapointed by the author’s book before and I’ve seen mixed reviews for this one, I keep my expectations low, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book.


I LOVE how developed Alice is in this book. I know some people think she’s a goody two shoes, but I can see where she came from. Losing your parents when you’re too little means you have no memory of them since you have no time to know them. But losing them when you are old enough meaning you can remember them and the things you used to do together. Both sucks yes, but when you know them I think the grief will be harder to heal. And that’s what happened with Alice, she’s trying so hard to fill her parents footsteps and expectations, meaning volunteering 24/7 and getting into Stanford. I think she has always been a quiet and solitary kid before but got even more so after the accident. With what happened to her, I also can understand her fear of change, her cynical approach to luck, and her fear of letting people in. I can relate to her so much I actually got tears in my eyes at some point. Not crying, but it’s just.. I can feel her.

Teddy is just okay for me. He’s charming, yes, but also very self-centered he can’t see people around him. With his father abandoned them and their money issue, I understand where he comes from and why he did those things he did. Even without money issue, if I ever won a lottery I will probably spend some for fun first before doing some sensible things. Especially with someone as young as Teddy. What I don’t like is how he acts towards Leo and Alice. Yes, he’s embarrased or angry or hopeful or whatever, but most of the time, it’s just him being stubborn and defensive. I don’t really see what does Alice see from him.

I wish to know more about Leo. I can understand his belief in superstitions and his approach on luck. I love how close he is with Alice and his parents and how protective he is with Alice. What I feel relateable the most about him is his confusion of picking university, something we all have feel in our life. But that’s just about all the things about Leo, and I want to know more about him. It’s kinda sad that he’s just a secondary character in this book.

Probably my favorite characters in this whole book: Aunt Sofia and Uncle Jake, Leo’s parents and Alice’s aunt and uncle. I love how accepting and loving they are towards they kids. They are also very involved and present in their kids life, Alice and Leo can talk with them and vice versa. And no matter how hard it is, they accept Alice as their own and try their best to be the parents, but not replacing her real parents. The dynamics between the parents and the whole family is so wonderful to watch, this is how YA parents should be in books #moreparentsinYA2k17.


The chapters are very short and easy to read. They never dragged, except maybe in the last few ones where everything is already resolved but there are still few more chapters and I’m like “wHAT no stop adding more chapters it’s happy ending already just stOP”. I feel like this book could use less “OH MY GOD I’M SO IN LOVE WITH TEDDY he touched me he looks so good” things and more focus on the plot. I also feel some drama could be avoided if Alice could realize that Teddy is Teddy and Teddy himself be less defensive and self-centered.

basically me telling Alice to shut up


At this point, you might’ve guessed that I did not ship Alice and Teddy. I feel like Alice could do so much better. It also might have something to do with the too much amount of “OH MY GOD I LOVE TEDDY” moments *shrugs*.


I’m a huge cover lover but I rarely reviewed them, but this cover is so clever! Yes, the blue and green are beautiful together, but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s the bear and the alligator! It’s something I just realized when I’m writing this review, not earlier and I’m just like “DAMN”. I love sneaky covers.



6 thoughts on “YA Books, Take Notes on Parents in This Book // Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

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